The decision on Danny Valencia’s return to the Orioles rests entirely with the player and his family.
Valencia went on paternity leave today following the birth of his first child, Oliver, early this morning. He can be away from the club for a maximum of three days, but is allowed to come back sooner.
It’s a different rule if a player goes on bereavement leave. He has to be gone for the three full days.
“That’s completely up to Danny and his wife (Jocelyn),” said manager Buck Showalter. “It’s one to three days. It’s not a full three that you have to do like the other one. We’ll talk. I’ve got an idea what it will be, but see if anything comes up that he feels like he needs to be there for.
“That’s obviously a priority for him and for us. He should stay there as long as he feels like he’s needed.”
Valencia was removed from last night’s lineup so he could join his wife at the hospital. Oliver arrived shortly after 6 a.m.
“Decided to come here a little early,” Showalter said. “Not only early in the morning, but a little early. Danny said that Jocelyn and Oliver both were doing fine. He said they were just taking him back to clean him up and at some point he was going to try to go to sleep. That was a long labor.”
“Donnie’s had a couple days off, really three, so he’s able to pitch tonight,” Showalter said. “We’ve been able to work around this seven for a while. It will be nice to have an eighth guy there tonight.”
Zach Britton is in Wilmington, Del., tonight to begin his rehab assignment with Single-A Frederick after the threat of rain moved him from Triple-A Norfolk. He’ll follow Zac Lowther, who’s making his first start above low Single-A Delmarva.
Lowther, 22, was 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in six starts with the Shorebirds. Opponents were batting .115 against him.
“A couple of pretty good left-handers there,” Showalter said. “You know the weather’s going to be perfect in Norfolk, too. Will probably rain in Wilmington. No. Anxious to hear that news.”
Catcher Caleb Joseph remains with the Tides after the Orioles optioned him on May 17 and recalled Andrew Susac. Joseph had a three-hit game in Toledo on Friday, but is 2-for-15 in his last four games to leave his average at .238.
Joseph was batting .182 when the Orioles sent him down.
Showalter talked to Norfolk manager Ron Johnson earlier today and Joseph was one of the topics of their conversation.
“He said Caleb, really an impressive catcher. Calling a game, throwing,” Showalter said. “Last night wasn’t a particularly good night for him, but he’s had some good offensive games. He’s been great on all the other things. We knew he would.
“Caleb’s good people. He’s doing OK. He started out real well, a little lull statistically, but he’s catching and throwing and calling a game a lot better. (Johnson) said you can tell there’s a real difference - not with necessarily our guys - but there’s a certain big league presentation.”
For the Nationals
Juan Soto LF
Trea Turner SS
Bryce Harper RF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Matt Adams DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Michael A. Taylor CF
Wilmer Difo 2B
Pedro Severino C
Max Scherzer RHP
Update: Bryce Harper struck out on three pitches in the first inning against rookie David Hess, but he hit an opposite-field home run with two outs in the third to break a scoreless tie.
Update II: Miguel Castro allowed a run in the seventh on Juan Soto’s two-out single to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead. Hess allowed one run and four hits in six innings.