Orioles right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis’ last three stints with the big league club have been brief, but that’s not to take away from their importance.
Yacabonis was recalled as the 26th player allowed for a doubleheader to start Saturday’s first game, marking the third straight time the 26-year-old has filled the extra-man role by making a spot start.
He also started the opening game of a July 9 doubleheader against the New York Yankees and the opening game of an Aug. 11 doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. Both times he was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk after the doubleheader.
“He kind of embraces it and he loves it compared to the alternative. He knows what his role is and what he’s going to do,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He kind of gunslings it and sees what happens. He’s aware of the program for the rest of the year, where his innings are and his rest and his ups, and I think he appreciates the opportunity he’s getting. You saw his last one. He was like, ‘Here it is, let it rip.’ I don’t like him sitting around until 7 o’clock.”
As the Orioles continue to develop Yacabonis as a starter, his innings have been limited. He hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his three major league starts this season, and he’s believed to be reaching his innings limit for the season, which is around the 100-inning mark.
While it is a part of Yacabonis’ development, the Orioles also haven’t had many other spot start options this season because of injuries to pitchers such as right-hander Gabriel Ynoa and Hunter Harvey.
“If you have that luxury, but where we are, as far as some of the injuries we’ve got going on, [it’s a necessity],” Showalter said. “Fortunately, the other part of it, his personality kind of fits it.”
Showalter lauded head athletic trainer Brian Ebel and his athletic staff for helping right-hander Alex Cobb control a blister problem on his throwing hand.
“It’s things like that that you really don’t talk about during the course of the year and then you see guys go on the [disabled list] with a blister, and you realize there are differences in the way they are handled,” Showalter said. “It’s one of those things. Every trainer has an approach on how to handle it, and Brian and [former head athletic trainer] Richie Bancells, they have been great. This is the best I’ve ever seen trainers with blisters.”
Cobb has had problems with blisters throughout the season, including during the middle innings in Friday’s start, but he hasn’t missed a start for it. Cobb pitched his sixth straight quality start in Friday’s 7-5 extra-inning loss to the Yankees, and has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his past five outings.
Wynns starts Game 1
Rookie catcher Austin Wynns started Saturday’s first game, drawing uncommon day-after-night duty behind the plate.
“He’s had a lot of time off,” Showalter said. “It fits him. … Caleb [Joseph] and [Andrew] Cashner work well together. … There’s about three other reasons that I won’t talk about publicly.”
Around the horn
Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo (shoulder) has resumed throwing in Sarasota, Fla., and is expected to join the club at some point in September when rosters expand. “It just depends on when that progresses,” Showalter said. “I hope so. I’d like to see him again, let him finish the year healthy.”