BALTIMORE—Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey rejoined the Orioles before Friday’s game against Cleveland. The Orioles also made a number of other moves.
Harvey, who had been on the 60-day injured list, hasn’t pitched this season because of a strained left oblique. The right-hander, who was the team’s top draft pick in 2013, was exceptional in relief late in 2019 before struggling some in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Harvey has the potential to complement hard-throwing left-hander Tanner Scott.
Harvey injured his oblique on March 12th.
“It was tough,” Harvey said. “Like I’d been saying going into the spring, it was the best my arm had felt, the best my body had been feeling, the ball had been coming out of my hand good. Another freak accident happened, and there’s not a whole lot you can do. I didn’t really see it coming, it was out of nowhere.”
It’s been another long recovery for Harvey.
“It felt like it took forever, like always,” Harvey said. “It took me three or four outings to start feeling good again. The last outing I had in Durham, it was probably the best I’ve felt since 2019. The ball like it was coming out of my hand really good again. The offspeed felt good. It felt really good again.”
Harvey pitched 15 innings for the Orioles in 2019 and 2020. He was their top draft choice in 2013 but has missed substantial time because of Tommy John surgery, a broken leg and a shoulder injury. During his rehab stint at Norfolk, Harvey pitched 6 1/3 innings in four appearances.
“It was frustrating because I did a lot more this offseason to build my arm up, to build my body up,” Harvey said. “To have a freak thing like an oblique, which I’ve never had a problem with in the past, it was kind of frustrating. I hope I don’t have an oblique thing again. It’s probably one of the worst pains I’ve ever had.
“I had a lot of guys tell me whenever I hurt my oblique … ‘When you start feeling good, make sure you take another week.’ I hate being on the [injured list]. I hate all that. As soon as I felt good, I was ready to go, and I [remembered] what those guys said, and I tried to make sure I was 100 percent with my oblique before I really started turning it up. Luckily, it’s all been good, and I haven’t had any setbacks. It’s all good now.”
The 26-year-old Harvey is ready for whatever role manager Brandon Hyde gives him.
“They’ve been cautious with me in the past because of how my arm has been and all the injuries I’ve had,” Harvey said. “Like Hyde said, I’m not getting any younger. There’s no point in waiting around. We’ve got to go. It’s time to go. There’s not enough time to keep babying it every year.”
Hyde is happy to have Harvey back in a bullpen that has struggled in recent weeks.
“Great to have Hunter back,” Hyde said “Disappointing injury in spring training. I know he’s excited and ready to go.
“I’m going to use him like a regular piece in the bullpen, and it’s been a tough few years being able to stay healthy. I want to see what this guy has. I want to see if he can pitch in big spots. He’s going to pitch in big spots. Really love the arm, like the makeup. I’d like to find out about him.”
Hyde isn’t sure if Harvey will work more than one inning.
“I think it was important from the standpoint of how you’re going to recover,” Hyde said. “I don’t know if I’m going to use him for one-plus, but I think it was important for all of us to see what he felt like the next day. That’s a normal progression for a pitcher anyway, even a one-inning guy.
“Hunter recovered great. He feels good. He’s ready to pitch tonight.”
The Orioles also recalled right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins and infielder infielder Ramón Urias from Triple-A Norfolk Right-handed pitcher Shawn Armstrong and left-handed pitcher Brandon Waddell were designated for assignment.
“I just thought [Armstrong] got off to an odd start,” Hyde said. “He missed the opening series [in Boston when he was on paternity leave]. He never got going.
“He threw too many balls in the middle part of the plate that hurt him. It was a tough conversation because he’s somebody that has been here for a few years, pitched a lot of innings for us. I hope whatever’s best for Army, I hope that happens. I’d like to keep him in the organization if possible.”
Lakins was 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 17 games. Armstrong, who was claimed by the Orioles in April 2019, had an 8.55 ERA in 20 games. Waddell, who was claimed from Minnesota, pitched a scoreless inning for the Orioles in his only appearance last month.
Urias replaces infielder Pat Valaika, who was placed on the bereavement list.
Urias batted .226 with a home run and six RBIs in 24 games with the Orioles. Valaika is hitting .167 with a home run and six RBIs.
The Orioles also claimed infielder Domingo Leyba on waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks and optioned him to Norfolk. Leyba was hitless in 22 at-bats for Arizona this season.