The Orioles on Saturday added right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis to cover their bullpen after Friday’s 14-inning game that required nine innings of relief, with outfielder Colby Rasmus going on the 10-day disabled list with a left hip flexor strain to make a roster spot.
Because 40-man roster players need to be optioned for 10 days past Opening Day to be recalled, manager Buck Showalter said the Orioles needed an injury to add a pitcher. They would’ve found a way to do it either way, but Rasmus' surgically repaired hip from 2016 has been bothering him for about a week. He also missed time in 2017 with the hip problem, which led to him leaving the Tampa Bay Rays midseason.
That the veteran left-handed hitter was 2-for-21 with 13 strikeouts indicated some kind of time off was required anyway. He struck out twice to leave a total of five runners on base after entering in the 10th inning Friday.
Yacabonis, who had a 4.35 ERA in 14 games with the Orioles last season, was being stretched out as a starter at Triple-A Norfolk this spring but is back in a familiar bullpen role with the Orioles. He was a rested member of a tired bullpen Saturday.
After the game, Showalter said five pitchers weren’t available. Yacabonis ended up allowing three runs in his one inning, walking two and allowing two hits.
“Jimmy came in, flew in today,” Showalter said. “Just making some mistakes that he needs to graduate from. … Wanted him to get his feet wet. Just can’t walk that [leadoff] guy [in the seventh inning]. Some of the things we’ve got to graduate from. But it’s a tough travel day. But sometimes that’s the opportunity you get.”
Gausman feels good about Friday
Right-hander Kevin Gausman said Friday's five-inning, two-run outing that was ultimately a minor plot point in a wild game was "definitely something to build on."
"More than anything, I was just really impressed with how the bullpen came in and shut the door," Gausman said. "They came in early in the game — obviously, I wish I would have gone at least one more inning, but it's early in the season and I think Buck is trying to protect us a little bit. That's always good. But that was a wild game. It had everything you could think of — umpire mess-ups, a robbed home run, a pitcher blocking home plate. It was great, and obviously, a big win for us."
As he did in his season debut against the Minnesota Twins last Sunday, Gausman battled his fastball command early but used a good splitter/slider combination to limit the damage. He allowed five hits and walked one with three strikeouts.
"I just had a really good feel for my off-speed pitches," Gausman said. "I kind of knew they would be a little wound up. I think every team I face, the book is out on me. Guys know I'm going to throw a lot of fastballs, and usually going to throw a high percentage. Caleb [Joseph] and I talked before the game and knew there were certain guys we were going to have to slow down before we speed them up, but we did a really good job of mixing pitches and making quality pitches in big situations."
Showalter said Gausman was more conscious about using his two-seam fastball Friday.
Showalter 'moved on'
Showalter didn't want to dwell on the controversial rundown from Friday’s sixth inning a day later, saying he's "moved on" despite the umpires admitting he was correct in saying the Orioles should’ve been out of the inning when Giancarlo Stanton ran past third base on the way back to the bag with Gary Sánchez already occupying it.
"It happens," he said. "I was thinking about all the decisions — Ed [Hickox] is one of the really good guys in the game, the home plate umpire. Yeah, he missed a [strike] call on Adam [Jones] in the 14th [inning]. But you think about all the decisions — and I felt that way, win lose or draw. Things happen. It worked out well. We're human beings. You look at it a little differently after you win a game. You think of the mistakes we all make compared to umpires. You look at all the things they get right. That's not on the front page."
Around the horn
Showalter said pitching coach Roger McDowell slept at the ballpark with the quick turnaround required for Saturday’s game. "He's bouncy," Showalter said. The team had a late report after the 14-inning game. ... Left-hander Tanner Scott pitched two scoreless innings Friday for Triple-A Norfolk to remove himself from consideration to join the Orioles on Saturday.