Today’s trade with the Padres served two purposes for the Orioles. It gave them a backup catcher and it distracted from today’s 9-0 loss to the Indians.
Nick Hundley, acquired with cash considerations for left-hander Troy Patton, is expected to be activated for Sunday’s series finale. The Orioles will make a corresponding roster move, most likely optioning Caleb Joseph to Triple-A Norfolk. They also will activate reliever Preston Guilmet from the taxi squad and place first baseman Chris Davis on paternity leave.
“(Hundley) gets here, I’ll sit down with him and we’ll talk a little bit,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We’ve obviously done a lot of work on him, just like they’ve done on Troy. Troy did a lot of good things for us here. It’s kind of tough parting with someone you’ve been around that long. A good teammate, good friend to a lot of guys, but there’s a need that, him being wanted somewhere, could potentially serve.”
Hundley is an insurance policy if Matt Wieters undergoes season-ending surgery on his right elbow.
“We still hope Matt doesn’t need anything,” Showalter said. “Next Wednesday is the three-week mark. I was kidding Matt today. He comes off the DL the day after tomorrow. I said, ‘We’ve got a shot.’ Of course not. But we’ll see.
“Until we get through with some of the moves in the morning. We’ll probably bring Guilmet back for Chris. We wish he and Jill good luck tomorrow. And then we have to make room for Hundley. We’ve got to make sure he makes the flight and gets on the ground before we go all the way down that road. Obviously, we’ll have to make room for him, too. But how much he’s going to catch and all that, I’ve got a pretty good idea going into it.
“You guys are smart. You’ve always got to prepare for what-if. We think Caleb and Steve (Cleenger) have done a capable job. We like Brian Ward down below. He’s having a good year. And (Michael) Ohlman is learning his trade. But they had a surplus there. I believe they were carrying three catchers. Dan (Duquette) and their front office figured out a way to make it work in a lot of different areas. We were fortunate to get it done, I hope.”
Patton was in the organization since 2007.
“It’s tough,” Showalter said, “but it’s like I told him, ‘The good news is you’re going to a great city in San Diego. You’re leaving a great city, but good pitcher’s ballpark and National League.’ If you’ve got to go somewhere other than Baltimore, you know, San Diego...
“They have a need and they like him, just like we did. We had a need that he helped us serve. It’s a little emotional, both of us. There are some tough goodbyes. You’re never prepared for it, but it came together yesterday and this morning, so that’s always a tough call in.”
Ubaldo Jimenez had a tough afternoon, lasting four-plus innings and being charged with five runs. He walked five batters and threw 99 pitches while falling to 2-6 with a 4.98 ERA.
The issue in his last two starts?
“His command,” Showalter said. “He’s working with a lot of borderline pitches as you all probably saw that didn’t quite go his way. I think that turned quite a lot of counts around. The walks hurt him. He was up to 50 pitches in the second inning. You knew it wasn’t going to be a very long outing. It’s frustrating. Stuff-wise, he’s in pretty good shape.”
It remains a challenge for Jimenez to repeat his complicated delivery.
“It’s kind of been like that his whole career,” Showalter said. “You like it when it’s in sync, and it was very close to that today. But it’s a big difference between 2-1 and 1-2. We haven’t done a very good job lately of using some counts in our favor. You’ve seen some 1-2 and 0-2 walks. What did we walk, five guys today, something like that? You’re not going to win too many games with that.”