The Orioles will begin tonight’s game against the Nationals with a four-man bench after they bring up a player from Triple-A Norfolk.
An extra outfielder. An extra infielder. Probably not third catcher, though it’s less risky to put Adley Rutschman and Robinson Chirinos in the same lineup.
Infielder Jonathan Araúz would make sense as an extra utility player, but he hasn’t been in the minors for the minimum 10 days after the Orioles selected him off waivers from the Red Sox Wednesday afternoon.
Infielder Rylan Bannon makes sense and there's nothing holding him back.
The 40-man roster is full. A spot could be opened by transferring reliever Travis Lakins Sr. onto the 60-man injured list, where he’d join John Means, Chris Ellis and Alexander Wells.
Lakins was optioned in May and had it reversed a few days later, with the Orioles putting him on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation.
Haven’t heard a word about him since that day.
Lakins is in Sarasota on a throwing progression. He still isn’t ready to start an injury rehab assignment.
Here’s the 40-man roster:
Travis Lakins Sr.
Don’t be confused by Kyle Stowers’ absence from the list. The Orioles were able to use him as a replacement player in Toronto without putting him the 40-man roster. His next appearance in the majors outside of Canada will require it.
The Orioles also must announce a starting pitcher for tonight. They could choose Jordan Lyles, who was scratched Sunday with a stomach virus, or Tyler Wells, who would be working on normal rest.
A healthy Lyles tonight would allow manager Brandon Hyde to give Wells an extra day, really the ideal scenario as the Orioles monitor the former Rule 5 pick’s innings.
The Orioles were swept last year in a three-game series in D.C., and they swept the Nationals in a three-game series at Camden Yards in late July.
The Nats began tearing down the roster, and they come to Baltimore tonight with a 24-46 record that puts them in last place in the National League East. They have a -109 run differential that’s the worst in the majors.
An eight-game losing streak ended Sunday with a 9-3 win over the Phillies.
The Nationals are starting Erick Fedde and Patrick Corbin.
Nelson Cruz and Maikel Franco return to Camden Yards.
The Orioles are 54-47 all-time against the Nationals, including 32-20 at home. Washington’s last three-game sweep in Baltimore was in May 2018.