In an effort to plan ahead for left-hander John Means’ potential All-Star Game workload and to match up with opposing lineups as best as they can after the midseason break, the Orioles have rearranged their starting rotation for the final week of the season’s first half.
Through a series of moves Monday, the Orioles added right-hander Tom Eshelman to the 25-man roster to make his major league debut as the starting pitcher against the Tampa Bay Rays, acquired right-hander Asher Wojciechowski for cash from the Cleveland Indians and announced that right-hander Dylan Bundy was no longer their scheduled starter for Tuesday’s game.
Bundy, though, isn’t injured, manager Brandon Hyde said. Instead, the Orioles wanted to line him up to pitch the first game after the All-Star break July 12 against the Rays. To give him more rest between outings, he’ll instead start Friday’s series opener at the Toronto Blue Jays.
After Sunday’s announcement that Means will represent the Orioles during the All-Star festivities in Cleveland, the Orioles altered their plans to find the best way to deploy their rotation following the layoff. Between his previous start Wednesday against the San Diego Padres and his assignment Friday, Bundy will receive eight days rest, then six before starting the second-half opener. Bundy has not received more than six days rest between any other starts this season.
“We set it up for two weeks after the break, how we wanted to see [Andrew] Cashner, Means and Dylan and who we wanted to throw them against with their rest,” Hyde said. “We projected that, and we felt like the best thing to do was to give him enough rest post-break, which means we wanted him to start the first game after the break. It’s kind of a complicated … It was hours in my office yesterday.
“We worked backwards.”
Wojciechowski, who spent part of the 2018 season with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017 with the Cincinnati Reds, was in the Orioles’ clubhouse Monday because he was on the taxi squad, able to be around the team but not yet part of the roster. Hyde referred to him as a “possible probable.”
With Eshelman and potentially Wojciechowski starting consecutive days, the Orioles could leapfrog the Seattle Mariners for the second-most starting pitchers used in baseball with 14. The Los Angeles Angels have used 15 starters.
“I think that we have faced challenges all year, juggling rotation, not having your normal five starters that you roll out there,” Hyde said. “We’ve been mixing and matching all year long with many roster moves and transactions and the Triple-A shuttle.
“We have these off-days to play with and need arms. It’s just one of those things with where we are from a pitching staff standpoint right now.”
Hyde offers condolences to Skaggs family, Angels
Hyde was among those shocked and saddened by Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ unexpected death Monday in Texas. Hyde never met Skaggs, 27, personally, but the tight-knit nature of baseball means there are only so many degrees of separation, and it hurts all the same.
“Obviously, our heart goes out to his family, his wife, the Angels organization,” Hyde said. “It just happened, so we’re pretty shocked right now and feel terrible for everybody involved. Just wanted to say how sorry we are and our heart goes out to the Skaggs family and the Angels organization.
“It’s a small community, and it’s a small fraternity of guys that care about each other. We compete for three hours every day, but when something like this happens, it affects everybody. It just sucks.”
The Angels’ game against the Texas Rangers on Monday was canceled.
Around the horn
» To add Eshelman to the 40-man roster, the Orioles transferred left-handed pitcher Josh Rogers to the 60-day injured list. Rogers will receive a second medical opinion Tuesday from Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, Texas, to determine whether he needs Tommy John surgery.
» The Orioles announced they will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1989 “Why Not?” Orioles on Aug. 9 with a luncheon, a T-shirt giveaway to the first 20,000 fans 15 or older, a pregame ceremony and 1989 throwback uniforms for that night’s game against the Houston Astros.
» The Orioles will celebrate National Hot Dog Day on July 17 against the Washington Nationals with a Hot Dog Race T-shirt giveaway, with fans randomly receiving either a red Ketchup shirt, yellow Mustard shirt or green Relish shirt featuring the Orioles’ logo. Hot dogs will be sold for $1 for the entirety of the game.