After the All-Star break, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde will have 72 games to plan for. It’s no secret the team’s starters haven’t gone deep into games.
In the second half of the season, it’s possible that the Orioles will give starts to more of their young pitchers.
On Tuesday night, the Orioles started Spenser Watkins, a 28-year-old who threw one scoreless inning on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Watkins will be the 12th starter this season and was the 11th player and ninth pitcher to make their major league debut for the Orioles.
The Orioles have left-hander Keegan Akin in the rotation with two other left-handers — John Means and Bruce Zimmermann — on the 10-day injured list.
Right-hander Dean Kremer is at Triple-A Norfolk, and so is left-hander Alexander Wells, who pitched twice in relief last week. Zac Lowther, who had one early-season start, is in the bullpen.
“I’d like to see Zimmermann come back for sure,” Hyde said. “I’d like to see Kremer continue to develop in Triple-A and possibly, hopefully, have him come back at some point.”
Hyde is hoping Zimmermann, who’s sidelined because of a left biceps tendinitis, will be back near the end of the month or the beginning of August. Kremer is starting for Norfolk on Tuesday night.
“Akin can hopefully improve his command. He needs to get better,” Hyde said. “He’s going to continue to get starts up here. I don’t know what the rotation is going to look like. This year is a strange one with injuries … possibly we have a lot of young guys in the rotation in the second half.”
The Orioles have been cautious with their young arms.
“Something our pitching guys are really monitoring is innings,” Hyde said. “Someone like Tyler Wells, we just haven’t built up more because of coming off Tommy John [surgery in 2019]. He’s on track now from an innings perspective.
“It’s something we’re taking into consideration very, very closely. Giving guys some resets has helped with that.”
Means update: John Means, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a left shoulder strain, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He’ll pitch Friday at Double-A Bowie and then next week for Triple-A Norfolk. If all goes well, he’ll be activated after the All-Star break.
Means threw two innings on Sunday at Aberdeen, and he said he felt good afterward.
“He’s on track to join us after the break,” Hyde said.
Lakins surgery: The Orioles announced that right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins, who’s on the 60-day injured list, had “successful surgery to fix a recurrent olecranon stress fracture in his right elbow.”
The surgery was performed Tuesday morning in Los Angeles by Dr. Steve Shin.
Notes: On Monday, the Orioles assigned right-handed pitcher Konner Wade to Triple-A Norfolk after he cleared waivers. … Delmarva first baseman TT Bowens, who signed as an undrafted free agent last year, was named Low-A East Player of the Week. … Orioles strength and conditioning coach Joe Hogarty will work with the American League All-Star team in the July 13th All-Star Game at Denver’s Coors Field. … Third baseman Maikel Franco, who hasn’t played since June 29 when he sprained an ankle on the last play of the game in Houston, was in the original lineup but was a late scratch. Domingo Leyba replaced him.