Santander, Akin clear COVID-19 protocols

July 28th, 2021

BALTIMORE -- Though they both cleared COVID-19 protocol by Wednesday afternoon, the Orioles are waiting to activate right fielder and left-hander while both ramp back up to game action. They have been inactive since July 21, when Akin was scheduled to start at Tampa Bay.

As it stands, the rookie left-hander last pitched July 16 due to the issue. He threw a bullpen session Wednesday at Oriole Park, while Santander participated in pregame warmups. The right-fielder last played July 20 in St. Petersburg.

“We want to get them on the field,” manager Brandon Hyde told the media in the Orioles' dugout Wednesday. “It’s been a week. Get them on the field, get them moving around and see how their legs are and make a decision in the next couple days.”

The decision on Akin will be whether to reinsert him into the rotation, place him in the bullpen or allow him to start regularly at Triple-A Norfolk. Since he was sidelined, right-hander Spenser Watkins has emerged as a steady back-end presence in the O’s rotation and Wells enjoyed a solid first big league start in Akin’s place. Both will get another turn through the rotation on the team’s upcoming road trip to Detroit and New York.

Akin is 0-5 with a 8.19 ERA in 13 games (eight starts) this season. He’s failed to complete five innings in five straight starts.

Hey, Adley
The more Adley Rutschman rakes at Double-A Bowie, the louder the calls are going to come from the Orioles' fan base for his promotion. The O's, though, are maintaining a level of patience even as Rutschman gets hot again at the plate.

The latest example came Tuesday, when Rutschman hit his 16th home run in Bowie’s 5-2 loss to Richmond, a titanic two-run shot off Giants No. 11 prospect Sean Hjelle. The homer was the fourth in seven games for Rutschman, who is hitting .281/.410/.523 with 16 homers, 50 RBIs, 52 walks and 50 strikeouts in 70 games. He’s also thrown out 35 percent of would-be basestealers.

What else does Rutschman have to prove? The numbers would suggest not much. For that reason, it’s fair to assume he might earn a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk at some point over the next two months, though the Orioles’ continues struggles at the big league level make a Major League promotion highly unlikely.

There is also a chance Rutschman could remain at Bowie through the summer, if only to get further acquainted with top pitching prospects Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall there. Neither of those two will reach Triple-A before 2022, and the Tides have struggled mightily both in the standings and on the mound. The Orioles might very well consider Bowie a more productive environment, at least for the time being.

Draft wrap
The Orioles on Tuesday announced their final Draft signing, agreeing with 14th-round right-hander Daniel Lloyd on a reported over-slot deal. According to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Lloyd signed for $155,000, of which $30,000 counts against Baltimore’s pool. All told, the O's spent $11,669,300 of their $11,829,300 bonus pool (98.6 percent) on 21 2021 selections, saving with under-slot deals on four of their first five picks to disperse elsewhere.

Prospect promotions
While Rutschman stays put, the Orioles promoted two of their Top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline this week, and five others:

No. 7 prospect Mike Baumann from Bowie to Norfolk
No. 25 prospect LHP Drew Rom from High-A Aberdeen to Bowie
• RHP David Lebron from Bowie to Norfolk

• RHP Ofelky Peralta from Bowie to Norfolk
• LHP Nick Vespi from Bowie to Norfolk
• RHP Logan Gillaspie from Aberdeen to Bowie
• RHP Brandon Young from Low-A Delmarva to Bowie
• RHP Jean Pinto from Florida Complex League to Delmarva