CLEVELAND–With the bullpen heavily taxed in recent days, the Orioles recalled right-hander Tyler Wells from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned right-hander Mike Baumann to Norfolk.
Wells, who was 7-6 with a 3.80 earned-run average, was optioned to Double-A Bowie on July 30th after three short starts after the All-Star break. He had a 5.52 ERA in 14 2/3 innings for Bowie and Norfolk, and will be used in the bullpen.
“It feels great. I missed the guys a lot. I’m excited to come back and contribute,” Wells said.
In 2021, Wells began the season as a Rule 5 draft pick and eventually moved into the closer’s role, earning four saves. Last season, he was a starter and was 7-7 with a 4.25 ERA in a season truncated by oblique and shoulder injuries.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Wells said of being in the bullpen. “Pitching in a game is always exhilarating. Coming into those high-leverage roles is always enjoyable.”
A case could have been made that Wells deserved to make the All-Star team and was the best starter on the team until the sharp second-half downturn when he had an 11.00 ERA in three starts. Wells wasn’t surprised that he was sent down.
“I think they did what’s best for the team, and that’s how you have to approach it,” Wells said. “I think I handled it as best as I could, making sure that I focused on the things I needed to focus on.”
Manager Brandon Hyde could use Wells in some important roles.
“We’re hoping he can help us in that back half of the game,” Hyde said. “We’re looking for guys to get outs right now. They’re pretty fatigued in the bullpen. Hopefully, he can give us a lift in the back end.”
Hyde has to be careful with his bullpen in the final nine games of the regular season.
“We’re talking every day to our bullpen guys to navigate through this last stretch,” he said.
Two years ago, Wells was part of a team that lost 110 games. Now, he could pitch in the postseason.
“Extremely rewarding. There’s a lot of guys who’ve gone through that [in] years prior to that. To be a part of that and to see where we’re at now is extremely gratifying, and I’m thankful to be a part of that,” Wells said.
While Wells is back in the bullpen for now, he’s probably going to be a starter once again in 2024.
“He showed that he can start in this league and have a lot of success,” Hyde said. “He ran out of gas. It’s easy to see why. He wasn’t built up to be a six-month starter. We thought that was the right thing to do at that time, to shut him down, put him in the bullpen. Now, he’s in the bullpen, getting ready to, I would assume, to probably start next year.”
Baumann is 10-1 with a 3.76 ERA in 60 games. He was optioned to Norfolk on August 23rd and spent three weeks with the Tides. Unless there’s an injury to another pitcher, Baumann is not eligible to be recalled until the start of the American League Division Series on October 7th.
Arizona Fall League rosters: The Orioles will send nine players to the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League: Right-handers Carter Baumler, Zack Peek and Pete Van Loon, left-hander Trey McCough, catcher Connor Pavolony, infielders TT Bowens and Billy Cook and outfielder John Rhodes. Double-A Bowie pitching coach Forrest Herrmann will also join the Solar Sox. The AFL begins play on October 2nd.