PHOENIX—After going 7-for-61 (.115) with the Orioles in his first stint and being returned to Triple-A Norfolk on August 17th, Colton Cowser is back with the Orioles and hoping he can find some playing time in the outfield.
Cowser and right-handed reliever Joey Krehbiel were recalled on Friday when the rosters expanded from 26 to 28.
“It’s been good. I went down and had a little reset,” Cowser said. “I’m feeling good about where we’re at.”
In his two stints with Norfolk, Cowser, MLB Pipeline’s 14th-rated prospect, hit .314 with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs.
“I think going from the big league level down to Triple-A, it was eye-opening to see the differences when it came to the games,” Cowser said. “It was good to back down there and really see how the difference in how I played down there and how I played up here when it came to the mental approach to the game.”
Cowser thinks he was “trying to do too much” in his first iteration with the team. “I put a little bit of pressure on myself,” he said. “I don’t think that necessarily was the right thing to do, so t think going back there and just playing the game gave me a better idea of what I needed to do up here.”
He’s trying to simplify the game, no matter how long or short his stint is.
“Just doing what I’m needed to do,” he said. “Whenever my name’s called upon, I’m going to be ready. I’m just going to go out there and play my game.”
The last 29 games are crucial for the Orioles’ playoff position, and Cowser is thankful to be a part of it.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said that Cowser provides insurance and versatility.
“From where we are from an outfield standpoint, a health standpoint, we have a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of innings out there,” Hyde said. “We add a little bit of outfield depth with a guy that can play three spots in the outfield.
“We wanted him to go down there and work on his outfield defense in three spots. It was about getting his confidence back. He had a tough couple of weeks. He didn’t get everyday playing time. I wanted to see him get everyday at-bats, and he did that for a couple of weeks.”
Hyde said that Krehbiel has been pitching well for Norfolk.
“He had some really good appearances there as of late,” Hyde said. “He threw the ball well for us when he came up for a couple of brief moments this year … I hope he can be a help out of the bullpen for us.”
Hicks nearing return: Outfielder Aaron Hicks, who’s on the 10-day injured list , took batting practice before the game and he said he’s no longer feeling the effects of the lower back strain that sent him to the injured list for the second time.
Hicks was placed on the injured list for the first time on July 25th, reinstated on August 14th and was healthy for only two games before he was back on it on August 16th.
“Hitting went great,” Hicks said. “Worked on different pitches, fastballs, sliders, stuff like that. Swing felt pretty good. I felt the contact I was able to make was pretty consistent. The way I feel running on the field was good as well.”
According to Hyde, Hicks is not quite ready to play.
“He had a pretty heavy workload today. We’ll see how he recovers tomorrow,” Hyde said. “Probably a good workload day again tomorrow. We’re going to be taking it day-by-day. Whenever we feel like he’s ready, that’s when we’ll activate him.”
”I feel like at this point it’s just when they feel when I’m ready,” Hicks said. “I feel ready to go, but in the end, it’s not my decision. There’s a lot more stuff going on in the back that I don’t know. For me right now, I feel ready to go and I’m just waiting to get the opportunity.”
Hicks concluded his first stint on the injured list with two games at Norfolk. That won’t be repeated this time.
“No rehab assignment. I feel like as soon as I’m ready to go, I’ll be ready to play,” Hicks said.
Hicks, who was signed as a free agent, is batting .261 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 43 games with the Orioles after he signed with them on May 30th.
Notes: Ryan Mountcastle was a late scratch Friday night because he was not feeling well. … John Means pitched five scoreless innings, allowing one hit for Norfolk at Worcester on Thursday night. “Really encouraged by his outing last night,” Hyde said. “Another guy we’re monitoring.” ,,, Hyde said that reliever Tyler Wells, who’s currently at Norfolk, was also being monitored. … Norfolk catcher Maverick Handley was removed from Friday night’s game after colliding with another player.
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