KANSAS CITY – The Orioles today acquired catcher Luis Torrens, a veteran of 264 major league games, from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash considerations. He has not yet reported to the team and manager Brandon Hyde said he wasn’t sure what day that would happen. To make 40-man roster room, reliever Joey Krehbiel was designated for assignment.
Hyde said this afternoon that this move is not about the health of either of his two catchers, confirming that both Adley Rutschman and James McCann are fine physically. However, Triple-A catcher Maverick Handley went on the injured list today with a hand contusion. Mark Kolozsvary was seen here this week and it's assumed that he is the taxi-squad catcher for this series.
For now, the Orioles may be about to again carry three catchers. Hyde was asked if that was the plan.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Haven’t seen much of him (Torrens),” Hyde said during his pregame media update. “Saw him against Seattle last year. But just know that he is a guy that has hit left-handers well in his career (with a .725 OPS) and done a nice job behind the plate. Besides that, don’t know much about him. Looking forward to getting to know him.
“Joey Krehbiel pitched some huge innings for us last year and kind of just never got it going in spring training, but there are a lot of people in that clubhouse that are really close with him. He is a great character guy, took the ball whenever asked last year, and appreciate what he did for us.”
So Torrens is not with the team today and not yet on the 26-man roster. Hyde said he was not sure if Torrens would be activated for Thursday afternoon’s series finale against Kansas City.
“I’m not sure when the arrival date is. I’m unsure when he’s coming, this just happened a few hours ago," he said.
And what about carrying three catchers again?
“I think it’s, you know, it gives us some options,” said Hyde. “Obviously, Adley (could DH) and the way McCann is swinging the bat, it does allow us when both guys are in the lineup to have a third catcher. It’s beneficial in those situations.”
Torrens, who turned 27 yesterday, was batting .250/.318/.300 (5-for-20) with one double and three RBIs in 13 games. He signed with the Cubs as a minor league free agent in January. Over his big league career he has hit .227/.289/.352 with 19 home runs and 78 RBIs in 799 plate appearances. The Orioles are his fifth organization.
Torrens has thrown out 22 percent of runners attempting to steal in the majors, and 39 percent in the minors. He’s also made starts at first base and second base as a professional.
Bautista honored: O’s closer Félix Bautista today was named the American League Reliever of the Month for April. This is his first such honor and the first time the club has had a pitcher win the award since Jim Johnson in May 2012. Bautista and Johnson are the only Orioles to have won the award since its inception in 2005.
“It’s really exciting. Really, just a lot of emotions to receive this award, and it’s just great overall to see all the fruits of my labor come to fruition,” Bautista said today through team interpreter Brandon Quinones.
Bautista made 14 appearances, including his outing on March 30 at Boston, and pitched to a 2-1 record with seven saves in nine opportunities with a 1.32 ERA (two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings) and 25 strikeouts. He currently has a 16.46 strikeout rate per nine innings. And, for the month, his seven saves were tied for third in the American League and fifth in the majors.
Bautista, of course, gained a lot of confidence during a breakout 2022 season.
“It gives me a lot of confidence to come back this year and continue to be the great pitcher that I know I can be," he said. "Continue to execute and it gives me confidence to be there for my teammates.”
Bautista has now had a three-day break from pitching in a game. Hyde didn't use him Sunday or yesterday, and the team was off Monday. Being able to rest Bautista is a plus, the manager said.
“Well, he’s been used quite a bit, and anytime I can give him a breather, I try,” Hyde said. “The last day in Detroit he was unavailable with the workload before that. And last night, not a save situation and I didn’t want to use (Yennier) Cano either. But we just ran out of right-handed pitchers that were available to try and lock that game down.”
“It feels really nice to have that off-day to recover and recuperate from the previous outings,” Bautista said today. “Me personally, having a day like that to recover, it’s great. I can come back the next day and be 100 percent ready to go.