The Orioles are expected to move 27-year-old right-hander Stu Pomeranz to Triple-A Norfolk in time for the Tides' next game Friday. Norfolk is currently one player under the 25-man limit after Jason Berken joined the Orioles.
Pomeranz, who can throw his fastball into the mid-90s, was off to a great start with Double-A Bowie. Over his first 13 1/3 innings, he allowed seven hits, two runs (none earned) with a 20-to-1 strikeout-to-walks ratio. He has pitched three innings in each of his last three outings.
He will join a Norfolk bullpen that has several pitchers off to good starts right now and the Orioles will look to see if his fastball that has been getting Eastern League hitters out can also play at this higher level. The club has also worked with him to improve his curveball and slider location. Pomeranz is someone that could eventually work his way in time into the Orioles bullpen if the numbers continue to be good with the Tides.
Meanwhile, I find absolutely no reason to be concerned about this, but Manny Machado is not yet tearing it up at Double-A Bowie. Yes, even a player among baseball's best prospects can take time to adjust to a new level and Machado, at 19, is among the youngest players in the Eastern League right now.
After going 2-for-20 with just one RBI over his last six games, Manny is batting .236 with two homers, nine RBIs and an OPS of .722 through his first 19 games.
When I interviewed Machado on opening night at Bowie, here is what said about moving up from Single-A Frederick to Bowie:
"It's a great challenge. They are trying to challenge me and that's what I want," Machado said. "It's the only way you get better and advance in this game. Challenge yourself at the next level.
"If I go 0-for-50, I'll just keep pushing. This game, there is a lot of failure. I learned that last year. If I fail, I fail, that is part of the game."
Of all the people that realize he could struggle some this year at Double-A, Machado is the most aware of it. That was a very mature answer and if anyone thinks Machado is going to get down on himself with a .236 average, they have not been around that young man.
Eastern League pitchers should enjoy getting him out now, while they can. Manny will hit this year in the Eastern League as he continues his steady progression toward Baltimore. It is just a matter of time.
Xavier Avery is off to a good start with Norfolk and is batting .275 through 18 games. He saw an eight-game hitting streak end yesterday. He hit .414 (12-for-29) during that streak with eight walks, six steals and an on-base percentage of .541.
Avery appears to be making some improvements with his batting eye and plate discipline and has drawn 12 walks so far for an overall OBP of .386.
It's a solid start for the speedy outfielder who, at 22, is the youngest player on the Tides roster.