Unless the Orioles throw us a curveball later today or reverse field like Marcus Allen, they’re going to activate third baseman Tim Beckham from the disabled list as the latest adjustment to their 25-man roster.
Beckham hasn’t played since April 23. He underwent core muscle surgery that involved repairing tears on both sides of his groin.
(This blog doesn’t come with illustrations. You’re welcome.)
The Orioles are down to a three-man bench as they return to American League competition and could choose to option left-hander Donnie Hart to Triple-A Norfolk. Manager Buck Showalter would like to carry eight relievers, which seems to be the trend, but which position player could be subtracted?
Need a backup catcher. Need Jace Peterson as the utility player. Need Craig Gentry as an extra outfielder with Joey Rickard at Norfolk. Danny Valencia can back up at the corner infield spots, play the outfield if in a bind and is batting .282 with a .348 on-base percentage.
Space also must be cleared for Beckham on the 40-man roster. Infielder Luis Sardiñas could be transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
You’re forgiven if you forgot about him.
Pitcher Gabriel Ynoa remains on the 60-day disabled list. He had shin splints that interrupted his spring training, went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and apparently had a setback over the weekend regarding the shin splints.
Pick an injury, Gabriel, and stick with it.
Chris Tillman remains on the 10-day DL and is scheduled to make his second rehab start tonight, moving from short-season Single-A Aberdeen to low Single-A Delmarva.
The Orioles want assurances that his back is fine and he can get hitters out. They can’t stretch him out if he lasts only two innings, as he did in his first start, which was slated to go three.
Tillman retired the side in order in the second on eight pitches, but the first inning was brutal. Three runs, two hits, two walks, two wild pitches and 35 pitches thrown.
Tillman is supposed to join Norfolk for his third start.
The Orioles haven’t faced former Cy Young winner Félix Hernández since July 25, 2014, when he held them to one run over seven innings and struck out 10 batters in a 2-1 loss. He hasn’t pitched at Camden Yards since May 11, 2011, when he allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings in a 4-2 loss, but he returns tonight with the Mariners.
Hernández has made 16 starts against the Orioles and gone 5-4 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.389 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings. He’s 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and 1.443 WHIP in seven starts in Baltimore over 43 2/3 innings.
Colby Rasmus is 7-for-12 (.583) with a double against Hernández. Adam Jones is 9-for-29 (.310) with a triple. Mark Trumbo has hit three home runs in 39 at-bats and should return to the lineup tonight after pinch-hitting yesterday and delivering a two-run shot..
Valencia is 3-for-25 (.120) with 10 strikeouts against Hernández.
Andrew Cashner was headed toward his finest start with the Orioles until a lengthy rain delay in D.C. forced him out of the game after four scoreless innings. He’s 2-4 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.388 WHIP in nine career games (eight starts) against the Mariners over 49 innings.
Nelson Cruz returns to Baltimore for another reminder that the club made a mistake by failing to offer him a fourth year in free agency. He’s batting .274 with a .931 OPS and 20 home runs - going 10-for-16 with two doubles, a triple, two homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored in his last four games - and is 6-for-13 (.462) with three doubles and a home run lifetime against Cashner.
Kyle Seager is 7-for-21 (.333) with two home runs against Cashner, Denard Span is 7-for-22 (.318) and Jean Segura is 8-for-26 (.308).
Mike Wright Jr.’s three scoreless innings yesterday lowered his ERA to 5.36. It was 9.15 back on May 12 after a doubleheader at Camden Yards.
Only two of the 12 outings since then have been clean. He’s allowed 24 hits and walked 12 batters in 21 1/3 innings. But he’s been charged with only four runs in that span.
“We never close the door on the potential for a starter,” he said. “Where we are right now in the system, you really want to leave Yacabonis, Ramirez, and I don’t want to mention a whole lot of names down below. You really want to leave them alone. So, most of our fifth starters are going to come from here, whether it’s Hess or a Mike Wright or even a (Miguel) Castro is really going to come from here right now.
“We really want to leave some people alone down there.”