When the Orioles dealt for right-hander Jack Flaherty at the trade deadline, they touted his track record as a veteran pitcher who can cover many innings. He’s thrown nearly 200 before in a season, and he’s well versed in the rigors of a postseason chase.
But Flaherty was scratched from his start Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays because, in his own words, he didn’t “bounce back” from his most recent outing. During his Tuesday throwing program, Flaherty said he “just didn’t quite feel right,” and the decision was made to skip his start and move right-hander Dean Kremer up a day.
Flaherty didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “bounce back” — a term he used five times in a scrum with reporters — but manager Brandon Hyde offered a description.
“He has general soreness that normally goes away between starts,” Hyde said, “and we feel like we want to be a little bit precautionary with him and let him not make his start today.”
The Orioles did not offer a timetable for when Flaherty will pitch next.
Baltimore has moved to a six-man rotation in part to alleviate stress on starting pitchers. Kremer was available to pitch a day early because he was on what would be normal rest in a five-man rotation. Still, the Orioles had to check whether Kremer’s amended throwing program would allow for him to feature Wednesday.
Flaherty has pitched three times for Baltimore since the trade, the first of which came against the Blue Jays in Toronto. He allowed one run in six innings with eight strikeouts in that start, then gave up three runs in five innings in a loss to the Houston Astros.
Flaherty’s most recent start last week — in which he lasted three innings with seven runs to his line — has carried over into this week.
“Just sometimes you don’t bounce back the way you want to and you just try to make the right decision of making sure that you feel right. Sometimes after starts, you just don’t bounce back the way you want to,” Flaherty said. “Just in general. I’m not going to get into specifics. … I mean, you want to take the ball every time out. It’s just one of those things.”
Without Flaherty for an unknown amount of time, Hyde said he hasn’t decided on a starter for Thursday’s series finale against the Blue Jays. Nor has he announced probable starters for a weekend series against the Colorado Rockies.
There are several starters who are nearing or already past career highs in innings. Right-hander Tyler Wells has moved into a bullpen role in the minors as he prepares to return to the majors. And reliever Mike Baumann was optioned Wednesday so he can experience a lighter workload in the minors so he can return well rested.
“This happens. It’s late August,” Hyde said. “We have a lot of guys in there that are beat up and played a lot of baseball so far, so these are things we just have to roll with and make adjustments and next guy steps up.”