It’s finally stopped raining at Camden Yards and the tarp is off the field. For how long is a different matter.
If tonight’s game is postponed - and I’m saying if - they won’t play a doubleheader on Saturday. That much is a certainty. But let’s just assume that they get this one in tonight.
“That seems to have been minor in nature,” said manager Buck Showalter.
One reason the Orioles recalled Josh Stinson on Wednesday was to provide insurance in case Miguel Gonzalez couldn’t start last night because of back spasms. Gonzalez is fine and Stinson is back at Triple-A Norfolk, where he’s starting tonight.
“We want to keep Stinson on task, on turn, and not let him get too far from having a ball in his hand,” Showalter said. “He’s coming off two or three really good starts, and we don’t want him sitting around up here waiting for somebody to fail before he comes in and pitches. And there was a bullpen game going on tonight (in Norfolk), and we just felt like it would be good for him.”
The Orioles chose to select the contract of Tides closer Jairo Asencio today.
Asencio has held Triple-A hitters to a .174 average, limiting left-handers to a .484 OPS (.226/.259) and right-handers to a .569 OPS (.218/.351). His unintentional walk rate of 1.19 per nine innings and 7.41 baserunners per nine are the best in the International League.
In three major league seasons with Atlanta (2009, 2011), Cleveland (2012) and the Cubs (2012), Asencio is 1-2 with a 5.23 ERA in 39 games. The Pirates originally signed him as an amateur free agent in 2001. He’s wearing No. 63.
“Asencio has been pitching well all year down there and we want to get a look at him and get a feel for what we have there before the end of the month, which, you know what that is,” Showalter said, referring to the non-waiver trade deadline. “Make sure there’s something we’re going to need there that he can’t provide from within. So kind of accomplish two things. And we had roster space. Created it. It’s something we felt like we could do.
“I like the way Ron (Johnson) and Griff (Mike Griffin) describe what he’s doing and the repertoire that has the potential to play up here. We’ll see. We’ve got some people here who know him from before.”
The Orioles created that 40-man space by designating Jair Jurrjens for assignment.
“It’s just kind of where we are,” Showalter said. “Dan (Duquette) has a constant pecking order if we need room, and (Russ) Canzler and him were there. A lot of it is based on what our people are telling us below, too.
“He could end up back with us. I think we’ve got seven starters down there now. At his young age, I still wouldn’t close the door. I think Jair still has a chance to pitch competitively up here. He’s shown periods down there. It’s just been inconsistent, like with (Tsuyoshi) Wada. Sometimes, the physical part of it takes a while to come. Somebody could be holding the golden goose when it hits. It’s all about timing sometimes.”
Brian Roberts is leading off for the first time since July 1, 2012. He’s a career .302 hitter in 43 at-bats against Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle.
“It’s a better matchup for us,” Showalter said. “You’re talking about a team that’s been carrying eight pitchers for a while - four right, four left. I’m sure they and we feel like Buehrle is capable of pitching nine innings, but it presents the best challenge to their type of bullpen. Also, to be able to spread certain things out and give them different looks.
“John Russell and I came down to a couple (lineups), like we do every day, and that one had the best feel to it. And he’s done it before. It’s not some new territory for him. It’s a better fit for us tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Showalter is amused by the media’s obsession over the possibility that Wei-Yin Chen will be optioned during the break, which would allow the left-hander to make a start before returning to the Orioles. He’s asked about it daily.
A reporter asked Showalter a few days ago if it could happen, and the manager answered in the affirmative, saying it was one of the options. It also could happen to Gonzalez.
“There are a lot of things that are a consideration,” Showalter said. “I just tried to answer it frankly. We weren’t looking to do it and didn’t want to do it and hope that our pitching was such that we didn’t have to do it. If something happens Friday or Saturday and we need some arms, that’s the way to get it.
“I’m just saying it’s an option. We hope that we don’t have to consider it.”
For the Blue Jays
Jose Reyes SS
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Adam Lind DH
Colby Rasmus CF
Rajai Davis LF
J.P. Arencibia C
Mark DeRosa 3B
Munenori Kawasaki 2B
Mark Buehrle LHP