The tarp remains on the field today at Camden Yards as a light rains falls, the kind that sent fans scurrying and cut short the annual “State of the Orioles” event for season-ticket holders. No word on whether the game will be delayed at the start.
Update: It’s delayed at the start.
The Orioles already have endured 12 games delayed by inclement weather or the threat of it. I’m not certain how to categorize the one in D.C.
Now that Mike Wright is back at Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles must decide how to use him.
Wright came off the disabled list today and was outrighted to the Tides. He made three appearances with the Gulf Coast League team on his injury rehab assignment and allowed four runs and eight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Wright could slide back into Norfolk’s rotation, where he was 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in 10 starts over 53 2/3 innings. Or he could be utilized as a reliever, his role in six outings with the Orioles this season.
“How would you use him?” Showalter asked the media. “They have five starters.”
Working out of the bullpen in the minors would make it more difficult for Wright to be a starter candidate for the Orioles.
“You can’t consider him in this role if he’s pitching one inning,” Showalter said.
And if Wright is starting for the Tides, the Orioles have a smaller window for promoting him to their bullpen.
“If you start him, that only gives you two of five days that you could take him as a reliever,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, we’ll discuss that.”
Wright worked two scoreless innings today in the GCL, with two hits allowed and three strikeouts.
“We’ve got some time,” Showalter said. “Obviously, he can’t pitch for a couple of days.”
Wright had been receiving treatment on his shoulder before the Orioles placed him on the disabled list, but there was nothing evident that kept him from pitching at the time, raising the question of whether he worked through discomfort in order to stay on the active roster.
Though he posted a 5.56 ERA in 11 1/3 innings with the Orioles, Wright walked only one batter and struck out 14. He tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings with only one hit allowed on June 7 against the Pirates and he shut out the White Sox in two innings on June 14 in his final appearance before going on the DL with right shoulder bursitis.
Asked whether a healthy shoulder could enable Wright to be effective on a more consistent basis, Showalter replied, “He pitched pretty well out of our ‘pen, so I’m going to have that expectation whether he’s been hurt or not because he’s capable of pitching well here.”
Wright turned 27 in January. The former third-round pick is 6-9 with a 5.85 ERA and 1.446 WHIP in 36 games (21 starts) over parts of three seasons. The Orioles want to see him make significant strides and establish himself as a regular contributor and not just another passenger on the shuttle.
“It’s that time,” Showalter said. “He’s not some 23-year-old guy out of East Carolina. He’s had a lot of experience and he should be getting ready to make that step and stay somewhere. He’s got a good arm.”
Tonight’s lineup still doesn’t include outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, who had a pinch-hit double in the ninth inning last night in a five-run rally. Trey Mancini remains in left field and Showalter has been using Seth Smith and Joey Rickard in right.
A season-ticket holder earlier today wondered why Kim isn’t playing more and expressed disappointment and sympathy.
“I’d like to see Kim in the lineup a lot more,” he said.
“Yeah, I would, too,” Showalter replied. “So, you want to sit Mancini? No? You don’t want to sit Mancini?”
Don’t sit Mancini.
“I wish we had that 10th player,” Showalter said. “I’ve been trying to get him in there more. It’s tough. It’s a good problem to have. I think Hyun Soo, if he can get a little more consistent at-bats, he can get more into the form he’s capable of and what he did last year. So, it’s something we’re looking for a way to do it all the time. It’s a challenge. But he’s been a great teammate and he was a good signing for us. He’s been a consistent contributor and a guy who’s very team-oriented. And we’re always an injury away from him playing every day, so who knows? That could change.”
Update II: Alex Bregman homered on Chris Tillman’s first pitch in the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie.
The Orioles have one hit off Astros starter Collin McHugh, who’s making his 2017 debut. Chris Davis singled in the first inning on a ball misplayed by center fielder Jake Marisnick.
Update IV: Yuli Gurriel hit a two-run homer off Tillman in the sixth, Darren O’Day gave up two straight singles after entering the game and pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez clubbed a three-run homer onto Eutaw St. to give Houston a 6-4 lead.
Gonzalez was batting for rookie Collin Moran, who fouled a ball off his left eye and rode off the field on a cart.