Minor Monday: Zimmermann's rehab stint; Rutschman's promotion - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Minor Monday: Zimmermann’s rehab stint; Rutschman’s promotion

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Orioles pitcher Bruce Zimmermann has worked on his health, his mechanics and his confidence in his most recent stint in the minors.

The goal is to take the ball every five days in the starting rotation for the Orioles when he’s activated from the 10-day injured list. He has been on the injured list since June 15th because of left biceps tendinitis.

Zimmerman has battled injuries this year, but he’s fully healthy and ready to finish the season strong.

“I’m feeling great,” Zimmermann said. “Much better, closer to the beginning of the season almost. The time off to rehab my arm really gave me a great opportunity to build some strength in my lower half. Since building back in the rehab process, my arm has been feeling better and better after each start. Less soreness. Overall, I am processing much better through these starts.”

Zimmermann, a 26-year-old native of Woodstock, has made two starts in his injury rehab assignment, one for High-A Aberdeen and one for Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles haven’t decided if Zimmermann needs another rehab start before his return to the team.

Zimmermann was optioned to Norfolk after a start at Oakland on May 2nd, got one start for the Tides before he was brought back to the Orioles on May 16th.

“To a certain extent, I kind of expected that to happen this year, along with myself and the other rookies,” Zimmermann said. “It was [not] going to be seamless the jump to the big leagues — harder, better competition, obviously. I was expecting to have a stint in Triple-A and things like that. When it came, it came at a good time to give me a breather to come back down and work on some things that might not have been so crisp at the beginning of the year. My outing following that option went really well.”

On May 16th, Zimmermann pitched  5 2/3 innings in relief, allowing one run on two hits against the New York Yankees.

“The last month I was up there before I got hurt, I started to get on a roll with my starts. You just take it in stride,” he said.

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Zimmermann is already a fan favorite in Baltimore. He once pitched at Camden Yards in the Brooks Robinson All-Star Game as a senior at Loyola Blakefield in Towson.

After graduating from Loyola, Zimmermann spent his freshman and sophomore years of college at Towson University before transferring to Division II Mount Olive College in North Carolina for his junior and senior years.

As a senior, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA. He also had129 strikeouts, which tied the university’s single-season record set by former major league pitcher Carter Capps.

Zimmermann was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the fifth round of the 2017  draft and was assigned to the Rookie League Danville Braves, where he was 0–1 with a 3.09 ERA in 11 starts.

The Orioles acquired Zimmermann along with catcher Brett Cumberland, infielder JC Encarnacion and right-hander Evan Phillips  in the July 2018 trade for Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day.

Zimmermann has not pitched for the Orioles since June 13th. He started the opener of a doubleheader for Triple-A Norfolk on August 5th and threw three scoreless innings, allowing two hits with four walks and five strikeouts.

“The first time, there were some mechanical things we were trying to be more consistent with,” Zimmermann said. “Throwing my slider back-door to righties became an absolutely massive weapon in my arsenal that I was able to use very consistently. That was one of the aspects to make the second go-round for me to have some solid outings … [and] throwing the changeup to both sides of the plate.

“I’ve always been a guy to locate my fastball in, but I worked on being able to do it on command and with confidence. It was so much adding a whole lot of new things. Working on stuff up there is different from working on things in the minors.”

Zimmermann gained knowledge with each promotion to the Orioles, especially that there is no let-up.

“You just don’t get a break,” Zimmermann said. “That was probably the biggest adjustment this year, and I still have to get used to it. The stress level is higher throughout the entire start. You don’t get those breaks. The seven, eight and nine guys in the big leagues can still take you deep and do some damage on you.  It’s really doing a good job on your conditioning and staying mentally locked in without frying yourself.”

Zimmermann said he learns more from adversity than success. He had a three-game losing streak with the Orioles from April 15-21, allowing nine runs and 21 hits with nine strikeouts and six walks.

He made adjustments and pitched better in his last four starts with the Orioles, going 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA. Zimmermann struck out 23 batters and allowed eight walks. Overall, he is 4-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 12 appearances, 11 starts.

“When I started piecing together the quality starts, the confidence grows with each inning,” Zimmermann said. “Limit the walks, maximize the number of innings. Overall, my confidence is much higher than at the beginning of the season.”

