When the Mesa Solar Sox open their season at 2:35 p.m. Eastern Time this afternoon, playing Phoenix in the Arizona Fall League, there will be seven Orioles minor leaguers on their roster.
But two players that were slated to play for Mesa are dealing with injuries right now in Joe Mahoney and LJ Hoes, and pitcher Chorye Spoone is no longer on the Mesa roster.
Hoes was listed as on the Mesa squad, but for now, he is with the other players at the Orioles' instructional league in Sarasota as he deals with a finger injury. Hoes suffered a stretched tendon in his right index finger and is having trouble swinging a bat right now. He may head to Arizona in a week or two, but if the injury doesn't show improvement by then, he could miss the entire AFL schedule.
Don't expect to see Mahoney in the Mesa lineup today either. Mahoney is dealing with an oblique strain and could miss 10 days or so of AFL games. He suffered the injury during batting practice recently in Arizona.
A right-hander, Spoone was originally listed as on the Mesa team, but he has been replaced on the roster by 25-year-old left-hander Casey Lambert. Spoone has not yet agreed to a 2012 contract and that will keep him out of the AFL.
So the Orioles currently on the Mesa roster are pitchers Steve Johnson, Sean Gleason, Cole McCurry and Lambert, and position players Brian Ward, Xavier Avery and Mahoney.
Ward, the catcher this year at Single-A Frederick, was originally listed as a taxi squad player for Mesa, meaning he could only play Wednesdays and Saturdays. But now he is cleared to be used in any games for Mesa.
Lambert, a pitcher the Orioles acquired in the Triple-A phase of December's Rule 5 draft, suffered a knee injury in spring training in March and didn't pitch at all this past season for any O's affiliate.
It will be interesting to track the O's prospects in the AFL. Last year Avery hit .188 with the Scottsdale team in that league and his teammate, catcher Caleb Joseph, hit .390.
Later today or tomorrow, I will publish a profile on Gleason, who finished second this year in the Carolina League with 32 saves.
Last year, Orioles players played for the Scottsdale Scorpions and that team won the AFL championship for the 2010 season.
Orioles players' stats last year in the AFL:
Caleb Joseph: .390 with one home run, seven RBIs and .950 OPS.
Greg Miclat: .308 with no homers, four RBIs and .774 OPS.
Ryan Adams: .265 with one home run, 14 RBIs and .673 OPS.
Xavier Avery: .188 with no homers, five RBIs and .567 OPS.
Oliver Drake: 1-3, 8.38 ERA in six starts over 19 1/3 innings.
Pat Egan: 0-1, 2.13 ERA in 10 games over 12 2/3 innings.
Kam Mickolio: 0-0, 0.75 ERA in eight games over 12 innings.
Wynn Pelzer: 0-0, 2.45 ERA in 10 games over 11 innings.