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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Orioles shakeup bullpen with promotion of knuckleballer

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As the Orioles continue to deal with injuries on the pitching front, Mickey Jannis earns his first big league promotion.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Birdland,

This Orioles season is quickly taking an extreme nosedive that I’m not sure even the most pessimistic of observers could have anticipated. A somewhat encouraging April has given way to two depressing months in a row, and this team is now on pace for 51 wins on the year, dangerously close to the 47 wins they secured back in 2018.

But there is some good news.

The Orioles promoted knuckleballer Mickey Jannis on Tuesday! The 33-year-old has been in professional baseball since 2010, when he was a 44th-round draft pick out of Cal State-Bakersfield by the Tampa Bay Rays. After years spent in both the Rays and Mets organizations, Jannis signed with the O’s as a minor league free agent in January of 2020. The resumption of the minor league seasons this year allowed him to make seven appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, where he generated a little buzz.

Over 24.2 innings, mostly coming in relief, Jannis posted a 2.92 ERA, .244 batting average against, 1.26 WHIP, 13 strikeouts, and 10 walks. Expectations should be tempered, of course. This isn’t about to be peak R.A. Dickey or even Tim Wakefield on the mound. Strikeouts will be limited, and it could be frustrating at times. But the Orioles need pitching options, especially those that can go multiple innings. Jannis should fill that void, and it could be really fun to watch...at least for a little while.

Links & Notes

Orioles DFA Mac Sceroler and select Mickey Jannis’ contract | School of Roch
Mac Sceroler was in a tough position as a finesse type of pitcher that was making the jump from High-A to the big leagues in one fell swoop. He showed an interesting changeup at times, and had this been a different year perhaps the O’s would have hung onto him. But it was too difficult to make happen with the limited options out of the bullpen.

Catching up with Bruce Zimmermann | Orioles.com
The success that Zimmermann has had this year is one of the big positives to take from this difficult season. He is a Baltimore native, and he is positioning himself to be part of the mix on the next good Orioles team. What that role could be is unclear, but just about any team in the league could use a lefty capable of throwing multiple effective innings.

Orioles project Zimmermann will be out 2-3 weeks | Baltimore Baseball
The continued absences of Zimmermann and John Means is making things tough on the O’s relief staff. That’s not to say the two should be rushed back. Quite the contrary. But they have been the team’s two best starters, and without them an over-worked bullpen is feeling it even more.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Mark Hendrickson is the only current or former Oriole born on this day. The 6-foot-9 lefty was a pitcher for Birds from 2009 through 2011, accumulating a 4.80 ERA over 191.1 total innings. He turns 47 today.

Orioles history

1973 - Orioles pitcher Jesse Jefferson makes his major league debut, taking a shutout into the ninth inning, where Red Sox shortstop Rico Petrocelli homers with two outs to tie the game at 1-1. Jefferson stays in the game through the 10th as the O’s score an additional run to give the rookie an extra-inning 2-1 win.

2013 - O’s infielder Ryan Flaherty hits two home runs in a 13-5 loss to the Blue Jays.