Kyle Stowers is starting in right field tonight and batting fifth for the Orioles, and he’s going to play regularly against right-handed pitching. This isn’t presented as another brief look at one of their prospects.
The Orioles selected Stowers' contract today from Triple-A Norfolk, his real debut on the 40-man roster after serving as a substitute player in Toronto.
“Stowers is going to see quite a bit of action in the outfield,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Every day we’ll look at matchups. It’s good to get guys off their feet, also. We’re in late August and just try to rotate those guys around as much as possible.”
Asked about the timing of Stowers’ arrival, Hyde said, “Just feel like he’s ready to contribute for us. He’s had a nice year in Triple-A and we’re excited about his future, and looking forward to watching him play up here.”
The Orioles have wanted more hitting from the left side, and the upcoming slate of games magnifies the importance.
“We’re facing the majority of right-handed starters going forward here in the next couple weeks,” Hyde said. “That played into it, also. And we feel like he’s ready to go.”
Stowers got a small taste of the majors in the Blue Jays series in Canada, going 1-for-7 with a double, RBI and four strikeouts. He should find the environment more comfortable and familiar.
“I hope so,” Hyde said. “I’m sure he’s going to be nervous tonight, but I think it’s always good to see what it looks like first. Got his feet wet a little bit up there and faced (José) Berríos and (Alek) Manoah up there. Good experience for him to have before today.”
The Orioles are in a unique position of evaluating young talent over the final months of the season but also needing contributions in a pennant race. They aren’t hiding their rookies and could bring up another with shortstop Gunnar Henderson prompting regular conversations about his possible promotion.
“Hopefully, (Stowers) can add,” Hyde said.
MLBPipeline.com ranks Stowers as the No. 9 prospect in the system, and Baseball America has him 11th. Stowers leads the organization in home runs and RBIs, and is tied with infielder Jordan Westburg for first in doubles.
Asked today about Henderson and Westburg, Stowers smiled and said, “They’re studs.”
Terrin Vavra went on paternity leave today and Hyde doesn’t know when the rookie will return to the club.
Hyde received a text from Vavra around 2 a.m. informing him of the news.
Jorge Mateo is batting .283/.338/.512 (36-for-127) with eight doubles, three triples, five home runs, 18 RBIs, 24 runs scored, nine walks and eight stolen bases in his last 40 games since July 1.
Hyde said he appreciated the shoutout this week from Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who wore an Orioles cap and made the goggles gesture during his media session. Harbaugh watches the games and has been complimentary of Hyde and the team.
“That was special for me,” Hyde said. “Our team saw it, too. I think he did it during the afternoon. We were in Toronto, but a lot of guys on our team saw it that afternoon, and it pumped everybody up. For somebody like that, that I have so much respect for, and what he’s done, the kind of leader he is, to talk so positively about us …
“And he watches a lot. I know he does, because he’ll send me a text after games sometimes. So, for him to follow us and be a fan, that means a lot.”
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Adley Rutschman C
Anthony Santander DH
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Kyle Stowers RF
Austin Hays LF
Rougned Odor 2B
Ramón Urías 3B
Jorge Mateo SS
Jordan Lyles RHP