Orioles' Nate Karns 'feels great' after bullpen session, to return to games soon

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Orioles right-hander Nate Karns, who was held out of his scheduled start Friday due to general arm soreness, came through his bullpen session Saturday well and will be in game action soon, manager Brandon Hyde said.

"He feels great," Hyde said Sunday. "He said he feels nothing. He said he's fully ready to go and he's going to pitch in a few days, so all positives from yesterday's side session."

Karns, the team's sole major league free agent from this offseason, missed all of 2018 with elbow soreness and saw his first game action since last spring on Monday against the Minnesota Twins.

He came through that feeling healthy, but didn't feel his arm had recovered well when he threw a mid-week bullpen session and he was held out of Friday's trip to face the New York Yankees as a precaution.

The Orioles have starters scheduled out through Wednesday, with Dylan Bundy starting Monday, Alex Cobb starting Tuesday, and left-hander John Means starting Wednesday.

Bundy made his debut Thursday in Fort Myers and will be pitching on three days’ rest, as will Cobb, who debuted Friday. Hyde said the shorter outings allow the pitchers to get back on the mound more quickly.

"We're going to start getting those kind of guys into the five days as we go along here, but I think [Bundy] wanted to get back up on the mound also," Hyde said. "We're just going to go three days and extend him a little bit more this next time."

Castro to be a reliever

Right-hander Miguel Castro, who has long-tantalized as a potential starting candidate since joining the Orioles early in the 2017 season, will be used as a reliever "as of right now," Hyde said.

Castro has pitched two scoreless outings of one inning apiece this spring, and is scheduled to pitch again Monday against the Twins.

"I think we're going to extend him out a little bit, but as of right now we're working him into a reliever's standpoint," Hyde said. "That might change. Anything can change with our roster, but right now, we're just getting him relief outings and like everything, we'll evaluate a little bit later on in camp."

Alberto to debut tomorrow

Infielder Hanser Alberto, who the Orioles claimed on waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Friday after losing him through that process earlier this spring, will debut on Monday against the Twins, Hyde said.

"He played in a few games with the Giants," Hyde said. "He's game-ready — probably got a little bit of jet lag. That's a tough road, but he should be in there tomorrow, and I'm excited to have him back."

Around the horn

Right-hander Dean Kremer, who hasn't pitched due to an oblique injury, and right-hander Zach Pop, who had diminished velocity in his first spring game and hasn't pitched since, each played catch before Sunday's game. "Pop's progressing well," Hyde said. "Him and Kremer are both itching to get out there. They're both improving, and we should see them out there sometime soon." Later on Sunday, the Orioles reassigned both to minor league camp. ... Left-hander Josh Osich, who got to camp late after being claimed off waivers from the Giants on Feb. 19, will make his spring debut Monday against the Twins.

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