Orioles manager Buck Showalter shed some light on his rotation for the next week, and, technically, for the next month.
Mike Wright will pitch the “fifth starter’s” game in Houston this week and Alex Cobb won’t be making his Orioles’ debut before April 14.
Wright, 28, was competing with Miguel Castro for early season starts until Cobb is ready to pitch in the majors. Neither Wright nor Castro finished with good numbers this spring: Wright had a 6.63 ERA in 19 innings while Castro had a 6.39 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.
Wright, a former third-round pick who is out of options, hasn’t started for the Orioles since June 17, 2016, when he allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings versus Toronto.
But he posted a 3.69 ERA in 16 starts with Triple-A Norfolk last year. All 13 of his appearances for the Orioles in 2017 were in relief.
Showalter said his rotation in Houston will be Chris Tillman on Monday, Wright on Tuesday and Dylan Bundy on Wednesday. That gives Bundy, the club’s Opening Day starter, an extra day’s rest.
Wright has started one game in Houston in his career, allowing five runs in five innings in a loss on June 2, 2015.
Whomever the Orioles selected to pitch in the fifth slot – Wright or someone else – wasn’t expected to be there for long, barring injury by one of the regulars. Cobb, who was signed to a four-year deal in March, is expected to make his club debut in mid-April, but it won’t be before April 14 at Boston.
Showalter said Saturday that Cobb threw four innings and 48 pitches in extended spring Friday and will be stretched to five innings in his next time out in Florida. He will likely throw another outing of six innings, but it likely will be a simulated game.
Cobb is currently on the Double-A Bowie roster and will work out in Bowie, but Showalter said that he doesn’t want Cobb throwing a minor league ball, and he won’t be able to use a major league ball in a Double-A game. There is a slight difference in the stitching of the two and the Orioles don’t want Cobb, who has had reconstructive elbow surgery, to change his feel for pitches while adjusting to an unfamiliar ball for likely only one outing.
Two other quick notes: Mark Trumbo (quad) will take batting practice Monday in Sarasota and then will play in an extended spring game there April 6. Chance Sisco will start at catcher Sunday against the Twins.