Notes on Schoop and Giavotella (O’s down 8-0)

Jonathan Schoop is making his second start and third appearance at shortstop today, with Johnny Giavotella playing second base in the series finale.

Schoop-Throws-Knee-Black-Side.jpgAs I wrote this morning, Giavotella is 4-for-8 lifetime against Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana.

“I want to get Johnny in there,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “He’s only second base, so to get him in there and to not sit Jon, unless you DH him, which moves another guy, (Mark) Trumbo in right field and moves another player around that you don’t want to do. But I think Jon’s capable. He’s handled it the last time well. I know he looks forward to it.

“It’s probably the least disruptive of places where people have played. And with the shifts and stuff we play, he’s basically been playing shortstop all year in a lot of ways. A lot of properties of a shortstop.

“Like most guys in the infield, they all start out that way. And we know he’s got plenty of arm strength. We’ll see. Only one way to find out if Steve Pearce can play second base, right? But it’s a really good pitcher and we’re going to have to take advantage of Johnny’s hitting a little bit. I don’t want him sitting around too long. And he has shown the ability to hit up here. Everywhere he’s been, really.”

The Orioles could have pitchers Mike Wright, Stefan Crichton and Hunter Harvey on the Gulf Coast League team this week.

Crichton already has made two appearances on his injury rehab assignment. Wright joins him Monday and Harvey is expected to do so on Wednesday.

The Orioles decided to stick with their current bullpen rather than call up a pitcher from the minors. They’ve become a little more intrigued by Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Richard Rodriguez, 27, who’s 4-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 27 games over 53 1/3 innings. He’s allowed only three home runs, walked 14 batters and struck out 54, and opponents are batting .211.

Rodriguez has a 0.98 ERA in his last 10 games, with four walks and 21 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.

“He’s been hurt some, but he’s pitched well for the last month,” Showalter said.

Rodriguez, a non-roster invite to spring training, also posted a 2.53 ERA in 48 games last season.

Showalter talked about the positive reports on Matt Wotherspoon, 25, who was acquired from the Yankees on July 2 for international signing bonus slots. He’s allowed one run and one hit in 4 2/3 innings with Norfolk.

“I like him,” Showalter said. “I was watching on him this morning.”

Miguel Castro, 22, has earned praise from Showalter for his arm, attitude and ability to pitch after a short amount of rest. He’s staying in the bullpen for now, but like Richard Bleier, there has been talk of stretching him out to be a rotation candidate.

“Sure. That’s what we were doing down below, because it would help us with the ability to use him like that, but it was more about his development,” Showalter said. “He’s a young man. There are a lot of things I like about him. He’s engaged, he’s a student of the game. You first meet him and everything, you see a guy who may give you some prior prejudices of what you think he might be about and it’s just the opposite.

“He watches every pitch, he’s competitive, he’s not scared, he likes to compete. He brings a lot of intangibles that play up here. Where that shakes out is going to be interesting to watch. He’s got a third pitch.”

Castro probably stays in a relief role through the remainder of the season.

“That need seems to have been as strong as the other,” Showalter said.

Update: Ubaldo Jiménez allowed four runs and six hits in a 30-pitch second inning and the Cubs grabbed a 4-0 lead. Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ opened with doubles into left-center field, and Jayson Heyward and Ben Zobrist had RBI singles.

Update II: Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer in the fourth to increase the lead to 6-0. Jimenez has allowed a season-high 10 hits.

Update III: Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer off Darren O’Day in the ninth to increase the lead to 8-0.

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