The Orioles needed a starter today - well, they need one for every game, but a fifth starter wasn’t required until today - and manager Buck Showalter chose Dana Eveland over Tommy Hunter or a minor league call up.
What should we read into it?
Well, the Indians are much weaker against left-handers, so Showalter lined up three of them in this four-game series. And he wanted a right-hander to back them in long relief in case of an early exit, and Hunter is capable of doing it. He’s been stretched out. He should be able to eat up some innings.
Whether this is a temporary assignment has yet to be explained. Maybe it hasn’t been determined. But Hunter isn’t listed among the upcoming starters.
Brian Matusz closes out the series tomorrow, and the three-game set in Seattle features Jason Hammel on Monday, Wei-Yin Chen on Tuesday and Jake Arrieta on Wednesday.
It may not be written in stone, but it’s printed out in the game notes.
Hunter suddenly has been put on the Kevin Gregg plan. He allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings at Citi Field on June 19 and didn’t pitch again until going two innings in relief on Wednesday against the Angels.
The Orioles don’t have another open date on their scheduled until the All-Star break. The rotation can be adjusted again when play resumes. Will Hunter be in it? Will he still be on the roster?
Showalter doesn’t plan on keeping a three-man bench. Another position player could be added after the weekend. Hunter is vulnerable.
Then again, Eveland could be one and done in the rotation. This is a spot start. Let’s see what he does with it. And let’s see whether the Orioles finally decide to give Chris Tillman another chance or bring back Miguel Gonzalez, who continues to impress at Triple-A Norfolk and would have been working on normal rest today if Showalter had chosen him for the assignment.
Hunter is 3-4 with a 5.67 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 14 games this season. He’s allowed 19 home runs in 79 1/3 innings.
We know that much about him. What the future holds for him isn’t nearly as clear.