Figuring out how the Orioles are going to reconstruct their roster has become a game within the game.
Manager Buck Showalter wants to go back to a four-man bench, especially with Trey Mancini day-to-day with a bruised left knee. He has six starters and seven relievers, and placing Chris Tillman in the bullpen - if that’s the move - only shuffles the deck. Same number of cards.
Ryan Flaherty will play again tonight for Double-A Bowie, the games located near his home in Portland, Maine. He’s close to coming off the disabled list, but the Orioles seem unable to carry him with infielders Tim Beckham and Rubén Tejada.
Flaherty has to be removed from his assignment by Aug. 15, the same day as Rule 5 outfielder Anthony Santander. The Orioles seem intent on keeping Santander rather than offering him back to the Indians.
They just needed to know that Santander could play the outfield after a sore elbow limited him to designated hitter duties in spring training. They kept him over the other Rule 5 pick, outfielder Aneury Tavarez, because of his tremendous offensive potential and, yes, the ability to put him on the 60-day disabled list and not have to carry him all season.
Any days accrued by Santander in the majors this summer can be added to next year’s total in order to get him to the minimum of 90.
Outfielder Mark Trumbo could be activated from the disabled list Wednesday afternoon in Anaheim. He could be the extra position player if Mancini avoids the disabled list and if the Orioles are able to wait that long.
Who knows if another catcher will be needed after Caleb Joseph was hit on the hand last night? His X-ray was negative, but Showalter planned on lifting him for a pinch-hitter.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy will begin throwing next week while the Orioles are in Anaheim - he’s accompanying the team on the road - and will start swinging a bat later on the trip. His schedule is fluid. There’s been talk of Hardy coming off the disabled list when eligible on Aug. 18, but not if he hasn’t accumulated the proper amount of at-bats on a rehab assignment.
Hardy hasn’t appeared in a game since June 18, a day after going 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. The rust won’t come off after a couple of swings.
An X-ray on Mancini’s left knee yesterday came back negative and the lineup may be posted late while Showalter checks on him. Any indication that Mancini will need a few more days brings him closer to the disabled list. A two-man bench won’t work and that doesn’t factor in Joseph’s sore hand.
Where’s Hyun Soo Kim when you need him?
Seriously though, Kim began last night 2-for-11 with a double and five walks since his trade to the Phillies.
Meanwhile, Pedro Álvarez began last night with 24 doubles, 24 home runs and 77 RBIs in 111 games at Triple-A Norfolk, his name never omitted from the lineup. He was batting .322 since July 1 and his average climbed to .248.
Alvarez would become a stronger consideration for the Orioles if Mancini went on the disabled list this weekend, especially with Trumbo out until at least Wednesday.
Wade Miley allowed two runs over five innings and walked only one batter in Sunday’s 10-6 win in Texas. He hadn’t issued only one walk since June 1 against the Red Sox.
Tonight’s game is a rematch for Miley after the Tigers collected four runs and eight hits off him in five innings on May 16 at Comerica Park. Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez hit home runs in the third inning after the Orioles plated seven runs in the top half in a 13-11 win.
Miley doesn’t have a decision in two career starts against the Tigers, but he’s allowed nine runs and 17 hits in 11 innings.
Ian Kinsler is 3-for-9 with a double and Justin Upton is 3-for-10 with a home run.
Shameless plug alert: I’m on “Wall to Wall Baseball” from noon-2 p.m. on MASN.