The goal is to be a pitcher manager Brandon Hyde can trust every five days.

“Ideally, I don’t like to focus on stats, but it’s a game, it’s a business,” Zimmermann said. “Those things matter. I would love to finish the season strong and pull that ERA below a 4.50, closer to a 4. I would love to get a few more quality starts, more routinely. Hyde loves guys that don’t allow a lot of walks, they pound the zone. I want to prove that I can be a successful starter in the American League East. I can be a piece that is here to stay at least for the rebuild.”

Rutschman moves up: Catcher Adley Rutschman, who is now considered the top prospect in minor league baseball, is being promoted from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk. Rutschman’s promotion was first reported by MASNsports.com on Sunday and confirmed by industry sources.

The 23-year-old catcher, who was the overall top pick in the 2019 draft by the Orioles, was recently named baseball’s top prospect by MLBPipeline.

Rutschman is batting .271 with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs in 80 games with Bowie.

The Baysox were no-hit by Somerset, 7-0, on Sunday. Rutschman struck out twice in three at-bats.

Rutschman’s first scheduled game with Norfolk is on Tuesday at Harbor Park against Memphis.

Carmona gets hot: Delmarva infielder Jean Carmona has hit five homers this season — all since July 17th, matching his career total coming into the year. In last week’s series against the Fredericksburg Nationals, Carmona went 8-for-27 (.296) with a homer and three RBIs, plus two doubles for an .826 OPS.

Sedlock keeps rolling: Bowie right-hander Cody Sedlock was solid again and allowed one run on four hits in 5  2/3rd innings in a 3-1 victory over Somerset on Saturday. Sedlock is 5-2 with a 4.01 ERA and a save in 16 appearances, including 11 starts. Sedlock was selected by the Orioles in the first round (No. 27 overall) of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft. He appeared to be on a fast track to the majors as the team’s No. 2 prospect but injuries and struggles hampered his progress.

 

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Buzz1979

    August 9, 2021 at 7:33 am

    Longest 10 day disabeled stint in MLB history!

    • OhMy!

      August 9, 2021 at 7:57 am

      I think the only other option was to place him on the 60-day IL, which would have kept him out until about 8/14. Placing Zimmermann on the 60-day IL would have open up a spot on the 40 man roster though. Guess the Os initially thought he would miss less time than he has. Hope he makes it back to the Os soon and has some success to end the season.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 9, 2021 at 1:25 pm

        Hey Joe … so was I bluffing?

        • OhMy!

          August 9, 2021 at 7:16 pm

          Yup your were, no relief pitchers under 2.5M were going to save the day for the Os. But you knew that…

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            August 9, 2021 at 8:17 pm

            You’re full of it. Takes a small man to never admit when he’s wrong. Each and every one of those boys would be a major upgrade to our pen. I snicker at you.

    • CalsPals

      August 9, 2021 at 1:32 pm

      Apparently he was…lol…go O’s…

      • OhMy!

        August 9, 2021 at 7:16 pm

        Oh sensitive one CP, how are you doing? Still touchy? Hope not!

    • CalsPals

      August 9, 2021 at 8:21 pm

      Takes a man, I think that’s where there is confusion with him/her…go O’s…

  2. CalsPals

    August 9, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Thanks Todd, very refreshing look at the minors, again, do you think they’ll move any of the better pitchers up with Adley?…always appreciate your writing, you should contribute more often…go O’s…

    • ToddKarpovich

      August 9, 2021 at 8:23 am

      Thank you, I think we are going to see many more pitchers before the season ends i.e. Mike Bauman and Kyle Bradish if healthy from Triple-A Norfolk.

      • OhMy!

        August 9, 2021 at 7:19 pm

        Bradish has been struggling at AAA 5.04 ERA and 1.680 WHIP, not sure calling him up at this point is a good idea…

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 9, 2021 at 8:18 pm

          Sort of like chicken soup. It certainly wouldn’t hurt would it?

