The Orioles are close to a minor league deal with Harvey; Elias on the pitch, waiver wire, Rutschman

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Orioles are set to sign veteran right-hander Matt Harvey to a minor league contract, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias confirmed in a video conference call Thursday.

Harvey, who led the Orioles with 28 starts last season, was 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA, faces possible suspension from Major League Baseball for his testimony in the former’s lawsuit. Los Angeles Angels communications director Eric Kay.

Kay was convicted of supplying fentanyl to Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, which resulted in his death. Harvey, who testified under immunity, admitted that he supplied Skaggs with opioids. Harvey also admitted to using cocaine with the New York Mets.

“It’s true that we worked on a minor league deal with Matt,” Elias said. “Obviously it’s a very unique situation at the moment with everything he’s been involved in that has come to light over the winter. From our perspective, he’s done a lot to help us out. last year. I know his stat line wasn’t the greatest, but the innings he pitched, the luck he got, and I think the most important thing for us, the pro and the teammate that he was and who helped us through a very difficult season was something we wanted to recover.

“We think he could give us depth, and maybe he could help us, and he was unlocking some things after injury. Obviously he’s in the situation that he’s been in. finds at the moment because of things off the pitch, but getting to know him last year, understanding his approach to what’s going on, our view is that was something that shouldn’t prevent prevent him to have another chance in this organization, especially with the way he did last year. We’ll see where that leads.

News that the Orioles were close to a deal with Harvey was first reported by Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

Pitch plan: Elias said the decision to carry 14 pitchers, instead of 15, was because the Orioles wanted to have multiple pitchers who could throw multiple innings as tandem starters.

“April is going to be tough,” Elias said. “John Means and Jordan Lyles and those guys, they just got to the point of getting into this four or five inning work quarter. We also have Tyler Wells in the rotation now, who looked great in the spring. We have high hopes for him as a long-term starting pitcher in the major leagues.

“After a year of short-lived relief, post-pandemic and rehab from Tommy John, it will take him a while to get his legs under him and stretch him responsibly, and then we have a whole host of long men, loose starters who have carried the load for us, up and down since Triple-A last year, who have yet to firmly establish themselves as major league starting pitchers, and we want to continue to see these guys.

“All of that combined, we kind of came up with a plan to put a bunch of long guys in the bullpen, and [manager Brandon Hyde] will have guys on hand every day to get the starter back, so we’re not asking the starter to go too far in the game to jeopardize their long-term health over the course of the season.

Elias said pitchers Kyle Bradish and DL Hall pitched Thursday at Twin Lakes Park. Bradish will then pitch at Triple-A Norfolk. Hall will stay at Sarasota as he missed most of last season with an elbow injury.

The plan is for Hall, who has pitched just one inning in Grapefruit League play, to rack up four or five innings before being sent to an affiliate.

“We’ll probably start it at a lower level than we would otherwise start to come out of injury, which is typical practice,” Elias said.

Unlike previous spring training where he made several waiver requests, Elias made none this spring.

“It’s definitely the time of year when the waiver thread gets interesting, and we’ll be keeping an eye on it,” he said.

Elias said there’s nothing new about receiver Adley Rutschman, who missed spring training with a strained right triceps muscle. Rutschman had “an inside track” to make the team, Elias said.

“We still have a few benchmarks to check before sending it to an affiliate,” Elias said.

To note: The Orioles traded minor league shortstop Mason McCoy to the Seattle Mariners for cash.

Call for questions: I will be answering questions from the Orioles in the next few days. Please email your questions to: [email protected].

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