After allowing 10 home runs in losing their first two games in Minneapolis against the Twins, the Orioles made major roster moves ahead of Sunday’s game.
Alex Cobb, who allowed four home runs in four innings, including back-to-back-to-back home runs in Friday’s 6-1 loss, returns to the injured list for the third time this season.
Cobb has had continuing back issues, and this move is retroactive to April 27. He missed his scheduled Opening Day start on March 28 because of a groin injury. After pitching in the April 4 home opener, he went back on the IL with a lumbar strain, which he later said was connected to the groin injury.
In two starts since coming off the IL, Cobb has allowed seven home runs in 6 2/3 innings. On April 20, he allowed nine runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings to Minnesota. After the game, he complained about the balls being too lively.
The Orioles designated their Opening Day catcher, Jesus Sucre, for assignment and optioned right-handed pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis to Triple-A Norfolk.
They recalled catcher Austin Wynns and right-handed pitchers Branden Kline and Luis Ortiz from Norfolk.
The Orioles won three of the first four games Sucre started but since then have lost 10 of his 13 starts. Pedro Severino, who was picked up on waivers just before the season began, has impressed manager Brandon Hyde. The Orioles are 4-7 in the games he started.
Sucre did throw out four of the eight runners trying to steal against him, but he committed a league-leading three passed balls. Severino has thrown out five of the seven runners attempting to steal against him, and has two passed balls.
While the Orioles are looking for strong defense behind the plate, Sucre’s offense has been lacking. He hit just .210 with a .269 on-base percentage with three RBIs.
Severino has shown more pop than Sucre, hitting .231 with three home runs and seven RBIs. His .790 OPS is far ahead of Sucre’s .511, and is fourth on the team behind Trey Mancini (1.023), who didn’t play Sunday because of a bruised left hand, Renato Nunez (.854), and Dwight Smith Jr. (.835). He’s leading Jonathan Villar (.754).
Early in camp, Wynns looked to be a favorite to make the team, especially since Sucre reported late because of visa issues. Wynns suffered an oblique injury that cost him a month and any chance to make the team.
Wynns, who played in just six games in spring training, hit 255 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 42 games for the Orioles in 2018. In nine games for Norfolk and Double-A Bowie, Wynns hit .333 with six RBIs.
Yacabonis has a 6.32 ERA in 10 games and has allowed 18 hits in 15 2/3 innings. He’s walked seven and struck out six.
Ortiz was scheduled to start for the Tides on Sunday in Louisville. He’ll give the Orioles some length in the bullpen, and his time with the team could be brief.
He was obtained along with Villar from Milwaukee in the Jonathan Schoop trade last July 31. Ortiz gave up seven hits in 2 1/3 innings in two games for the Orioles last September before injuring a hamstring. He’s 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in four starts for Norfolk.
Kline is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in seven games with Norfolk, was promoted on April 20 to serve as the 26th man in the second game of the Orioles’ doubleheader with the Twins. He allowed two runs in two innings.
Nate Karns, who is rehabbing at Bowie, could return to the Orioles soon, and Yefry Ramirez, who is scheduled to start for Norfolk at Durham on Tuesday, may also join the Orioles soon. Ramirez has a 1.50 ERA in four starts.
Wynns started in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Twins. He’s the 36th player the team has used this season. The Orioles used a franchise record 56 players in 2018.