Rylan Bannon checked all the boxes for the Orioles when they searched for a position player to insert into their active roster after optioning pitcher Mike Baumann over the weekend.
“There’s a lot of reasons,” manager Brandon Hyde said today. “One, he’s on the 40-man. An extra infielder. We’re feeling pretty comfortable where we are outfield-wise. We just wanted to add an extra infielder in case of something happening.
“Rylan’s been showing some recent power there in Norfolk, swung the bat fairly well, and gives us a bat off the bench.”
Bannon led the International League in slugging percentage (.906) and OPS (1.424) last week. He homered in three of his last six games.
Today marks Bannon’s second tour with the Orioles, who recalled him in St. Louis. He didn’t know whether they’d bring him back this week.
“I honestly wasn’t thinking about it too much,” he said. “I just kind of went down there with an approach. I struggled through a couple weeks down there, and then something clicked, looked closer with the hitting coaches. I started swinging the bat pretty well and I’m happy to be here.
“I think it was just kind of thinking through my swings. I got in the hitting cage one day with the fastball machine and the coach told me to ‘pull the ball as hard as you can four times, and then try to hit it normally,’ and something clicked for me there. It was just kind of, don’t guide the bat to the ball. It was kind of a refreshing feeling. There’s where things kind of took off for me.”
Starting at third base in his major league debut, Bannon made a sensational diving backhanded stop and throw in the first inning to rob Nolan Arenado, and singled in the second, too. He became the third Orioles player since 2000 to record a hit on the first pitch of his initial at-bat.
Bannon went 2-for-14 in four games before the Orioles optioned him.
“When you get up here, you get one pitch to hit,” he said. “If you don’t take care of it, the rest of the at-bat’s pretty tough. And I think that’s what I took away from being up here the first time.
“I went down there with the approach to work on handling the pitches that I need to be hitting and I think I had some success doing that. So, here we are.”
Trey Mancini returns to the lineup today, but there’s still some swelling in his right hand. He wants to play and is taking batting practice to make certain he isn’t moved to the bench.
“Still a little sore,” Hyde said. “Felt better waking up this morning. It’s gradually getting better.”
Ramón Urías remains on the injured list with a left oblique strain and hasn’t been cleared to hit.
“Still getting treatments, still rehabbing,” Hyde said. “We’re hoping he can start swinging the bat here sometime soon. He’s improving a little bit every day, but still not to the point of going out and taking batting practice.”
Jordan Lyles was scratched from Sunday’s start with a stomach virus that cleared in about 24 hours.
“Saw him yesterday afternoon,” Hyde said. “He felt good yesterday, feels even better today. Just kind of a quick stomach bug. Fortunately, he’s able to start for us tonight.”
The young starters broke out T-shirts Sunday with Lyles’ face and the words “Best Dad Ever.” What kind of father figure is he inside the clubhouse?
“Obviously pretty good if they’re getting a T-shirt with his face on it,” Hyde replied.
“I saw that on Sunday. They were disappointed because he wasn’t able to start. They wanted to walk around with those shirts on like a Father’s Day gift.
“He is definitely the veteran of the group. He’s the guy with the most experience. I know they lean on him quite a bit for all sorts of things. They’re so inexperienced, the rest of those four guys. To have somebody that’s done this for a while now is extremely beneficial.
“He’s open. You see them sitting next to him in the dugout during games. Just to go through your in between starts routine, workouts, how to navigate through an order, all sorts of things, it’s nice to have somebody who’s such a great veteran presence for those guys.”
Left-hander DL Hall is starting tonight for Norfolk. The Orioles need a starter on Saturday and Hall would be working on short rest, which seems like a scenario they’d want to avoid.
“He’s unbelievable,” Bannon said of Hall. “He’s fun to play behind. He’s got some electric stuff. He’s a good guy to have in the clubhouse, he’s fun to be around. Hopefully, we can see him up here soon.”
For the Nationals
César Hernández 2B
Juan Soto RF
Josh Bell 1B
Nelson Cruz DH
Luis García SS
Keibert Ruiz C
Yadiel Hernandez LF
Maikel Franco 3B
Lane Thomas CF
Erick Fedde RHP