6:34pm: Zimmermann’s up, the Orioles announced.
11:44am: The Orioles have designated right-hander Asher Wojciechowski for assignment, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (via Twitter). The team announced the move shortly thereafter, adding that righties Branden Kline and Evan Phillips are up for Game 1 of today’s doubleheader. Phillips is listed as the 29th man for the day.
It seems Wojciechowski’s 40-man roster spot will go to lefty Bruce Zimmermann. Kubatko tweets that Zimmermann is with the team, and MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported last night that Zimmermann was being considered for his MLB debut on Thursday. The Orioles have since announced Zimmerman as the “probable” starter for the second game of today’s twin bill, so a move to formally add him to he roster will be made between the two games.
Acquired from the Indians in exchange for cash last July, Wojciechowski first looked to be a depth option to make a spot start or two but instead wound up holding down a spot on the pitching staff for more than a year. The 31-year-old appeared in 27 games for the O’s — 23 of them starts — and posted a 5.51 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 30.2 percent grounder rate through 119 2/3 innings28. Wojciechowski’s K/BB numbers and swinging-strike rate were solid, but he proved far too susceptible to the long ball, surrendering 28 dingers in that time for an average of 2.11 per nine frames.
The 25-year-old Zimmermann was a fifth-round pick of the Braves back in 2017 but was traded to his hometown Orioles a year later in the deal that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Atlanta. He ranks as Baltimore’s No. 19 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason update and currently sits 25th on FanGraphs’ latest rankings of a much-improved Baltimore farm system. Both BA and FanGraphs list him as a potential back-of-the-rotation starter. Zimmermann sits 90-93 mph with his heater and has three secondary offerings, with his slider considered the best of the bunch.
Zimmermann split the 2019 season between Double-A and Triple-A, pitching to a combined 3.21 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9 and a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate. He’s not the highest-upside arm in the Orioles’ system — far from it — but Zimmermann still has a chance to either pitch at the back of the rotation or out of the bullpen for a good while in Baltimore. The team will control him through at least the 2026 season, though future optional assignments could push back his potential to reach free agency.