SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles have brought back infielder Hanser Alberto, claiming him off waivers this afternoon from the Giants after designating him on Feb. 19 and losing him to a claim three days later.
Donnie Hart has been designated for assignment, leaving four left-hander relievers on the 40-man roster. Hart was scheduled to pitch today against the Rays in a split-squad game.
The Orioles designated Alberto to make room for left-hander Josh Osich on the 40-man and the Giants snagged him. Now he’s headed back to Sarasota and again vying for a utility job. The Orioles originally claimed Alberto off waivers from the Yankees on Jan. 11.
Stuck on the Triple-A shuttle for much of the summer, Hart posted a 5.59 ERA and 2.224 WHIP in 20 appearances with the Orioles. His ERA has climbed from 0.49 as a rookie to 3.71 and 5.59, and his WHIP from 0.982, to 1.397 and 2.224.
Left-handers hit .333 against Hart last summer and right-handers posted a .390 average.
In his only spring inning, Hart retired the side in order with two strikeouts.
Catcher Chance Sisco hit his fourth home run of the spring today, an opposite-field shot off Rays reliever Yonny Chirinos in the second inning to reduce Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-2. Sisco has nine RBIs.
Manager Brandon Hyde had a short hook waiting for starter Alex Cobb, using it after only 23 pitches. Twelve were strikes, the last resulting in a long two-out, two-run homer by Guillermo Heredia that gave Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead.
Cobb faced six batters and threw first-pitch strikes to four of them. Leadoff hitter Austin Meadows walked on four pitches, all of them close, and he scored after singles by Daniel Robertson and Ji-Man Choi.
Mike Zunino popped up with runners on the corners and Kevin Kiermaier grounded into a force to plate Robertson. One more out and Cobb could get back in the dugout.
Heredia launched a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence. The wind is blowing out but he didn’t need any assistance.
Health didn’t appear to factor into the decision to remove Cobb, who continued to throw in the bullpen as Tanner Chleborad retired the side in order in the second.
Chleborad, part of the horde arriving from minor league camp, replaced Cobb and induced a ground ball from Christian Arroyo to end the first.
The list of extra players also includes pitchers Taylor Grover, Tyler Erwin, Omar Bencomo and Matt Wotherspoon, catcher Brett Cumberland, infielders Preston Palmeiro, Mason McCoy and Jomar Reyes, and outfielders Jaycob Brugman and Zach Jarrett.
Cobb could be slotted anywhere from first to third in the rotation. Nate Karns was scratched from tonight’s start in Tampa due to “general arm soreness,” as Hyde explained it yesterday. Dylan Bundy debuted yesterday in Clearwater and allowed one run in two innings. Andrew Cashner makes his first start Sunday against the Tigers in Sarasota, with Bundy returning to the mound Monday versus the Twins in Fort Myers.
DJ Stewart doubled off Chirinos after Sisco’s home run and scored on Eric Young Jr.’s single.
Update: Meadows hit the batter’s eye against Wotherspoon in the fourth inning to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 6-2. Mychal Givens’ spring debut lasted only two-thirds of an inning and he was charged with a run on two singles and a walk.
Hunter Harvey, with father Bryan in attendance, is working the fifth.
Cobb said he threw about 15 more pitches in the bullpen after coming out of the game.
“I think he was trying to protect me from what was going on out there from me,” Cobb said. “Obviously, unraveled a little bit. I was expecting to stay out there and go and up/down. I don’t know the conversation they had on this.
“I went to the bullpen afterward and finished up. The plan was to go two, obviously, but the outing didn’t go according to plan, so I guess they called an audible on it.”
Hyde didn’t explain the move after going to the mound.
“No, no,” Cobb said. “We went over a couple of the plays that were going on after I got back on the bench, but there was nothing physical or anything going on like that.”
Cobb wasn’t missing by much, especially on the four-pitch walk to Meadows.
“I felt like some of those balls were over the plate, the first batter,” he said. “They got a little jam job into right field and before I know it I’ve got runners on first and second and got a couple ground balls that I was trying to get and they found holes, and obviously the two-run home run was a big blow.
“Had him 0-2 and probably was a poor decision to go with the pitch I went with, but I was trying to execute a good pitch there, a good changeup down and I left it up a little bit. He just barreled it and it went out to left.”
Cobb didn’t blame the wind, though it’s blowing out to left.
“It’s just part of being an Orioles pitcher, I think,” he said. “Gets you used to Camden Yards. Try to get the ball on the ground. Get the ball in the air and it’s a no-doubter. But he hit that one well. It probably just went a little bit further than it would have gone.”
A short start and the four runs won’t crush Cobb’s positive vibe.
“Honestly, this whole camp I’ve just felt so good,” he said. “My bullpen before this game, I could do whatever I wanted to do with the ball. It didn’t translate totally out on the mound, which his frustrating because you want to see it in the game and show up against competition, but I think the goal is to not let the stat line ruin the momentum you’ve got going this early in the spring.
“I have plenty of things to dwell on that are good. Just don’t let the negative thing creep in and take over.”
Update III: Reyes walked with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-5.
Update IV: Andrew Velazquez’s two-out, two-run double off Luis Ortiz in the eighth increased the Rays’ lead to 8-5.
Update V: Catcher Anthony Bemboom hit a two-run homer off Ortiz in the ninth.