  3. Orial

    August 9, 2021 at 8:12 am

    Glad to see Zimmerman closing in on his return. Was once excited about a lot of these young arms adding to a formidable starting rotation but now wondering if these same guys could be studs from 6-9th inning on. Baseball’s trend for strong bullpens and the O’s inability to build adequately in that area may be a whole new direction for these same young arms. As for Carmona–I may be wrong but didn’t he come over in the Gausmann trade? If so why is he only at Delmarva–one would think he’d be further along. Agsin I may be wrong. Todd what’s the latest on Gunnar Henderson? Seems he’s stuck in mud at Aberdeen.

    • ToddKarpovich

      August 9, 2021 at 8:27 am

      Gunnar already moved up from Delmarva and is still getting the requisite at-bats for Aberdeen. He could be on the move over the next couple of weeks if he keeps hitting. Henderson is meeting all expectations.

  4. Orioles20

    August 9, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Zimmermann is the only piece from 2018 trades to show any kind of return. Not to criticize Elias because I like everything he’s doing contrary to some but my personal opinion is that Adley might have gotten more out of staying in double with guys like Rodriguez and stowers and build that chemistry and with Bowie in position for playoffs. Hope he doesn’t fall into the mediocrity that is Norfolk. I hope they give sedlock an opportunity in September. Has been great as the season has progressed.

  5. EkimC

    August 9, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Todd… what’s the story on Brannon? In 2019 he was an “up and comer” being promoted from Bowie (where I saw him play) to Norfolk. As I remember it he finished out the season on a bit of a hot streak and they were expecting big things from him. I know he was hurt early in the season and spent time on the DL with a stint at Aberdeen. But a check on his average at Norfolk shows a average approaching almost unbelievable (.134). How long can he continue at this rate on non performance? I mean, talk about being unproductive… just saying…

    • ToddKarpovich

      August 9, 2021 at 4:55 pm

      Brannon has come off the rails. I don’t get it.

  6. Bhoffman1

    August 9, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Not promoting Adley because of keeping chemistry with Bowie pitchers is absolutely ridiculous. BTW will Chris Davis be available out of the bullpen next year. Could be a upgrade . Lol

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 9, 2021 at 3:08 pm

      Last I heard Elias and Hyde were both excited to see him come spring to get to work with him!

    • Raveonjo

      August 10, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      Bhoff, you’re probably too young to remember the Orioles glory years when players weren’t rushed to the major leagues. The Rochester Red Wings were winning International League pennants with guys like Bobby Grich, Don Baylor and Roric Harrison. Later, guys like Mike Flanagan & Rich Dauer were allowed to experience winning before being brought into the major league crucible. I can see how people from the “I want it all. I want it now.” generation would think it’s ridiculous to allow a player one year to mature at one level, but the success of the “Oriole Way” although maybe outdated to some, does have its merit.

  7. Buzz1979

    August 9, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Conner Greene claimed by the Dodgers!!!

  8. willmiranda

    August 9, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Belated thoughts on the Mouncastle concussion. Some posters invoked the Old School as being somehow tougher about this. I am ready to be corrected, but I can’t remember any time when tagging a player on the face or head was tolerated. It just isn’t done, being dangerous, insulting, and intimidating, that is, totally unsportsmanlike. In the past, undue exuberance in making a tag would be regarded like a beanball, cause, justified or not, for an altercation. From what I’ve gathered, the perpetrator the other night fled the scene quickly, knowing he had done wrong and not waiting for Mounty to get up or teammates to arrive on the scene. I know things are different now, with emphasis on due process. It does seem to me that if a player slugs an opponent to a concussion protocol and the IL, there should al least some review of the play by the league. Give the offender a chance to plead that it was accidental and show remorse or experience corrective behavior modification. As for the helmet, it’s for protection against wayward baseballs, not deliberate shots to the chops.

    • CalsPals

      August 10, 2021 at 7:31 am

      No corrections, Will, just agreement, the way Franco ran off the field, to me, seemed like he wanted to avoid something, unfortunately it says something about the team by not at least questioning it, raising a lil hell, I like the old way it should’ve been handled, nothing violent, just let him know that’s not how the game is played, I don’t believe Franco had any intent than to get him out, but it speaks volumes with how he finished the play, wouldn’t have killed him to check on Ryan…go O’s…

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