Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is scrambling to find answers to support the back end of the rotation and fortify the bullpen.
As a result, Hyde might go with an opener in Oakland June 19, potentially using Josh Rogers, Miguel Castro and some other fresher arms to throw innings. Jimmy Yacabonis pitched two innings in a 3-2 loss to the Athletics June 17, but still could be part of that mix.
Hyde also made sure Oakland knew the uncertainty with the starter had nothing to do with gamesmanship.
"We let the A's know it's still a little bit unsure," Hyde said. "It's kind of how things go the next couple of days. But a really good chance that Rogers will pitch at length that game."
David Hess could not hold one of those spots in the back end of the rotation. After flirting with a no-hitter in his first start of the season, Hess (1-9, 7.36 ERA) did not win another game, had an 8.43 ERA during his past 13 appearances. He allowed 20 home runs, tied for the most in MLB. He was sent to the bullpen June 15 before being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk two days later.
Hess is embracing the opportunity as a reliever.
"I think it will be good," Hess said. "I think the thought process behind it with the coaching staff as well, they made it clear that development was important and this was something that they really think will be beneficial with that. I think it will be something that plays out really well personally and I know they think that as well."
Sean Gilmartin, 29, was promoted from the Tides and will also get an opportunity to help stabilize the beleaguered bullpen. In a corresponding move, outfielder Joey Rickard, who hit .203/.304/.347 in 135 plate appearances at the big-league level this year, was designated for assignment.
The Orioles have not closed the door on bringing Rickard back should he clear waivers.
"Obviously, we hope that he clears," Hyde said. "I like Joey a lot and that's part of the game and it stinks. I hope he clears and stays in the organization or whatever works out best for him. He's obviously a great guy and I'm hoping for the best."
Gilmartin had a 2.48 ERA and 1.10 WHIP during 36.1 innings in 17 games with Norfolk. He went 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 relief appearances (27 innings) last season for the Orioles after they signed him July 13. He pitched for the New York Mets from 2015-2017, with his best year coming in 2015.
Gilmartin arrived after the Orioles gave up 28 runs during a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox June 14-16.
"Sean has major-league experience and is a left-hander who can pitch multiple innings for us," Hyde said, "and the way our weekend went, obviously we needed an arm here and we're excited to see what Sean can do. It's nice to have somebody with experience here and Sean's throwing the ball really well in Norfolk. With the way our games play out, we need guys who can cover innings."