No trades imminent as another deadline approaches

I woke up this morning with 4,000 Twitter followers.

No wonder I didn't get any of the covers.

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told me yesterday that he isn't close to making any deals before tomorrow's deadline for contending teams to set their playoff rosters.

You know how things can change with one phone call, so don't read too much into it. However, something new would have to develop within the next day. Nothing is percolating.

I've heard that the usual suspects have passed through waivers. One report on Twitter yesterday included relievers Michael Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg.

Players must pass through waivers before they can be dealt. A player that's claimed can be pulled back.

It's also worth noting that trades can happen after Sept. 1, but those players can't be added to the playoff roster.

What contender couldn't use Gonzalez?

Now there's a sentence I didn't imagine typing a few months ago.

Gonzalez has held opponents to a .122 average in 12 1/3 innings during a scoreless streak that's reached 13 straight appearances. He hasn't allowed a run in 18 of his last 19 outings.

Give me a list of left-hander relievers who are throwing better than Gonzo right now.

Asked last night what has triggered Gonzalez's hot spell, manager Buck Showalter replied, "Strikes. Plus, a lot of times, if you're good, you can't hold it down forever. He pitched pretty well the last part of the season last year. And he's around the plate a lot more, throwing a lot of pitches for strikes - changeup and the breaking ball.

"You can tell he's got a good look in his eye and a good tempo. And just a real aggressive, athletic approach. And I think he feels real good physically, too. We've been pretty careful with all our pitchers from a health standpoint. He's in a good place right now."

Rosters can expand Thursday. The Orioles aren't providing any names, but I wouldn't expect a lot of new faces in the clubhouse.

Two strong possibilities are pitchers Chris Tillman and Zach Phillips, who wouldn't require a corresponding 40-man roster move. Infielders Josh Bell, Brandon Snyder and Blake Davis could return.

Teams usually add a third catcher, but Jake Fox is already here.

The most likely non-roster candidates are pitchers Rick VandenHurk - who's allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his last three starts - and Jeremy Accardo, but that's far from a given.

"First of all, we've already called up a lot of them. They're here playing, so that kind of slows down the numbers," Showalter said.

"You wait for injuries, as far as (Cesar) Izturis and Chris Davis and Jason Berken. We'll see what happens with Brian Roberts. Andy (MacPhail) and I talked (Sunday) with John Stockstill with the minor leagues and we've got our arms around the numbers, but we're not going to just have someone sit around here, even though there might be a pitcher who comes up to work on the side and continue working on some things.

"I don't think we'll see a huge number, but that could change."

I don't expect it to change.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell will miss the three-game series at Camden Yards because of pneumonia. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu will handle Farrell's duties.

Showalter wanted Wakamatsu on his staff. The Blue Jays wanted him badly enough to pay him manager's money, which is now appropriate.

The Orioles haven't made an error in their last eight games, a span of 72 consecutive innings.

Did you wonder what happened to former Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate?

He's busy accumulating 32 saves in 49 games for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Sarfate is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in 52 2/3 innings, with 29 hits, 11 walks, 74 strikeouts and only two home runs.

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