CLEVELAND - The Orioles will be making another roster move later today in Toronto with outfielder Adam Jones coming off the bereavement list, Mark Trumbo headed to the disabled list with inflammation in his right knee and Joey Rickard optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Outfielder John Andreoli, claimed off waivers Saturday from the Mariners, will be Trumbo’s replacement and become the latest player to make his Orioles debut in 2018 unless he’s glued to the bench.
Andreoli batted .287/.397/.401 with 18 doubles, five triples, three home runs, 36 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 89 games with Triple-A Tacoma.
The Orioles have made past attempts to claim Andreoli and finally got him over the weekend. He’s viewed as a guy who can move around the outfield in a reserve-type role similar to Rickard and Craig Gentry.
Andreoli was optioned after the Orioles claimed him, but he’s eligible to join the major league roster because he’s replacing an injured player. Otherwise, he’d have to stay down the minimum 10 days.
Andreoli was supposed to report to Norfolk today, but the plan changed.
Before Trumbo’s knee flared up again and Andreoli’s pending arrival, the continued employment of a three-man bench would have left Rickard or Gentry as the corresponding move for Jones. Jace Peterson is needed in a utility role.
Gentry came off the disabled list Friday as Jones’ replacement, but he’s out of options and would have to be designated for assignment, clear waivers and accept an outright - which has happened in the past.
Though he offers speed and defense, Gentry may not have worked his way to trade chip status.
Rickard can return in 10 days or when rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Trumbo said the knee was good for one day last week, but otherwise he’s been hurting and doesn’t want to impact the club negatively with his lack of mobility. He feels bad about costing teammates RBIs by his slower pace on the basepaths.
* It’s easy to overlook what happened yesterday after Melky Cabrera’s grand slam off Sean Gilmartin, but the rest of the bullpen tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Ryan Meisinger needed one pitch to get a double play that ended the fifth. Ohio native Tanner Scott struck out the side in the sixth. Cody Carroll tossed a scoreless seventh with a strikeout and left-hander Paul Fry retired the side in order in the eighth with a strikeout.
Eight of Fry’s 10 pitches were strikes and his ERA fell to 3.00.
Fry warmed in the seventh inning Saturday as Alex Cobb tried to maneuver out of a jam in the quest for his fourth career complete game. Cabrera grounded into a double play and Fry sat down as Cobb returned for the eighth, with closer Mychal Givens getting loose just in case. Cobb retired the last seven batters in a 4-2 win.
There’s the trust factor with Fry, who would have gotten the call in a tight game.
Manager Buck Showalter thinks Fry could fit into next season’s bullpen, judging by the impression made over 20 games and the left-hander’s work in Triple-A. There have been rough stretches, with Fry scored upon in four of five outings earlier this month, but he’s been solid in back-to-back appearances. His ERA was 0.84 on July 22.
“He’s athletic,” Showalter said. “He’s not afraid. His command is almost pinpoint sometimes and then it kind of gets away from him and he has trouble getting a feel for the zone. But I think you’ll see a lot of that kind of calm down as he kind of rubs some of the anxiety off of being here.”
* Reliever Evan Phillips lasted only four appearances before the Orioles returned him to Norfolk with a 21.60 ERA and 3.00 WHIP, but he was quick to pick up on an issue that’s hounded the club most of the season.
“When it comes to the game play, the team we have, I think we have talent here,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of players and we’ve shown that we can get it done on a day-to-day basis. It’s just a matter of putting pieces together all on the same day. Some days we hit and don’t pitch, some days we pitch and don’t hit. It’s just the way baseball works sometimes. It’s been that way all year.
“I think the last couple months, we have a great opportunity to show what we can do going forward.”
Phillips could return as part of an expanded September roster, if not sooner depending on the needs of the club.
“I feel like I’ve been hit and miss during my innings,” he said. “I’ll have good batters, I’ll have bad batters and that’s pitching. How are you going to make your adjustments? I need to be more pitch to pitch, be able to make adjustments pitch to pitch instead of batter to batter, inning to inning and so on.
“Part of being in the big leagues and getting big league hitters out is being able to make adjustments on the go and being able to make them pitch to pitch.”
* Is it too early to talk about utility players in 2019?
A three-man bench makes it a requirement for the utility guy to handle infield and outfield. Peterson has done it for the Orioles this season and he’s made a solid impression on Showalter. But the organization has been grooming Steve Wilkerson for a super utility role, instructing him to play the outfield in the instructional league while serving his suspension and introducing him to catching gear.
Wilkerson is playing at Double-A Bowie on an injury rehab assignment and still shaking off the rust at the plate. The Orioles want to get another look at him this season.