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Kremer returns to Orioles rotation after six-week absence

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After having three starting pitchers undergo season-ending elbow surgeries in the last month, the Orioles hope to be adding some stability back to their rotation.

Prior to Wednesday’s tilt in Seattle, Baltimore activated right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer from the 15-day injured list to make his first start since May 20. The 28-year-old had been sidelined with a right triceps strain after pitching to a 4.32 ERA over his first nine starts covering 50 innings this season. In three rehab starts, Kremer allowed 11 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings, but the Orioles have deemed him healthy and ready to return to major league action.

To make room for Kremer on the 26-man roster, left-handed reliever Nick Vespi was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

The only Baltimore pitcher to log at least 125 innings in both the 2022 and 2023 campaigns, Kremer will try to help solidify a rotation that’s faced plenty of questions behind top starters Corbin Burnes and Grayson Rodriguez. Since Kremer made his last start with the Orioles, John Means and Kyle Bradish went down with season-ending elbow injuries while it was revealed that Tyler Wells — who hadn’t pitched since mid-April — would also need season-ending elbow surgery.

It remains unclear who will be replaced by the returning Kremer if the Orioles stick to a five-man rotation, but veteran lefty Cole Irvin has struggled immensely over his last four starts, surrendering 17 earned runs and 29 hits over 18 innings. Of course, Kremer’s return isn’t expected to curtail calls for general manager Mike Elias to add an impact starting pitcher before this month’s trade deadline.

The Game 3 starter in last October’s AL Division Series, Kremer went 13-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 32 starts covering 172 2/3 innings last season. He posted a career-best 3.23 ERA over 125 1/3 innings two years ago to establish himself as a member of the major league rotation.

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