The Orioles won’t announce their Monday starter against the Rays until later today. However, Tom Eshelman has been scratched from his start at Triple-A Norfolk and manager Brandon Hyde said his club won’t resort to a bullpen game.
Sure sounds like Eshelman is the choice, but the Orioles haven’t made it official.
“We’re still figuring some things out and nobody’s been told,” Hyde said.
“The last few days isn’t affecting Monday’s start.”
Eshelman, 25, would become the 45th player used by the Orioles this season. He’s made three starts with Norfolk and surrendered nine earned runs (10 total) and 18 hits with six walks and 11 strikeouts in 20 innings.
The Orioles acquired Eshelman from the Phillies on June 10 in exchange for international signing bonus slots.
Monday’s assignment would be Eshelman’s major league debut after the Astros selected him in the second round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal-State Fullerton. He’s 26-29 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.337 WHIP in 91 minor league games, only once used in relief.
Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias worked for the Astros when they drafted Eshelman. The Phillies acquired Eshelman in a December 2015 trade that involved reliever Ken Giles and former first overall draft pick Mark Appel.
Reliever Josh Lucas felt good yesterday after his bullpen session and is close to being activated from the injured list. He won’t need a rehab assignment.
Mark Trumbo hit this morning and the condition of his right knee is improving. However, there’s no date to return him to a rehab assignment.
“He’s improving every day, so we’re just taking it day-to-day with him,” Hyde said. “He’s doing a ton of rehab and I give that guy so much credit. I was talking to (assistant hitting coach) Howie Clark about it yesterday. A lot of times those types of guys aren’t in the dugout for nine innings in this kind of situation where we’re not playing real well, he can’t even play and he’s in the dugout talking to our players right in the middle.
“He talks to (Trey) Mancini all the time, he talks to our young players. I love having him around. I think he’s an absolute pro and he’s in it always for all the right reasons. Not knowing him going into this year, so impressed with him.”
Hyde raved again today about Anthony Santander’s improved defense and indicated that the former Rule 5 pick could get a few more opportunities in center field.
Santander played two innings in center on the last trip.
“He might see some time out there, too, just to take a look,” Hyde said. “He’s more of a true corner outfielder, but I brought it up to him and he’s excited about the possibility of it.”
Santander made another leaping catch at the fence yesterday.
“He runs well, he throws well, he gets really good reads,” Hyde said. “You see the way he gets back on the ball is excellent. He’s made a ton of catches by the wall and over the wall, so there’s no fear there. He’s engaged defensively. Arnie (Beyeler) talks about it all the time. He’s always in the right spot. It’s important to him. So he’s done a great job.”
Hyde, a former catcher, will be behind the plate today for Mike Mussina’s ceremonial first pitch. Mussina is going into the Hall of Fame later this summer.
“Watched him postseasons with the Orioles and Yankees and I obviously have a huge amount of respect for him,” Hyde said. “It’s awesome that he’s going into the Hall of Fame. I’m looking forward to catching the first pitch. I’ve never met him. Just talked to him on the phone. Looking forward to meeting him today.”
Update: Carlos Santana’s RBI single with two outs in the third gave the Indians a 1-0 lead and ended the Orioles’ scoreless streak at 21 innings.
Update II: Santana’s RBI single off Shawn Armstrong in the seventh increased the Indians’ lead to 2-0.