The Orioles lose to the Red Sox, 3-1, on a cold day in Boston. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun video)
The Orioles gave right-hander David Hess his first major league call-up Sunday, bringing the pitcher up from Triple-A Norfolk before Sunday's scheduled matinee at Fenway Park.
In a corresponding move, the team optioned left-handed reliever Donnie Hart to Norfolk after he threw multiple-inning outings on consecutive days in the first two games of this weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox.
Hess, 24, was scheduled to make his second start with Norfolk Saturday but was scratched. He allowed just one run on three hits over five innings, striking out seven and walking none in his only previous start with the Tides this season. Hess was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason.
With starter Alex Cobb lasting just 3 2/3 innings Friday and Chris Tillman going just two innings Saturday, the Orioles bullpen accounted for 10 1/3 innings those two days. The Orioles have made as least one roster move for eight straight game days, mostly in an effort to keep the bullpen fresh.
Hess didn't pitch in Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Red Sox.
Hart pitched well in his brief time with the club — allowing one unearned run in 2 2/3 innings — but because he worked on back-to-back days he wasn't available Sunday, and the need for an additional left-handed bullpen arm isn't as great once the Orioles travel to Detroit for their next series.
Hart retired seven of the eight left-handed batters he faced — a marked improvement from last season — and pitched aggressively.
Schoop targeting quick return
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop said he hopes to be ready to return from a Grade 1 oblique strain by the time he's eligible to return from the 10-day disabled list April 24. That might be an overly optimistic timeline given the finicky nature of oblique strains, but that's Schoop's goal.
"I hope in the next couple of days I'll feel better so I can start swinging," Schoop said. "I have to work hard to get better and get stronger."
Before the injury, which occurred late in Friday night's series opener, Schoop had shown signs of breaking out of an early-season slump by recording back-to-back multihit games.
"I started real slow and then I started picking it up a little bit, but this is something that I cannot control," Schoop said. "An injury, you never can control. You never want to get hurt. I went out there trying to play hard and I got hurt, but I never wanted it to happen. Now, I've got to work to get stronger and do the rehab and do the things that I've got to do to get better and get started on it."
Schoop said he felt a "pinch" in his right side after swinging during his final at-bat Friday, and then felt discomfort again fielding a ground ball in the following half inning. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, Schoop had missed just two games before sitting out Saturday.
"It's tough. It's tough," Schoop said. "I want to be out there. I don't want to miss any games. ... I cannot control this. I want to still go out there. … They told me to go and not hurt it any more. Thank God it was early enough so that it's not that bad and I can work on it. I hope I only miss the 10 [days] and play the rest."
Said manager Buck Showalter: "I was telling Jon last night, 'Hey, we've got one day behind us, that's nine [days left]. We probably get rained out [Monday] and there's an off day in there, so it's seven.' You try to keep people like Jon upbeat about it because he's — I don't want to say depressed — he's really down right now. … He really wants to be out there."
The Orioles have played their share of games in cold weather this season, but none could compare to Sunday's game, when the temperature at first pitch was 34 degrees and teams took the field through blustery wind and spitting rain. Players bundled up and wore balaclavas to keep warm.
"It's a great way to earn a living regardless of the weather," Showalter said. "I mean, what are you going to do? There's a lot of people who go to work in this that don't want to hear it. You pass some construction sites that yesterday, the day before were operating."
Showalter said both hitters and pitchers would be affected by the cold, but had more concern that pitchers would have difficulty gripping the baseball.
"It affects everybody," Showalter said. "My first thought is with the pitchers. Trying to hold the baseball is a big issue. I don't think anybody will be checking for a sticky substance today. You're hoping that everybody's got it."
"He wants to play because if our guys are going to have to go through this, he wants to go through it with them," Showalter said. "That's why Adam's been the guy he has been. I've made a pact with him and myself that I'm going to try to do a better job of resting him this year."
Around the horn
All Orioles and Red Sox players wore No. 42 on their jerseys and had a special patch on their sleeves and caps for Jackie Robinson Day. … Manny Machado's first-inning RBI on Sunday was his 48th career RBI against the Red Sox, his most against any opponent. Twenty-eight of those have come at Fenway Park, his most at any opposing ballpark. Machado has nine RBIs in his past nine games. … Craig Gentry's third-inning stolen base made him 4-for-4 on steal attempts this season. … The Orioles are 10-12 against the Red Sox since the beginning of the 2017 season and 6-6 at Fenway Park.