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Orioles rookie John Means on track to return to rotation next weekend

Left-hander John Means played catch Sunday for the first time since being placed on the injured list and appears to be on course to return to the Orioles starting rotation during next weekend’s home series against the Cleveland Indians.

“He should be good to go in that series,” manager Brandon Hyde said before Sunday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. “We’d love to obviously get him back. We weren’t worried about the situation. We just wanted to make sure everything was right, and he threw the ball really well today.”

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Means has been saying the past couple of days that the shoulder tightness he experienced in his last start was similar to a problem he had in college that resolved very quickly.

“He long tossed and everything feels strong,” Hyde said. “Obviously, John Means has been a really good pitcher for us this year and to have him back out there is huge for us.”

Straily accepts Triple-A assignment

Right-hander Dan Straily, who was designated for assignment Thursday after a pair of discouraging performances, cleared waivers and has been outrighted back to the Triple-A Norfolk roster.

“I’m glad he’s sticking around,” Hyde said. “We talked about for him just to get back on track and him to get some comfort level and kind of a clean-slate start to work out some things he’s struggling with up here that he has had success with in his career.”

Hyde believes Straily needs to work on improving his slider and fastball command.

“It’s going to be easier for him to work on that down there than up here,” Hyde said. “Hope that he finds his command and can get back up here and help us.”

Mike Wright rejoins Mariners

Former Orioles pitcher Mike Wright, who was traded to the Mariners on April 24, was selected from the Triple-A Tacoma roster Sunday and rejoined the major league club.

Wright was out of options and had to be kept on the major league roster when he arrived in Seattle, but he struggled to a 9.00 ERA in seven appearances before being designated for assignment in late May and outrighted to Tacoma.

He pitched well for the Rainiers, posting a 2.67 ERA in six games (four starts) with 16 strikeouts and just four walks over 20 1/3 innings (1.03 WHIP).

Rotation questions

There still has been no decision on a starter or “opener” for Tuesday’s series opener against Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres at Oriole Park. Hyde said Tuesday’s pitching plans would depend on who was needed to get through Sunday’s road finale. Based on the number of times Hyde has mentioned the possibility, it seems likely that he’ll go with the same setup he used in Oakland, when Jimmy Yacabonis was the “opener” with rookie Josh Rogers right behind him.

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