The Orioles made a number of roster moves on Wednesday. Travis Lakins, who left his start against Houston in the second inning on Tuesday night, was placed on the 10-day injured list because of right elbow pain.
Manager Brandon Hyde said that Lakins would undergo further tests when the Orioles arrive in Southern California for a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. They’ll have an offday on Thursday. He thinks Lakins could miss significant time.
“Right now, we’re still calling it an elbow strain,” Hyde said. “They’re going to do some further tests on it. We don’t know for sure, but it could be a while.”
Right-handed reliever Isaac Mattson was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, and right-hander Spenser Watkins had his contract purchased from Norfolk.
Left-hander Alexander Wells, who was the winning pitcher on Tuesday night, was optioned to Norfolk to clear space on the 26-man roster. Infielder Stevie Wilkerson was designated for assignment to make room for Watkins on the 40-man roster.
Lakins is 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 24 games. Mattson, who was one of four pitchers the Orioles acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for Dylan Bundy in December 2019, pitched in one game last month, allowing a run in 2/3rds of an inning.
Hyde said it was important to have Mattson, who could pitch an inning or two, because of the strain on the bullpen the past two games.
“We’re having a tough time getting length out of our starters,” Hyde said. “The bullpen is extremely taxed, and we’re limping here to the All-Star break, and I want to give some breathers. To have two arms fresh, we needed big time.”
Watkins, who was signed as a minor league free agent before the season, spent six seasons in the Detroit Tigers organization and was 1-2 with a 3.58 ERA in seven starts for Norfolk. He’ll wear No. 80, the first player on the Orioles to wear that number.
“I don’t know much about him, honest,” Hyde said. “He wasn’t in major league camp with us. He did come over and throw some [simulated games]. He has pitched well in Triple-A. He is built up, so he can give us some length, hopefully.”
Watkins, 28, said that he was close to leaving organized baseball when he was idle last year.
“There was a lot of uncertainty, and there was a lot of pressure for me to provide for my family,” Watkins said. “It was an option for me to step away at the time and pursue coaching. I was lucky enough to get the call. Getting to the big leagues after years I’ve put into this, I can’t put it into words. I’ve been shaking since I got the phone call. It means everything to me and my family.”
If Watkins gets into a game, he’ll be the 45th player used by the team. With so many pitchers making their debuts this season, Watkins thought this could be his time.
“The thought crept in my mind, for sure,” Watkins said. “Seeing all those guys get the chance and the opportunity to come up here and witness it made it feel even closer for me, and it got to a point where it was, ‘wow, this is a real opportunity for me here.’ Here we are, so I’m real excited.”
It’s all in the future: Bowie catcher Adley Rutschman and Norfolk right-hander Marcos Díplan will represent the American League in the Futures Game to be played on July 11th at Denver’s Coors Field.