TORONTO -- The Orioles shuffled their bullpen depth prior to Saturday afternoon’s game at Rogers Centre, recalling right-hander David Hess from Triple-A Norfolk.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
Hess opened the season in the Major Leagues, where he made 13 starts and a pair of relief appearances before being optioned back to Norfolk in mid-June. The 25-year-old posted a 6.95 ERA in the Majors with home runs being one of his main challenges.
With 20 home runs allowed over just 66 innings, Hess is tied for the fifth-most allowed in the Majors entering this weekend, a tie that includes teammate Dylan Bundy. Hess allowed three or more home runs in four outings in 2019, but seemed to be improving before his demotion with just three allowed over his final five appearances (20 2/3 innings).
Manager Brandon Hyde hopes that a fresh start will benefit Hess, especially in a different role coming out of the bullpen.
“A little bit of a clean slate, and obviously, command. Command of his pitches, sharpening up his slider a little bit,” Hyde said. "He was throwing a little bit harder earlier in the year. We’ll try to get some velo back in short spurts instead of a long start.”
Down in Triple-A, Hess worked as a reliever for five appearances which covered 13 innings with a 3.46 ERA. He allowed just one home run and struck out 17 batters to earn his promotion back to the Orioles.
“It sounds like he’s throwing the ball really well,” Hyde said. "I’ve followed him closely, obviously read all the game reports and talked to some people. His velo is up a bit and he’s had some success out of the 'pen. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do here.”
Lucas was in his second stint with the Orioles this season and owns a 5.74 ERA over 15 2/3 innings with 16 strikeouts.
Brooks, who joins the organization from Oakland, split his time between the rotation and bullpen this season with a 5.01 ERA over 50 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old has struggled with the home run ball this year, allowing 2.1 per nine innings, but his ERA was 3.79 over 19 innings as a reliever after making that transition in May.
Orioles swap Sunday starters
Ynoa will remain a member of the rotation out of the All-Star break, Hyde said, but will now be available out of the bullpen on Saturday and Sunday. The decision was made with Wojciechowski’s regular rest day in mind and some factors following the break, including a doubleheader on July 13.
Wojciechowski has made one start with the Orioles since coming over from Cleveland, where he’d posted a 3.61 ERA over 15 starts for Triple-A Columbus.