When rosters expand by two spots Friday, the Orioles will add right-hander Joey Krehbiel and outfielder Colton Cowser back to their major league roster, a source with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Baltimore Banner.

Those additions, however, may not be the last roster moves for Baltimore as the final month of the regular season arrives. The source added that the Orioles’ roster may evolve during the push toward the postseason.

Some of the moves on the horizon could include the returns of right-hander Tyler Wells and left-hander John Means. Wells is adapting to a bullpen role with Triple-A Norfolk after he reached a career-high innings count as a starter with Baltimore, and Means has started multiple rehab games in his continued recovery from last year’s Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

Joey Krehbiel (34) reacts to allowing multiple runs at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium during the fifth inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers on 3/2/23. The Baltimore Orioles traveled to Lakeland to play the Tigers in the Florida Grapefruit League.
Joey Krehbiel had a 3.90 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last year for the Orioles, but he has not spent much time in the big leagues this year. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Outfielder Aaron Hicks is also nearing a return from a back injury. Manager Brandon Hyde said Wednesday that the veteran may not require a rehab assignment. Hyde said Hicks has been running full speed without issue, and his batting practice sessions are promising.

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“There’s a lot of moving pieces right now,” Hyde said Wednesday. “Kind of seeing how everything fits, and I think the off day [Thursday] is kind of helpful to figure that out, but we’re having those discussions now of every type of scenario for what we feel is going to help our club in September.”

For the time being, though, Cowser and Krehbiel get the call. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network first reported the move.

Cowser’s return comes after an inauspicious beginning to his major league career. The 2021 first-round pick excelled in Triple-A, where he holds a .963 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, but he appeared to press at the plate during his initial at-bats for the Orioles.

In 26 games, Cowser hit .115 with two extra-base hits. He was optioned in early August.

Krehbiel has more major league experience out of the bullpen but has been relegated to a shuttle role, moving back and forth between Triple-A and Baltimore. He’s only thrown 1 2/3 innings this season for the Orioles after pitching 57 2/3 innings last year with a 3.90 ERA. He’s excelled for the Tides, though, with a 2.75 ERA in 36 innings this season.

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Later on, Means, Wells and Hicks could be in the mix. Hicks joined midway through the season after the New York Yankees released him, and he has found his form. In 43 games for Baltimore, Hicks is hitting .261. He figures to be in the outfield mix once healthy — potentially at the expense of Cowser or Ryan McKenna.

Wells has experience pitching out of the bullpen, and his heavy usage as a starter this year prompted a demotion to the minors for a lightened workload. Before his demotion, Wells was one of the Orioles’ most reliable arms despite a habit of allowing the long ball. He could help in late-game situations, particularly with closer Félix Bautista sidelined with an ulnar collateral ligament injury.

Should Means also find his way onto the roster, his role would be interesting. He’s a starter by trade and, unlike Wells, he doesn’t have bullpen experience. Yet his experience could serve Baltimore in multiple ways.

All of those roster machinations are yet to come. For the time being, Cowser and Krehbiel are the extra players for a first-place team making a final push toward October.

andy.kostka@thebaltimorebanner.com

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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