BALTIMORE—The Orioles returned home with a full clubhouse. Since they last played here on August 25, they added 11 players, two of whom, right-handed pitcher Shawn Armstrong and designated hitter Mark Trumbo, were activated from the injured list. Eight players were brought up from Triple-A Norfolk.
Besides the 35 players, the Orioles have added a fourth trainer, Chris Poole from Norfolk, and Tides manager Gary Kendall, who’ll be with the Orioles until September 16 as a guest coach.
The Orioles have 19 pitchers, giving manager Brandon Hyde a multitude of relievers.
In Tuesday’s doubleheader, Hyde started Ty Blach in the first game and Gabriel Ynoa in the second. Hyde said that he hasn’t contemplated using six starters.
“We have so many guys in our bullpen right now that we can do a lot of things,” Hyde said.
This is the final year teams can expand their roster to 40 players. Next year, teams will have 26 players on the roster from Opening Day until August 31. After September 1, they can have 28.
“It’s the preparation that takes so much of your time,” Hyde said of the extra players. “It’s nice from your end, [but] it’s not fun to prepare [for] a series in September.”
Hyde points to the three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom the Orioles haven’t played since July 2016. The Dodgers come to Baltimore from September 10-12. They have 31 players on their roster. Texas, which the Orioles play for the next four days, also has 31.
“We’re playing the Dodgers,” Hyde said. “We don’t know them very well. I know them pretty well, but our staff doesn’t know them very well. Then you’re also adding on 10-plus guys. It’s just a lot of work and a lot of time.”
Hyde sees some advantages to the roster additions.
“But it does give you flexibility to pinch-run, pinch-hit, match up a little better out of the bullpen late,” he said. “It’s nice from your end, but it’s not easy to play against.
“In our situation, from the pitching standpoint, it’s protecting ourselves against having enough pitching to get through September because the minor league seasons are over. Guys go home. If we have a couple of injuries or a couple of guys you need to shut down, you want to be able to cover.
“From a pitching standpoint … I’m glad that we have all the pitching that we have. With the hitters, I think we’ll see enough. Guys are going to get a lot of playing time, and I’ll rotate a little bit. The guys who’ve been here a majority of the year, they’ve gotten a lot of at-bats.”
Last year, when Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb were hurt late in the season, John Means was called from home as an extra arm in the season’s final week. With all the pitchers the Orioles have called up, Hyde hopes that won’t be necessary.
Right-hander Tayler Scott is the only healthy pitcher remaining on the 40-man roster who isn’t with the Orioles. He was sent to Norfolk on August 29 and could be recalled on Sunday if needed.
He doesn’t envision any players from Double-A Bowie being added to the roster once the Baysox season ends.
“I would assume this is probably it,” Hyde said.
Overall, Hyde would vote against the added players.
“I think I like the new rule going forward,” he said.