BALTIMORE—John Means was scheduled to pitch on Sunday. However, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has decided to give him additional rest, and he’ll start on Wednesday night against Tampa Bay instead.
Means had five days’ rest after his no-hitter on May 5 when he threw a career-high 113 pitches. He threw six shutout innings on Tuesday night against the New York Mets.
“I think any time we’re going to have the ability to give our guys extra days, we’re going to,” Hyde said. “We’ve talked a lot about last year being an unusual year, managing the workload [because of the pandemic]. John’s thrown a ton of innings so far this year already.”
Means has thrown 52 innings, seventh most in the major leagues, entering Saturday’s games. In last year’s 60-game season, he’s threw 43 2/3.
After Monday’s offday, the Orioles don’t have another offday until June 3rd.
“We’ve got a lot of games in a row where everybody’s going to be on regular rest, probably,” Hyde said. “We just felt like this was a good time to push him back a couple of days before this long stretch.”
Hyde would like to get his pitchers extra rest when possible.
“You’ll be seeing everybody push guys back,” Hyde said. “To give guys extra rest here and there when necessary, especially this first year. [Means] was very receptive.”
Hyde hasn’t said who his starter will be on Sunday. It could be left-hander Keegan Akin, who threw a scoreless inning on Wednesday, or it could be another left-hander, Bruce Zimmermann, who’s at Triple-A Norfolk after starting for the Orioles.
“I’m going to wait until after the game today,” Hyde said before Saturday night’s game against the Yankees. “We’re going to see how the game plays out tonight. Could possibly be a bullpen game. We’ll probably have a transaction postgame. It will be either a starter or a bullpen game. We’re not sure which one we’re going to go with yet.”
Norfolk home season starts Tuesday: After spending the first two weeks on the road, the Orioles’ Triple-A Norfolk Tides will play their home opener against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp at Harbor Park on Tuesday.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to it,” Norfolk manager Gary Kendall said. “I haven’t been back to Norfolk for a game since 2019. We ended on a pretty good note there. The fans play a big part in this. They were waiting, just like we were waiting, to go out and play some baseball. Now, there’s not just the excitement of Opening Day but the excitement of being at home before a home crowd and being minus baseball for almost two years. It’s really nice to get out there and play before a home crowd.
“Starting on the road, these first 12 and really 14 with offdays, it’s going to be really nice to get home and see some familiar faces and let the guys have a normal day … You get a little more time at the ballpark and get acclimated. We’re really looking forward to it, and I know our players are.”
With rest at a premium for pitchers, Kendall is prepared for many transactions. He heard stories from previous Tides managers.
“They didn’t lie when they said you seldom have the same club from day-to-day,” Kendall said. “You try to stay positive, and it keeps you on your toes. You do have some roles for some of the pitchers, whether it’s starters, relievers or guys who are going to throw in the middle of the game, towards the end of the game.
“A lot of times that long guy is going to have to make an emergency start. You’re always going to have adjust on the fly. As far as pitchers leaving us, that’s always a good thing because they’re always going to Baltimore. Hopefully, they can … help them win ballgames because that’s what keeps us all employed is them winning ballgames and us developing players. It’s a challenge, and you certainly would like to keep a certain 33 guys or 25 guys, depending on which year it is. You just have to adjust and you make the best out of what you have. You’re honest and upfront with your pitchers.”
Kendall says that he’s happy to see players he’s worked with succeed at the big league level.
“I think we’ve had some really good drafts recently or acquisitions, claiming guys or trading for guys,” Kendall said. “It’s certainly been a plus as you can see from some of our lower levels, the success that they’re having, not just from winning games, but when you eyeball some of these players, the [Gunnar] Hendersons, the [Adley] Rustchmans, you can see the obvious talent.
“I think we’ve drafted really, really well and as far as seeing the [Trey] Mancinis, the [John] Meanses, [Anthony] Santander, and those players, I’m just elated that I was part of the process, having been able to manage them, to get to know them and help them along with a lot of really, really good coaches on our staff that we’ve had either in Bowie or the places I’ve been.
“I’m just tickled at the success they’re having and the fact that they haven’t changed a bit.”
Tate update: Right-hander Dillon Tate, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring, is improving, Hyde said.
“It’s going well,” Hyde said. “Hamstring’s feeling better. He’s off the mound. He’s doing fine.”