Another day passed without Edwin Jackson having his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk, but he’s heading to Baltimore later today. The club is adding him to the bullpen, according to a source.
It’s been a process.
Jackson was in Gwinnett last night and didn’t pitch in a 4-3 victory. Tyler Wilson worked the first six innings, left-hander Lucas Luetge earned the win with a scoreless seventh and Jimmy Yacabonis covered the last two innings for his seventh save while lowering his ERA to 0.90.
The Orioles will be Jackson’s 12th major league team. But who’s counting?
There are people in the organization who are convinced that Jackson is ready to contribute and creating a spot for him shouldn’t be an issue. It wasn’t unanimous, but the Orioles reached a point where they no longer could wait.
The risk was that another team would offer Jackson a major league deal and he’d be allowed to leave. He already extended his opt-out date a few extra days.
Jackson has a 3.10 ERA in 12 appearances with Norfolk covering 20 1/3 innings. He’s surrendered seven runs and 20 hits, walked 10 batters and struck out 17.
Jackson hasn’t allowed a run or walked a batter in his last three appearances over 5 2/3 innings. He hasn’t pitched since Saturday.
It became obvious on Sunday that Jackson’s return to the majors was nearing. The Orioles outrighted left-hander Paul Fry to open a spot on the 40-man roster. They didn’t do it on a whim.
The Orioles are gauging trade interest in Ubaldo Jiménez, but that’s nothing new. They almost had a deal with the Padres last summer that would have brought outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. to Baltimore, but it fell through for monetary reasons and he was sent to the Blue Jays.
There are optionable relievers in the bullpen, but removing Jiménez obviously would solve a couple of issues.
Manager Buck Showalter can’t shy away from using Jiménez and run the risk of burning out other relievers. He knows that it takes Jiménez longer to get loose, but the game doesn’t always allow for an extended warmup. And Jiménez can be a slow starter, even in his current role.
Jiménez warmed in the seventh inning last night, but Donnie Hart escaped a bases-loaded jam.
Pedro Álvarez was in Norfolk’s lineup again last night and had a double and RBI. Still no major league offer for him despite the hot bat.
Reliever Darren O’Day had allowed one run in his last eight appearances before issuing a two-out walk last night in the eighth inning and getting burned by Josh Harrison’s triple.
O’Day is back to feeling good after having what’s been described as a tired shoulder.
“You can tell he is,” Showalter said recently. “He hit 90 mph (Friday) night, which is about as good as you’re going to see. But with Darren, if he’s able to finish pitches, and that was a challenge early where he just felt like he didn’t have that extension that he needs, healthy people pitch better. But some people fight through them that aren’t DL-able injuries. Darren’s that type of guy. But it really allows us to spread the load around and keep everybody healthy.
“We don’t have any pitchers in the league leaders in appearances and that’s by design. We just can’t put our guys in harm’s way.”
As for tonight’s game at Camden Yards, Wade Miley is 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates, including a 1.500 WHIP in 19 1/3 innings. He’s allowed 16 runs (15 earned) and 23 hits in 19 1/3 innings.
Miley has a recent past with the Pirates, facing them on June 29, 2016 with the Mariners and surrendering five runs and seven hits in four innings in an 8-1 loss in Seattle.
Andrew McCutchen is only 2-for-14 (.143) with a double against Miley and Harrison is 2-for-13 (.154) with a double. David Freese is 4-for-12 (.333) with a home run and Jordy Mercer is 4-for-9 (.444) with a double.
The Orioles haven’t faced Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl, a ninth-round pick in 2013 out of the University of Delaware. He’s 1-5 with a 6.02 ERA in 11 starts, including a 1.581 WHIP in 49 1/3 innings. He hasn’t gone more than five innings in his last eight starts.
Left-handers are batting .343 against Kuhl this year and .320 in his two seasons in the majors. He’s kept right-handers at a .240 average this year and in his career.
Kuhl is 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.893 WHIP in seven home starts this season and 0-2 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.172 WHIP in four road starts.
Adam Jones is a career .322 hitter (19-for-59) in 14 games against the Pirates.
The Sun first reported that the Orioles were selecting Jackson’s contract.