The Orioles are doing everything they can to support the airline industry as they attempt to keep enough pitchers available to get through their seven-game West Coast road trip.
They bought a couple more coast-to-coast plane tickets over the past 24 hours, selecting the contract of right-hander Matt Wotherspoon from Triple-A Norfolk and optioning left-hander Sean Gilmartin back to the Tides on Saturday.
Gilmartin was the spot starter Friday night and pitched 2 1/3 innings in the Orioles’ 10-9 loss to the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. He allowed nine base runners and two home runs before giving way to a parade of fellow relievers.
Wotherspoon was not on the 40-man roster, but the team had room for him after designating pitcher Dan Straily for assignment earlier this week.
In 21 games (two starts) with Norfolk, Wotherspoon was 2-1 with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.165 WHIP. He struck out 47 batters in 40 1/3 innings and walked just 13, which had to be attractive to the major league club after three young relievers came up this week and struggled with their control. Wotherspoon, 27, allowed three runs in two innings in one previous appearance with the Orioles this season.
Manager Brandon Hyde referenced the control problems Friday night after five Orioles pitchers combined to walk eight batters — four of them by young pitchers Tanner Scott (three) and Branden Kline, who flew across the country to provide bullpen depth earlier in the day.
“Well, we walked eight; they walked none,’’ Hyde said. “So, you are not going to win games when that happens for the most part.”
Hyde said Saturday that Wotherspoon’s good command stats were a deciding factor in choosing him for this call-up. He came over from minor league camp several times during the spring to pitch in big league exhibition games.
"It’s quite an opportunity for pitchers in our organization,’’ he said. “There’s a lot of major league opportunity. If you come up here and pitch well, you’re going to stay. You might even pitch with a lead later in the game. Whatever it may be. We’re looking for guys to take the opportunity and run with it.”
Mancini back in action
Trey Mancini is back in the Orioles starting lineup for Saturday’s afternoon game against the Mariners.
He missed two games after he was hit in the left elbow by a pitch and removed from the first inning of Wednesday’s series finale at the Oakland Athletics. The injury was deemed a bone bruise.
“It feels better … good enough to play,’’ Mancini said. “The hope was that I may be good today or tomorrow. I took some swings even yesterday and felt like I could be in there. So, it feels good.”
Up in the air
Hyde said the starter for Wednesday night’s game against the San Diego Padres at Camden Yards remains up in the air. Depending on the usage of the bullpen between now and then, he said the club could repeat the “opener” scenario used Wednesday in Oakland, when Jimmy Yacabonis pitched the first two innings with Josh Rogers coming in as the second pitcher.