Baltimore Orioles: A Healthy Alex Cobb Will Go A Long Way
Help is on the way for the Baltimore Orioles and their pitching staff.
We’re only 20 games into the 2019 season, however, the Baltimore Orioles bullpen has already been severely over-worked. Not only are they over-worked, but they aren’t good. Starting pitchers for the Orioles average the fewest innings per start (just over four), giving way to a bullpen which has the second-highest ERA in baseball (6.67). Luckily, Alex Cobb is coming back to help.
As reported by MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, Cobb will be coming off the Injured List on Friday morning and start against the Minnesota Twins Friday night, if the weather allows.
Cobb won’t immediately come in and throw six-seven innings and instantly save the bullpen, but he did average nearly six innings per start last season, more than any other starter in the Orioles’ rotation.
Over the next 14 days, the O’s have two off days and will likely have Friday off due to rain. Cobb’s return comes at a good time and will, ideally, get these guys even more off days. His return also allows John Means to work out of the bullpen, for the moment. Means is one of, if not the most reliable arm on the roster and will have no problem going three or more innings in a relief stint.
The question now becomes, who gets optioned to make room for Cobb? I would assume it’s going to be either Evan Phillips or Tanner Scott. Best guess is Scott, only because he is seen as a possible fixture in the bullpen for the Baltimore Orioles, but didn’t get an opportunity to “graduate” from AAA yet.
There are more positive updates on the injury front for the Baltimore Orioles.
Catcher Austin Wynns has also healed from his injury (oblique), rehabbed very quickly with the Bowie Baysox and has since been activated from the IL and optioned to the Norfolk Tides.
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In his four games with the Baysox, Wynns went 5-17 (.294) at the plate with two doubles and three walks. He’s now in AAA with Chance Sisco and Carlos Perez, neither of whom have been impressive through the first two-plus weeks of the International League season.
Sisco is hitting .163 with a .234 OBP and has clearly been frustrated, expressed numerous times by arguing with umpires while at the plate. Perez is just 2-19 (.105) in seven games. He may be known for his defense, but it’s not worth what he brings to the table on offense. I doubt three catchers remain on the roster and wonder if time is up for Perez.
Elsewhere in the organization, outfielder Austin Hays has yet to play in a game after injuring his thumb during spring training. Hays is reportedly out of his splint and is prepared to begin hitting this weekend. He’s still a long way from making his 2019 debut with the Norfolk Tides, but all signs point to him progressing well at this point.
Nate Karns and Richard Bleier are throwing bullpens and could find themselves back on the roster soon. Both pitchers would be a much-needed addition to this bullpen, even on a limited basis as the season goes along. While Karns may return shortly, there’s been no word on a set timetable for Bleier’s return. He’s likely a few more weeks away, but all reports on both arms have been positive and note it’s been more about getting some rest and working back to normalcy after recent major injuries.