Orioles option Jackson Holliday to Triple-A Norfolk

Jackson Holliday is headed back to the minors.

The Orioles announced today that they’ve optioned Holliday to Triple-A Norfolk and selected the contract of outfielder Ryan McKenna.

Holliday made his highly anticipated major league debut on April 10 in Boston, but he couldn’t get onto a roll offensively. He went 2-for-34 with one RBI, two walks and 18 strikeouts in 10 games.

The hitless streak reached 13 at-bats before his single in the seventh inning on April 14 against the Brewers at Camden Yards. Holliday’s other hit came Wednesday afternoon in Anaheim with another single.

Baseball’s top prospect is getting a reset with Norfolk. The Orioles can explain later the timing of the move and potentially how long it could last.

The defense at second base wasn't an issue, but the results at the plate were lacking and the Orioles decided to remove him from the spotlight and let him work through his problems in a less-pressurized environment.

Holliday talked on Sunday about the adjustments he's gone through.

“Obviously, not the start I was hoping for, but the past few games I feel like there’s some good things," he said. "Like, I’ve hit the ball in the middle of the field pretty well and then a lot of off-speed pitches to the middle of the field, which I’m happy with. I had a few lineouts against Minnesota.

“Overall, the past few games I’ve had some positives. Obviously, no hits but some good at-bats, some walks, some good swings. So I’m kind of looking at it that way and building off those and looking back to what I was doing in spring training and trying to get back to a few little things.”

Holliday also said he hadn't lost confidence.

"I mean, I’ve gone through this before in the minor leagues," he said. "Not to start a season or to start a big league career, but it did happen in High-A. You fail a lot in baseball. It’s happened to every single person in this locker room. It’s just a different timing for me. It just happens to be right at the beginning. Better to get it out of the way at the beginning, huh?”

Holliday has started against right-handed pitchers, and the Orioles are facing two in their weekend series against the Athletics, beginning tonight with Ross Stripling.

Jordan Westburg has started at third base with Holliday at second. Manager Brandon Hyde more easily can work Jorge Mateo and Ramón Urías into the mix.

McKenna didn’t make the club in spring training, was designated for assignment and cleared waivers. He’s played in 12 games with the Tides and gone 11-for-45 (.244) with a .778 OPS.

McKenna was 5-for-13 with a home run over four games before going 0-for-3 last night.

Today’s promotion gives Hyde a right-handed hitting outfielder who can serve as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner with Austin Hays on the injured list with a strained calf muscle.

Catcher David Bañuelos was designated for assignment again to create room for McKenna on the 40-man roster. He cleared waivers the first time.

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