BALTIMORE -- On Wednesday, a day after throwing a bullpen session to gauge the severity of the biceps soreness that’s sidelined him since early last week, right-hander Hunter Harvey characterized the issue as minor and said he plans to pitch again this season. In fact, Harvey, who hasn’t appeared in a game since Sept. 2, hopes to return to the mound this weekend in Detroit.
“It’s been kind of in and out for the past month or so, but has never been a concern,” Harvey said of the soreness. “[Pitching coach Doug Brocail] just told me to tell him if I’d ever felt anything, because of my past. I told him I was feeling a little tired in my arm, and they gave me a couple extra days.”
Manager Brandon Hyde echoed that sentiment, calling what Harvey is dealing with “normal soreness that everybody else has and goes through in September.”
Harvey described the issue as “normal stuff, nothing bad” and “no pain, just kind of a tired feeling” while expressing a desire to finish the season strong.
Though the Orioles haven’t revealed a strict innings limit for Harvey, he said on Wednesday he has “a little over” eight remaining for the club to budget over the season’s final two-plus weeks. If he uses them all, Harvey would ostensibly end 2019 with around 89 innings pitched, just past his career high of 87 2/3, set back in 2014.
Various arm injuries limited Harvey to 63 2/3 innings combined between 2015-18.
“He hasn’t thrown this much since 2014,” Hyde said. “He’s never pitched in September. So we were just giving him a little time off.”
Chalk it up to the type of caution the Orioles will continue to exercise with regard to Harvey, who has dazzled thus far in a six-game big league cameo. The club’s former first-round pick and current No. 15 prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline, Harvey immediately assumed a high-leverage role in the back end of Baltimore’s bullpen upon his promotion in mid-August. He held opponents to one run over his first 5 1/3 MLB innings, striking out 10 in that span.
The Orioles participated in MLB’s league-wide commemoration of Sept. 11, 2001, on Wednesday, the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks. The team's efforts included a moment of silence prior to first pitch; players, coaches and umpires sporting caps imprinted with “We Shall Not Forget.” The national anthem and “God Bless America” were performed by Six-String Soldiers, a five-member group from the U.S. Army Field Band.
Wojciechowski also eyeing return
Another hurler dealing with late-season wear and tear is right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, who played long-toss on Wednesday, also with an eye toward returning to the mound this weekend. Wojciechowski, who admitted to fatigue after his two-inning outing on Sunday, is set to pitch again this upcoming Sunday in Detroit. The Orioles will slot Gabriel Ynoa into Wojciechowski’s regular slot on Saturday, providing Wojciechowski one extra day of rest between starts.
Wojciechowski, 30, is six years older than Harvey and doesn’t have the same injury history, but he’s been given a similarly heavy workload this season, logging his most innings (151 2/3) since totaling 160 in the Minors in 2013. He said he began “to feel the affects of the long season” during his Aug. 17 start at Fenway Park.
Wojciechowski recorded a 3.68 ERA over his first five starts with Baltimore, but is 0-5 with a 7.05 ERA in eight since.
“I just need to focus on recovery. At this point in the season, I'm really trying to focus on sleep, recovery, nutrition,” Wojciechowski said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there and getting some redemption after my last start.”
The Oriole Advocates honored reliever Mychal Givens on Wednesday with the 2019 Oriole Way Award, given annually to recognize a team member “who has made significant contributions both on and off the field and who has demonstrated a since desire to serve the community.” Givens was recognized for his work with Orioles RBI, military appreciation and animal rescue programs, and his own organization, the Givens Back Foundation.
For the kids
Hall of Famer and MASN broadcaster Mike Bordick joined Trey Mancini and David Hess on Wednesday in partnering with League of Dreams, a local nonprofit, in hosting group home students for a baseball clinic at Oriole Park. League of Dreams was founded and is run by Frank Kolarek, the father of Dodgers reliever Adam Kolarek, a University of Maryland grad and Baltimore native.
Tip of the cap
Hyde began his pregame media availability by congratulating the Dodgers on their National League West-clinching win on Tuesday night. Hyde specifically lauded the job manager Dave Roberts has done in shepherding L.A. to its seventh straight division title, its fourth with Roberts at the helm.
“I have a lot of respect for the Dodgers. I have a lot of respect for Dave Roberts,” Hyde said. “I truly appreciate what he’s done there and their coaching staff. That’s so well deserved, and so hard to do.”