Hellickson deal fuels O's belief they can rally

July 29th, 2017

ARLINGTON -- As the Orioles wait for newly acquired pitcher -- who is expected to report on Monday -- to join them, Baltimore's clubhouse on Saturday afternoon remained upbeat about the addition and not ready to concede the 2017 season just yet.

Hellickson, who was acquired in Friday night's trade with the Phillies, should give the Orioles a more dependable option to eat some innings. While it's not exactly an all-in approach, the O's are hoping the veteran righty takes some pressure off the bullpen and helps to stabilize an under-performing rotation down the stretch.

"Six and a half [out of the American League Wild Card] is, I mean it can change quickly," said Orioles first baseman Chris Davis. "I don't remember what the exact lead was Boston lost in 2011, but there is history that shows you that you can come back. We still have two months left. I don't know, I think it is too easy to sit back and say, 'We'll start planning for next year.' But, to me, there is too much baseball left to be played."

Added Friday night's starter Chris Tillman, "I know, as far as the clubhouse goes, we definitely don't think we are out of it. We feel like we've been in this position before, we've gotten there before."

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette didn't answer a call to discuss the trade on Saturday, though Duquette did say in a text message Friday that Hellickson is "a solid, dependable veteran Major League starter" -- and one the O's believe can give them some quality innings.

"I think any team can use something like that," said Tillman. "He's good, he's been good for a long time. And not just us but anybody, we are fortunate to have him and looking forward to having him."

Hellickson was scratched from Friday's slated start while the Phillies worked out the deal. He got into a minor car accident on his way to the airport on Saturday, causing his travel plans to be pushed back to Sunday. Hellickson was OK, but his girlfriend was admitted to the emergency room. The plan is for Hellickson to throw in Baltimore later on Sunday, and he is expected to be in uniform for Monday's game against the Royals at Camden Yards.

Where he slots in is less clear.

"We're going to let everything clear a little bit, especially with as hectic as these next two days will be [leading up to the Trade Deadline]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Until we get our arms around him physically. I know he was working on one extra day's rest, hadn't pitched since the 22nd. I'd like to get a light work day. …We've got a tentative idea, but until we know how he's feeling, how everything else is. We talked to him a couple of times today, but we haven't talked to him since they got out of the emergency room."

Showalter did say the Orioles plan on keeping starting on Tuesday, though there could be some shuffling after that.