Mychal Givens was supposed to supply a veteran presence to the Orioles’ bullpen. In the end, he barely was a presence at all.
Before Sunday’s series finale with the Seattle Mariners, the Orioles activated Givens from his second stint on the injured list and designated him for assignment. The 33-year-old right-hander, who also pitched for Baltimore from 2015 to 2020, made only six appearances after rejoining the organization this offseason on a contract that guaranteed him $5 million and included an option for 2024. Over four innings, Givens allowed five earned runs on four hits and six walks.
At the start of the season, Givens was the Orioles’ only reliever with a salary above $2 million. He began the year on the IL with left knee inflammation and joined the Orioles’ bullpen May 21 before going back on the IL on June 2 with right shoulder inflammation. In the past two outings of his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Norfolk, Givens allowed six earned runs while recording four outs, averaging 91.3 mph on the 19 fastballs he threw Saturday.
Other teams will have the chance to claim him on waivers, but it’s likely he clears and becomes a free agent.
“It’s the time of year where we’re trying to win every game we can right now,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re coming down the stretch, and we need guys that are durable, able to be able to win some games down the stretch, and unfortunately, it didn’t work out with Myc, but we have some other guys here that are throwing the ball extremely well.”
With Givens and Dillon Tate (right elbow flexor strain) spending much of the season on the IL, Yennier Cano has emerged as a key right-hander sinkerballer in Hyde’s bullpen, representing the Orioles in the All-Star Game. Hyde also pointed to the unexpected impact of left-hander Danny Coulombe, acquired from the Minnesota Twins for cash at the start of the season, though he’s now on the IL, too, with left biceps tendinitis. He also praised right-hander Jacob Webb, a waiver claim from the Los Angeles Angels who has opened his Orioles career with three scoreless appearances.
“If you would’ve asked me in March if Cano was going to look like this or if Danny Coulombe was going to be in our bullpen — that’s what you need,” Hyde said. “You need some breaks along the way and you need some surprise stories. Félix [Bautista] was a surprise story for us last year, and Cano and Danny have been this year for us. How about Webb, what Webb’s done in three appearances? These are all great stories, and hopefully, we’ll get a couple more surprise appearances and good things happen in the last month and a half of the season.”
Along with Tate and Coulombe, the Orioles have two other relievers on the mend in right-hander Austin Voth (right elbow discomfort) and left-hander Keegan Akin (lower back discomfort). Left-hander John Means was the club’s top starting pitcher from 2019 to 2021, but he could return from his 2022 Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in the rotation or bullpen, with left-hander DL Hall and right-hander Tyler Wells operating in similar circumstances as the Orioles look to manage their workloads over the coming months.
Givens was the Orioles’ lone offseason addition to a bullpen that performed well in 2022 but was loaded with inexperienced pitchers at risk of regression. In-season fortifications have come from trading for Coulombe and Oakland Athletics right-hander Shintaro Fujinami and claiming Webb, but the front office was unable to secure more bullpen help at this month’s trade deadline despite efforts to do so.
Around the horn
- After pitching five shutout innings Saturday in his first start since July 7, left-hander Cole Irvin will make another start for the Orioles, Hyde said. His next turn would come in Oakland, the team Baltimore acquired him from this offseason.
- The Orioles will start right-handers Grayson Rodriguez, Jack Flaherty and Dean Kremer in San Diego, keeping their six-man rotation on turn.
- Rehabbing outfielder Aaron Hicks (left hamstring strain) will “possibly” join the Orioles on Monday in San Diego. Hicks was out of Triple-A Norfolk’s lineup Sunday after getting four at-bats with the Tides each of the previous two days.
Source: Berkshire mont