BALTIMORE—Pitcher Adam Plutko knew some Orioles when he was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on March 27th.
“I came up with Shawn Armstrong and Cole Sulser in the Indians’ system,” he said. “Position player-wise, Anthony Santander was an Indian, as well, and Rio Ruiz and Dillon Tate are from my area, and Pat Valaika and I were roommates in college.
“I had a good idea of a lot of guys on the team, but as far as personalities and how things worked, we didn’t play the Orioles in 2020. To be honest, they weren’t a focus of mine at all because we didn’t have to play them. I had no idea who anybody was in the bullpen, in all honesty.
“Now, I’m excited to be here, and it’s been a great transition for me. I’m just happy that I could fit in with these guys that have been doing a heck of a job for a really long time.”
Plutko, a 29-year-old right-hander, is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.
“He’s done great,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We have an innings-eater, length guy that’s done a bunch of different things from start to relieve, be a long reliever, but what he’s done here, we’ve started trusting him here in big spots in the middle to later part of the game because he throws strikes. He’s getting guys out.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise to this point, and I’d trust him in any kind of situation.”
The Orioles’ bullpen has a 3.08 ERA, and Plutko’s versatility has helped. His introduction to the team was a positive one.
“They didn’t want to change a whole lot,” Plutko said. “I’ve been successful before in the big leagues. It’s not like we needed to overhaul things, it was more slight tweaks and mixing things differently. Hearing it in a different voice, maybe.
“Familiarity breeds contempt, right? In some ways, I feel like Cleveland and I have known each other for so long, it wasn’t contentious. It was almost like, ‘he’s this, he’s this, he’s this,’ and then I got here, it was like, ‘we really feel you can be that over there.’
“I’m like, ‘that’s a breath of fresh air. I’ve been told like, I’m over here, and you guys think I can be over there.’”
Valaika recalled: The Orioles recalled infielder Pat Valaika from the alternate training site at Double-A Bowie. Valaika was needed because Freddy Galvis strained a groin muscle during Monday night’s 4-2 win over the Yankees.
“He’s a little bit sore,” Hyde said. “It was great for him to speak up when he did before it got worse and, hopefully, he’ll be back in the next couple of days.”
Valaika is batting ninth and playing shortstop on Tuesday night against the Yankees.
Valaika began the season with the Orioles but was sent to the alternate site on April 9th to make room for DJ Stewart’s return from the 10-day injured list. He was 1-foir-9 (.111) in four games.
“With Freddy being a little bit unsure on when he’ll be back, it’s good to add an extra infielder,” Hyde said. “We wanted to get Pat back here. I thought Pat had a really good year for us last year. He can do a variety of different things from play anywhere in the infield to playing outfield, if need be.
“He adds a little pop for us offensively. He’s been swinging the bat well. I was glad to have him back.”
In 2020, Valaika hit .277 with eight home runs and 16 RBIs in 52 games, and signed a contract in December that pays him $875,000 when he’s in the majors and $300,000 in the minors.
Kremer coming back: The Orioles will recall right-hander Dean Kremer, who was optioned to the alternate site on April 17th, to start on Wednesday night against New York’s Domingo Germán. A roster move will be necessary to accommodate Kremer, the Orioles’ No. 5 starter who was sent down because the schedule allowed the Orioles to get by with a four-man rotation for a brief stretch.