BALTIMORE -- From the outset, the Orioles planned to manage their pitching creatively this season, facing the unprecedented workload challenges brought on after the shortened 2020 season. John Means was no exception, even before he threw a career-high 113 pitches in his no-hitter against the Mariners on May 5.
As a result, the Orioles are pushing Means back three days to alleviate workload concerns, a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking told MLB.com. Originally scheduled to pitch Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees, Means will now start on Wednesday against the Rays on seven full days of rest.
Means followed up his no-hitter with six shutout innings on May 11 against the Mets, throwing 74 pitches in the outing.
Speaking after that game, manager Brandon Hyde revealed that Means was on an 85-pitch count. Consider it further evidence of the club exercising caution with Means, who had never pitched into the eighth inning prior to his no-hitter. All told, Means has logged 52 innings in eight starts this season, seventh most in MLB as of Saturday afternoon.
“Any time we have the ability to give our guys extra days, we’re going to,” O's manager Brandon Hyde said Saturday. I don’t think it’s going to be unusual this year around the league. You’re seeing teams push guys back and give guys extra rest when necessary. He was very receptive to it.”
Helping the cause is Monday's off-day, the Orioles’ third in 12 days, which will allow them to push their entire rotation back at least one day. The Orioles then begin a stretch of 16 games in 16 games before their next off-day June 3.
“We felt like this was a good time to push him back before this long stretch,” Hyde said.
The downside is it leaves Baltimore without a starter for Sunday, which Hyde said he would announce after Saturday’s game. The club could recall Bruce Zimmermann or go with a bullpen game.
From the Minor League trainer’s room
Down at Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles placed No. 18 prospect Jahmai Jones on the seven-day injured list on Friday with a strained left oblique. Jones had gotten off to a productive start at Norfolk, going 5-for-22 with four extra-base hits (one homer) and four walks in his first six games.
The Orioles are hoping that No. 8 prospect Yusniel Diaz can avoid the injured list despite an injury to his left thigh-upper leg sustained on May 9. Diaz has not played since pulling up at second base with the injury, but a source said he is not heading to the IL as of Friday evening.
If healthy, Diaz and Jones are the two upper-level position-player prospects most likely to debut in Baltimore by season’s end, given their experience, pedigree and, in Jones’ case, the Major League team’s need at second base.