Orioles are figuring out the best role for López; Injury updates on Hunter Harvey and Mateo - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles are figuring out the best role for López; Injury updates on Hunter Harvey and Mateo

BALTIMORE—When Jorge López left his last Orioles start on August 19th at Tampa Bay after just two innings, manager Brandon Hyde decided he needed a change. Hyde moved López to the bullpen

In two appearances since then, López has allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings, striking out six and walking one. As a starter, López was 3-14 with a 6.35 ERA in 25 starts. His 14 losses lead the majors.

López pitched the eighth and ninth innings after Keegan Akin’s seven solid innings on Thursday.

“He looked pretty good, 96 to 98 [mph fastballs],” Hyde said. “I really liked the curveballs he threw yesterday. I liked the aggressiveness. His stuff was excellent. It was the best stuff I’ve seen this year … That was electric yesterday. Talked to him after the game. He was excited about it.”

Hyde has had trouble finding dependable starters. He also has had trouble finding reliable relievers.

Even though the Orioles haven’t had a save situation this month, Hyde indicated that Tyler Wells probably will get the next save chance. He pitched the ninth inning on Wednesday in the Orioles’ 10-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels, which broke a 19-game losing streak, but because if was a four-run lead, it wasn’t a save.

“Since Tyler’s been healthy and available here, I’m picking spots for him to pitch because I do have a lot of confidence in him,” Hyde said. “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself. We just haven’t had a whole lot of leads late.

“Lopie’s had two appearances. I’m not sure what role he’s going to be in, what he’s going to do. I was encouraged by his last two appearances. We’ll see how that goes.”

López’s place  in the starting rotation was taken by Chris Ellis on Wednesday night. Ellis went 3 1/3 innings, and the Orioles used six relievers. The Angels managed one hit in the final six innings, enabling the Orioles to come back from a 6-2 deficit.

When López was first acquired by the Orioles in August 2020, he threw twice in long relief, then once in short relief before he was inserted into the rotation.

“Yesterday, I was going to pitch Lopie regardless,” Hyde said. “If Keegan went five-plus or six, I was going to give the ball to Lopie to see how far he could go.” López needed to go only two.

“I don’t really have a plan in place at this point,” Hyde said. “I’m just going to see what it looks like. I’ll see if we’ll use him in short spurts, if he’s going to start again. I’m not really sure … I think we’re looking to see what he looks like at this point, and he’s looked really good in his last two appearances.”

Injury updates: Hunter Harvey, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a lat strain, will stay at Triple-A Norfolk for now. In three rehab appearances with the Tides, Harvey has allowed two runs on three hits in three innings, striking out two without walking a batter.

“We’re just letting him pitch a little bit,” Hyde said. “We’re evaluating every appearance.”

Jorge Mateo, who was removed from Tuesday night’s game because of a lower back injury, remains out of the starting lineup.

“He’s feeling a little bit better,” Hyde said. “I’m hoping he’s going to be in there the next day or two. He was still sore yesterday … Without an infielder on the bench, I’m hoping he can be available in an emergency today.

“The medical people tell me he’s going to be, hopefully, another day or two and then be back out there.”

Notes: Maikel Franco passed through outright waivers and was granted his release. … Fans who show their Covid-19 vaccine card when entering the ballpark on Saturday night will receive an Orioles cap. … Minor league left-hander Cameron Bishop has been assigned to Low-A Delmarva on a rehab assignment.

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