Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey is preparing for his first action of the 2020 season, and the Orioles will be careful with him.
“We’re probably not going to throw him in the closer’s role,” bullpen coach Darren Holmes said in a video conference call on Saturday.
Harvey is on the 10-day injured list because of a strained right forearm. Manager Brandon Hyde said on Friday that Harvey could be activated in the next day or two.
“He’s been out for a lengthy period of time,” Holmes said. “He’s not going to be a back-to-back guy. Say he pitches an inning and throws 10 pitches, you take a day off and he may be ready the second day.
“If he throws 18, 20 pitches, you’re probably going to give him two days off. We’re in the back end of this right now, and we want to make sure he finishes the year healthy, so he’s probably going to have a day or two days or maybe even three between outings.”
Holmes is looking forward to Harvey’s return.
“I think Hunter will add definitely a very big arm for us,” Holmes said.
Armstrong goes to IL: Right-hander Shawn Armstrong has been placed on the 10-day injury list because of lower-back soreness. The injury is listed as “SI joint inflammation.”
The move is retroactive to August 26th. Armstrong is eligible to return on September 5th.
“It’s been a few days ago now where he had some lower-back soreness,” Hyde said. “We’re giving him treatment. It’s still a little bit sore, so we decided to put him on the IL … it’s going to be short term. Everybody feels confident that’s it’s a minor issue.”
The Orioles recalled right-handed pitcher Evan Phillips from the alternate site at Bowie. Phillips has been with the team on the taxi squad.
Armstrong is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in 11 games. Phillips, who was optioned on August 17th, is 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA in eight games.
Watching Sulser: Relief pitcher Cole Sulser allowed a two-run game,-winning home run to Toronto’s Randal Grichuk on Friday night.
Holmes isn’t worried about Sulser’s mentality.
“He’s a very intelligent, even-keeled guy,” Holmes said. “He’s very prepared for every time he goes out there.”
Sulser is 1-3 with a 3.68 ERA. He has saved five games in seven chances.
After his first blown save opportunity, which came when New York’s Aaron Judge hit a three-run home run against him on July 30th, Holmes and pitching coach Doug Brocail counseled him.
“You’ve got to have a short memory,” Holmes said. “It’s going to happen. This is the big leagues.”
Sulser spoke with Brocail and Holmes earlier on Saturday.
“We all were there,” Holmes said. “I’ve been right in his position. I’ve blown some saves early in my career, and I think he’s done a good job.”
Brocail and Holmes had a combined 28 years as major league relievers, and they like what they’ve seen from Sulser.
“He knows what he wants to do,” Holmes said. “He’s feeling his way through. He’s trying to solidify himself as a back-end guy, and things like this happen.
“We haven’t lost any confidence in him. We haven’t lost any faith. We still believe he has good stuff. He has a good fastball with a lot of ride to it. His slider has been really good. His changeup has been off the charts at times.”
López gets a start: Jorge Lopez gets his first Orioles start on Sunday. Lopez, who was claimed on waivers from Kansas City on August 9th, has a 7.00 ERA in nine innings.
“We would like to see Jorge in the rotation and see what that looks like,” Hyde said. “He’s been a starter in Kansas City for the last couple of years, and we like the way he’s thrown the ball out of the ‘pen even though his numbers don’t show how he’s been pitching since he’s been with us. We’re going to give him the opportunity to start [Sunday.]
Tommy Milone will start on Monday afternoon.