Taking a look at Orioles' bullpen choices - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Taking a look at Orioles’ bullpen choices

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTALast year’s bullpen success was one of the biggest stories of the Orioles’ 2022 season. In December, the Orioles added to their stable by signing Mychal Givens, who was traded away from Baltimore to Colorado in August 2020.

When spring training opened on February 16th, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias disclosed that one of the bullpen stalwarts of last season, Dillon Tate, wouldn’t be available for Opening Day because of a forearm injury.

On Wednesday, manager Brandon Hyde said that Givens, who hasn’t pitched since March 16th, had left knee soreness. With just five games remaining before the end of spring training, there might not be time enough for Givens, who has pitched just four innings this spring, to get ready for the season.

Without Tate and possibly Givens, there might be an unexpected opening in what could be an eight-man bullpen.

Félix Bautista, who didn’t pitch until March 13th because of knee and shoulder soreness, has thrown three times, and he’s healthy.

Bautista, Bryan Baker and Cionel Pérez are healthy. Keegan Akin has pitched six scoreless innings this spring, and Hyde said that he’s pitching better than anyone else in camp.

The Orioles will have at least two long men. If Austin Voth and Tyler Wells aren’t in the starting rotation, they’ll be in the bullpen.

If there are two spots unaccounted for the favorites could be Joey Krehbiel, who had a tough start this spring but has pitched well recently, and Rule 5 draft pick Andrew Politi.

In Krehbiel’s first two appearance, he gave up eight runs on eight hits in 1 2/3 innings, and since then has five straight hitless outings (4 2/3 innings).

Politi threw for the eighth time this spring. He has a 4.50 ERA, but that’s because he allowed a pair of two-run home runs while recording only two outs on March 9th against the Phillies in Clearwater. He has had seven scoreless outings, giving up just three hits in the others.

There are other possibilities, too. Mike Baumann has been converted into a short reliever, and he’s on the 40-man roster. So are right-handers Yennier Cano, Logan Gillaspie and Spenser Watkins.

DL Hall, who has held back because of a back injury, will throw for the second time on Saturday against Pittsburgh at Bradenton. On Monday, he allowed three runs, one unearned, on three hits in 1 2/3 innings.

The Orioles might decide that two appearances are enough for Hall to merit a spot in their bullpen, or because he’s being built back up into a starter, they could send him to Triple-A Norfolk.

There are two non-roster pitchers left in camp, right-handers Eduard Bazardo and Reed Garrett.

Bautista, Cano, Garrett and Pérez are scheduled to pitch in Thursday night’s game.

In the final days of camp, the Orioles could sign a veteran pitcher who’s opted out of his minor league contract elsewhere or claim one on waivers.

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