CHICAGO—Starting pitcher Cole Irvin is on his way to Norfolk, and the Orioles hope they’ll get a better Irvin when he returns. The Orioles optioned Irvin after Thursday’s game when he allowed six runs in four innings.
“We want to see Cole get right. He’s got a lot better command than he’s shown in his first few starts,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s going to be a huge part of our rotation going forward. We’d just like to see him get some starts under his belt in Triple-A — get his confidence back, get his command back, hopefully, see him back soon.”
When Irvin was told the news after Thursday’s game, Hyde said there was no negative reaction.
“I thought he took it like a pro,” Hyde said. “He understood. He’s intent on going down there and getting his command back.”
With offdays on Monday and Thursday next week, the Orioles don’t need a fifth starter for the time being, but they do need a long reliever, and Spenser Watkins has been recalled to provide depth for a tired bullpen.
“Spenser’s built up as a starter, so he’s going to add some length to our bullpen as another long guy that we need right now,” Hyde said. “Spenser had a nice year for us last year in the rotation. We feel good about him being in our bullpen in a long relief role.”
Hyde wants Irvin, who’s allowed 15 runs on 17 hits and walked eight in 12 2/3 innings, to work on specific pitches.
“It’s getting back to the two-seamer command. The changeup for us is a little bit hard,” Hyde said. “If you look at a lot of his changeups yesterday, it was in the mid-80s, which isn’t a big gap from his fastball. His fastball is 93, 94. A little bit more confidence in his changeup, being able to slow it down a little bit. Overall, better command, the command he showed in spring training, the command he showed the last couple of years in the big leagues.”
Hyde hasn’t named his starters for Tuesday and Wednesday’s games against Washington but noted that Kyle Bradish, who’s scheduled for a rehab start at Double-A Bowie on Friday night, could return to pitch on Wednesday.
Keegan Akin is on the paternity list and right-hander Yennier Cano has been recalled to replace Akin.
Cano allowed nine runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in three appearances for the Orioles late last season, and he’s pitched three scoreless innings at Norfolk.
“Coming in with a different mindset,” Cano said through a translator. “Focus on throwing more strikes, attacking the zone. I think I have pretty good pitches, and I think when I’m working at and through the zone, good things come out of that.”
“Cano’s off to a really good start in Triple-A,” Hyde said. “A guy that [you’re] able to bring in against right-handed hitters. He showed the stuff last year. He didn’t have the best command while he was up here last year. Threw the ball well in spring training. He’s off to a really good start at Triple-A.”
Note: Anthony Santander is back in the lineup as designated hitter after missing two games with a sore back.
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