BOSTON—The Orioles set their 26-man roster with some moves that were expected, placing relievers Mychal Givens (left knee inflammation) and Dillon Tate (elbow) and catcher James McCann (left oblique strain) on the injured list, purchasing the contract of catcher Anthony Bemboom and placing John Means, who’s rehabbing from last April’s Tommy John surgery, on the 60-day injured list.
There was one move that may not have been expected, optioning right-handed reliever Joey Krehbiel to Triple-A Norfolk, allowing them to keep two other right-handers, Mike Baumann and Logan Gillaspie.
“That was very difficult,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “A lot of us are very tight with Joey Krehbiel, and I assume that he’ll be back with us soon. That was a tough conversation.”
Baumann made the Opening Day roster for the second straight season, but this time he’s a short reliever. The Orioles converted him to short relief late in spring training.
“We just saw him throw the last three or four times in camp in that one inning type of role,” Hyde said. “And it was what we were hoping for, fastball velocity, strike-throwing ability got a little higher. We just thought his stuff improved by putting him into the bullpen. We’re hoping that would happen. We feel like Mike’s got a chance to be a really good reliever.”
Gillaspie’s opener: It’s the first Opening Day for Gillaspie, who didn’t allow an earned run in seven innings, giving up just three hits during Grapefruit League play, striking out 10 and walking two.
“He had a great spring training,” Hyde said. “His stuff has ticked up. I love his mentality, and he’s been throwing the ball extremely well.”
“It means a lot. They trust me. They believe in me,” Gillaspie said. “Go out and do my thing like I’ve been doing.”
Gillaspie was 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 17 games last season, but probably wouldn’t have made the team had Givens and Tate been healthy
“I was waiting for a tap on the shoulder, and ‘go into the office,’” Gillaspie said. “The longer that I was there, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I might actually make it.’”
When Hyde told Gillaspie he was on the Opening Day roster, “I was at a loss for words. “Oh my God, it finally happened.’ They told me to plan on going to Boston, I was kind of like thinking, ‘I might be sent down, maybe I won’t.’ I don’t know. I just showed up. I’m here.”
Coulombe arrives: Left-hander Danny Coulombe, who was acquired from Minnesota on Monday, was surprised by the late acquisition.
“A little bit of shock. You have everything planned to be in one place, and baseball takes you to a different place,” Coulombe said.
Coulombe [pronounced KOO-lohm] pitched against the Orioles three times during Grapefruit League play, allowing two hits in three scoreless innings.
“We didn’t have much success against him,” Hyde said. “It’s adding a lefty to the bullpen, and now we have three, which we feel like’s been important early in the season.”
Coulombe doesn’t find it odd that the Orioles are his new team.
“I pitched pretty well against them. You just never know. This game is funny, man,” Coulombe said. “You never know who’s watching. There’s always people, scouts in the stands from every team. Probably my three best outings in the year were against Baltimore, so I wasn’t shocked when I heard it was Baltimore.”
Coulombe could pitch in the opener without having seen his new team play.
“It’s more exciting than anything,” Coulombe said. “When I looked at the roster, I only played with one guy on this team. I’ve been around for 12 years, so you generally know somebody on every roster. I played with Jorge Mateo [in Oakland] in ’18.
Co-hitting coach Matt Borschulte came from the Twins’ organization, and Coulombe knew him, too.
“A few familiar faces are nice to see. It’s a different situation,” Coulombe said.
McCann update: Backup catcher James McCann hasn’t played since March 20th because of a strained oblique muscle, and knew a few days ago that he’d begin the season on the 10-day injured list.
“It’s getting better,” McCann said. “Every day, it’s gotten better. We’re progressing in the right direction.”
McCann is still disappointed to miss Opening Day.
“The timing is the worst part,” McCann said. “It’s not a major thing. If it happened the first week in camp, you all pro.”bably wouldn’t have known about it. Here we are, it happened eight days before camp broke and created a setback.
“I think it’s going to be shorter rather than longer … With a sprained ankle, I’d tape it up and here we go, but with an oblique you can’t really do this.”
Hyde is looking forward to having McCann back
“He’s starting his baseball activities tomorrow, so from there, hopefully no setbacks,” Hyde said. “Hopefully it’s going to be a week or two weeks.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB