Will it grow to eight?
The bullpen is the usual suspect, so let’s go there first.
Donnie Hart threw 17 pitches Friday night after being recalled and 22 yesterday while working twice in less than 24 hours. He retired four of five batters in his debut and allowed an unearned run yesterday over 1 1/3 innings after an infield hit, Danny Valencia’s fielding error and Blake Swihart’s looping single into center field. He struck out left-handed hitting Andrew Benintendi on three sliders, the last so filthy that it should have come with a hazmat suit.
The Orioles have to be impressed. He could be a weapon this summer.
The need for left-handers in the bullpen isn’t as pronounced in the upcoming Tigers series, but the Orioles still have two more games with the Red Sox if the weather allows them.
(As I type this sentence, the temperature dropped another 14 degrees and a storm cloud tried to coax me into wearing it like a hat.)
Infielder Engelb Vielma seems to be less vulnerable with Schoop on the disabled list with a strained right oblique. However, the Orioles could check on available utility types.
They had interest in Erick Aybar in spring training and he’s still looking for a job, so definitely keep him in mind. Ryan Flaherty turned down their minor league offer late in camp and signed with the Braves - a decision that so far comes with no regrets.
The Orioles also liked infielder Adam Rosales, but he signed with the Indians after the Phillies released him.
The farm system includes Ruben Tejada and Luis Sardiñas at Triple-A Norfolk and Erick Salcedo at Double-A Bowie. None of them are on the 40-man roster, which currently has an open spot, and the Orioles must decide whether anyone in the group is an overall upgrade over Vielma.
Sardiñas committed his third error yesterday while playing shortstop for the Tides.
The Orioles must determine their comfort zone with Valencia at third base and Tim Beckham at second while Schoop is gone. We’re not talking about a couple of days here. Will the arrangement hold up defensively?
Norfolk right-hander David Hess was scratched from his start yesterday in Syracuse and replaced by left-hander Jayson Aquino. The move brought the expected amount of intrigue and speculation - you’re welcome - but manager Buck Showalter stated twice for anyone paying attention that he wanted to split up Hess and Hunter Harvey rather than have them start on the same day.
Harvey took the mound for Bowie in Harrisburg and allowed one run in two innings - after he appeared on the Baysox’s website as the starter, was removed and reappeared, and after the lineup was tweeted with his name on it, deleted and then posted again. I was told that Hess is expected to start today.
“We’re just trying to separate anybody who is on the roster,” Showalter said. “We don’t want them pitching on the same night, the starters. We made that adjustment today to separate those two guys.
“We’ll see where we are pitching-wise after another slow start.”
So if Hess is scratched again today, I’ll be checking the lockers for his nameplate.
Speaking of the Baysox, they scored nine runs in the 10th inning last night in manager Gary Kendall’s 1,000th game. If you claim that you’ve seen it before, you should be subjected to a lie detector test or a breathalyzer.
Corban Joseph, Caleb’s younger brother, was 5-for-6 with a double, home run and five RBIs. As someone on Twitter noted, nephew’s gotta eat.