Notes on rotation, Cervenka, tonight’s game and more

While the Orioles were deciding to start Evan Phillips last night and monitoring the weather in case their rotation plans had to be altered again, they had John Means and Dillon Tate throwing side sessions down in Sarasota to remain options for Wednesday night.

Lots of balls in the air, lots of moving parts.

“We’ve got that well underway,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Trying to make sure that we’re covered there.”

Means and Tate must be protected in the Rule 5 draft and eventually will be placed on the 40-man roster, which currently is full. They no longer have anyone on the 10-day disabled list who can be transferred to the 60-day.

Catcher Andrew Susac was taken off the restricted list and placed on the 40-man, but he’s out for the season with a fractured wrist. He chafed some people in the organization with his decision to leave Triple-A Norfolk and return home after the injury.

Engelb Vielma is on the minor league disabled list after fracturing his kneecap and undergoing surgery. He’d have to be recalled and moved to the 60-day, altering his salary in the process.

Austin Hays underwent surgery last week on his left ankle.

Means or Tate would become the 15th player to make his major league debut this season to set a club record.

* The Orioles re-signed Martin Cervenka to a minor league deal, which became a mere formality because both sides wanted to maintain the relationship.

Cervenka, 26, is expected to join the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League and could compete for the backup job with the Orioles next spring. He’s trying to become the first player from the Czech Republic to reach the majors.

The reports on Cervenka at Double-A Bowie kept praising his work and physical presence behind the plate, how he looked the part. Cervenka also posted career-highs in home runs (15) and RBIs (60).

The Orioles will have some interesting decisions to make regarding their catchers. Do they offer another contract to arbitration-eligible veteran Caleb Joseph after he made $1.25 million this season? Do they go out and sign someone else to a one-year deal or minor league deal with a spring invite?

Chance Sisco broke camp with the team this spring but was optioned twice. Austin Wynns has impressed, but also will have to compete for a roster spot. There isn’t a slam-dunk starter on opening day.

* Dylan Bundy will try to produce back-to-back quality starts tonight as the series continues against the Blue Jays. He rationed the Athletics to two runs over six innings Thursday night for his first quality start since Aug. 4 in Texas.

Bundy-Determined-White-Sidebar.jpgBundy’s made three other starts against the Jays this season and allowed 14 runs and 19 hits with seven home runs over 16 innings. He owns a career 3.63 ERA and 1.084 WHIP in 10 games, including six starts.

Justin Smoak is 5-for-14 with two doubles and a home run against Bundy. Kendrys Morales is 5-for-16 with a double and home run. Devon Travis and Russell Martin are 1-for-11, the latter’s only hit a home run.

Left-handers have a career .282/.344/.492 slash line against Bundy. They’re batting .320/.384/.566 this season.

Aaron Sanchez made two starts in August and allowed 11 runs and 18 hits with four strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. He’s made two starts this month and allowed four runs and nine hits with 14 strikeouts in 13 innings.

Sanchez has started twice against the Orioles and surrendered only three runs in 14 1/3 innings. He’s 6-3 with a 3.87 ERA and 1.487 WHIP in 17 career games (12 starts) over 76 2/3 innings.

Chris Davis is 8-for-23 with two doubles, four home runs, 11 walks and eight strikeouts. Adam Jones is 3-for-31 with a double and home run. Sisco is 3-for-5 with two doubles.

* Does anyone remember how I made left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez my dark horse candidate heading into spring training? Well, he never made it to Baltimore, exercising the opt-out clause in his contract and signing with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball.

I’m told that Rodriguez threw a 99 mph fastball yesterday that’s the fastest ever clocked by a left-hander in Japan.

Rodriguez recorded his first save on Sunday. He’s has a 2.61 ERA, 13 walks and 22 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings.

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