Caught in the middle infield (with Roberts update)

The Orioles finished batting practice and the tarp went back on the field. The sky is threatening. I’m keeping one hand on my wallet.

Just when we thought it was safe to memorize the 25-man roster, the Orioles will alter it again tomorrow afternoon.

They’ll bring up one or two position players from the minors. A middle infielder is needed with Brian Roberts and Cesar Izturis on the disabled list. And it’s possible that Triple-A Norfolk catcher Craig Tatum will be recalled if he’s ready to come off the disabled list. Manager Buck Showalter noted today that Tatum will be activated “shortly.”

The Orioles have a 14-man pitching staff, but that’s temporary. They could send down Troy Patton and Chris Jakubauskas to create room for the position players. It’s not like the two pitchers are required to stay here for a certain number of days.

Heck, Patton is probably thrilled that he’s officially here for one day.

Bringing up Tatum would allow Jake Fox to be used more as a backup at first base, third base and left field. I’m not saying that Tatum is definitely headed to Baltimore. I’m just throwing out his name as one possibility. It wouldn’t surprise me.

So what about the middle infielder?

Pedro Florimon is on the 40-man roster, but he’s not likely to make the jump from Double-A Bowie, where he’s batting .252 with four doubles, a triple, three homers and 14 RBIs in 119 at-bats. He’s committed seven errors in 37 games.

None of the Triple-A candidates are on the 40-man. The Orioles have an open spot, but don’t forget about Alfredo Simon. He’ll be taken off the restricted list on Sunday.

Of course, the Orioles could transfer Izturis to the 60-day disabled list.

Ryan Adams has the best numbers. He’s hitting .302 with 10 doubles, two triples, two homers and eight RBIs in 149 at-bats. He’s committed only four errors at second base.

If I had a vote, and I don’t, I’d raise my hand when Adams’ name was called. He swung the bat well in spring training - .526 average, two homers, eight RBIs and a 1.497 OPS in 19 at-bats - and has worked hard to improve his defense.

Nick Green has eight doubles, five homers and 20 RBIs, but he’s hitting .195 in 128 at-bats. Brendan Harris has eight doubles, a triple, four homers and 14 RBIs, but he’s batting .219 in 146 at-bats.

Blake Davis is a middle infielder who’s also played right field. He’s batting .280 with one double, two homers and eight RBIs in 82 at-bats.

Josh Bell is on the 40-man, but a corner infielder doesn’t enter the conversation here.

Justin Turner would look good in the organization right now, but why go there?

Update: Roberts has officially gone on the seven-day disabled list, so he’s eligible to return Tuesday. Derrek Lee goes on the 15-day DL.

Also, I wanted to add a final thought to the middle infield debate. The Orioles might prefer to keep Adams at Norfolk if he’s going to spend most nights on the bench here. They acquired Harris in the J.J. Hardy trade and signed Green to a minor league deal to compete for utility jobs and provide middle infield depth in the minors.

Update II: Tatum’s expected to come off the disabled list tonight and be available for the Tides. However, it doesn’t sound like the Orioles have any immediate plans to recall him. That’s the word on the street.

The tarp is off the field here and the first pitch is scheduled for 7:50 p.m.

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