Hyde on the lineup, Mullins on AL East games as Toronto series begins

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TORONTO – No doubt tonight’s Orioles lineup is matchup-based as the club tonight faces Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi (5-0, 3.89 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series at Toronto. It starts an important six-game road trip for the Orioles against the Blue Jays and Yankees.

In facing Kikuchi, manager Brandon Hyde had definite reasons for putting Cedric Mullins back atop the order, even with a left-on-left matchup, and for inserting Joey Ortiz at third base.

Ortiz has played 30 big league innings at second base and 18 at shortstop, but none at third, where he will play tonight. He has made eight minor league starts at the hot corner: four in 2021, two in 2022 and two this year with Triple-A Norfolk.

“Well, he got a little bit of time there at Norfolk, played there in college, which is way different then playing there (now)," Hyde said. "I love his defense. I think he can play anywhere on the field, honestly, and he feels comfortable over there. Adding a right-handed bat against Kikuchi. And want (Adam) Frazier in there, and it’s kind of where it fit.”

The Orioles hit Kikuchi well last year, when he went 2-3 with an 8.10 ERA against them and allowed seven homers in 16 2/3 innings with an OPS against of 1.078. Cedric Mullins went 2-for-7 with a triple against Kikuchi in 2022, and has a batting average of .298 and a .953 OPS versus southpaws this year.

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Orioles and White Sox lineups (and notes)

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The Orioles recalled reliever Rico Garcia from Triple-A Norfolk today to provide a fresh arm for a struggling bullpen. They optioned reliever Louis Head after last night’s game.

The club also optioned reliever Phoenix Sanders after claiming him off waivers yesterday from the Rays. He has three minor league options.

Garcia has appeared in four games with the Orioles and allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings. He has a 2.30 ERA in 14 appearances with Norfolk.

The Orioles will try tonight to win another series and move closer to the final wild card spot. They remained 2 ½ games back after last night’s 5-3 loss to the White Sox.

Kyle Stowers is in right field and Terrin Vavra is starting at second base.

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Orioles claim Phoenix Sanders off waivers (plus notes)


The Orioles are adding a new reliever to the bullpen, claiming right-hander Phoenix Sanders from the Rays earlier today.

Sanders won’t report before Thursday. He’s filling the vacant spot on the 40-man roster.

The Rays designated Sanders, 27, for assignment two days ago. He made eight appearances this season as a rookie and allowed five runs and 12 hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.

Sanders, who was born in Germany, has registered a 3.35 ERA and 1.151 WHIP in five minor league seasons. He’s struck out 313 batters in 258 innings, walked 71 and surrendered only 28 home runs.

The 2022 season didn’t go smoothly at Triple-A Durham. Sanders posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.367 WHIP in 25 appearances, though he walked only two batters and struck out 36 in 30 innings.

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