Expanded thoughts on the September roster

Though the Orioles can’t expand their roster until Sept. 1, I’ve been asked to speculate on possible call-ups.

As you know, I often take requests. Coming up next, I’ll play “Free Bird.”

No one can offer up a list of call-ups without taking into account how the Orioles’ needs may change if they acquire a player from outside the organization. And how a few players that I mention could make it here before Sept. 1. And how the 40-man roster can factor into the decisions. And how manager Buck Showalter may not want a crowded clubhouse and bench. And how Showalter will try not to overly disrupt an affiliate that’s in the playoffs.

Stuff like that.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that the Orioles don’t add anyone else before rosters expand. I think it’s going to happen, but today we’ll work off the assumption that they stand pat.

Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada will be recalled, and infielder Wilson Betemit will come off the disabled list and join him as long as he doesn’t experience any setbacks in his recovery from a torn PCL in his right knee. Betemit could make it here sooner, of course. Henry Urrutia will be back and Jason Hammel eventually will come off the disabled list.

Infielder Danny Valencia has been on the Triple-A shuttle this year and he’s expected to be recalled today. He’s 7-for-10 lifetime against left-hander David Price, who starts tonight for the Rays. If he’s optioned again before Aug. 31, he figures to be part of the expanded roster.

The Orioles always bring up an extra catcher, which bodes well for local product Steve Clevenger, who is on the 40-man roster.

I also would expect the Orioles to take a look at infielder Jonathan Schoop, who could compete for the second base job in spring training. And Kevin Gausman’s innings are being monitored closely so that he’s available to the Orioles in September and possibly October.

I’m quite confident in those eight names. Book ‘em. I’m also adding pitchers Josh Stinson and Steve Johnson, which now takes us up to 10.

Again, this all hinges on the above mentioned players being in the minors.

Now here’s where it gets difficult, not knowing how far the Orioles want to stretch their roster. Do left-handers Zach Britton and Mike Belfiore get another opportunity?

Infielder Alex Liddi also is on the 40-man roster. And Showalter may want to reward outfielder Jason Pridie, who is not.

Outfielder Xavier Avery is batting .237 at Norfolk, and he needed two hits last night to lift his average. I don’t like his chances, but others think he could come up as a pinch-runner.

I’ll rerun Showalter’s quote from yesterday on compiling the list of call-ups.

“We haven’t gotten that far,” Showalter said. “There’s a lot of variables there. I don’t think there’s anybody there that we would call up just to look at that couldn’t help us. Try to mesh those two things. Somebody that might fit in the future plans, but also could help us some.

“I have looked at it a little bit. After the game’s over and everybody’s gone, kind of look at the board and seeing where we are, but Dan and I haven’t really compared notes yet. We’ve really got some information yet to be gathered. See how certain people’s health is, see who might benefit more from being, say, in the instructional league as opposed to being here sitting around. There might even be a contractual obligation on a couple about call-ups in order to keep them here. We have to keep that in mind. I think there’s one or two, if I remember right. If they’re still with us.”

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