PHOENIX - Catcher Adley Rutschman is expected to make his Maryland debut Saturday evening with the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds.
The Orioles haven’t made an official announcement and schedules always are subject to change, but Saturday appears to be the target date for Rutschman to leave the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
Aberdeen began a six-game homestand Tuesday that carries through the weekend. The IronBirds host Hudson Valley Saturday at 6:05 p.m.
Ripken Stadium should be packed.
Rutschman isn’t in the GCL Orioles lineup today. He’s gone 3-for-11 with a home run, two RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base. He produced a pinch-hit RBI single yesterday.
The GCL Braves walked him intentionally in the earlier game.
* Dwight Smith Jr. stays in left field today after collecting two more hits last night, including a three-run homer.
Smith fought out of an 0-for-33 slump and is 5-for-12 with a double and home run in his last four games.
“It happens to everybody where you have tough stretches throughout the season,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “It’s such a long year that you’re not going to be consistent all the way through. Smitty went through a tough few weeks there, but the last few games really swung the bat well. That homer last night was a big one for us.
“Smitty to me, I just feel like during that time he was really pressing and expanding the strike zone and swinging at pitches off the plate and chasing breaking balls down and in against him. I think guys started adjusting to him a little bit. Now that we’re months into the season there are a lot of at-bats to watch and pitchers started making adjustments, and now he needs to make the adjustment back and he’s done that the last few games.”
* Hyde is trying to win games while knowing that the trade deadline is approaching and his roster could be stripped of more players.
He’s already lost Andrew Cashner in the rotation. Reliever Mychal Givens is drawing interest from multiple teams, with the list growing. Infielder Jonathan Villar also is a possibility to be moved and starter Dylan Bundy’s stock could rise following last night’s outing.
“I’ve been on a few teams that were sellers at the deadline, so I know how it works and it’s part of the game,” Hyde said. “It’s been a little while for me, I’ve been on the other side. That’s fun. But it’s just part of it.
“I think everybody’s very aware. It’s not like it’s a secret going in the clubhouse where people aren’t talking about it. It’s a very normal situation now. It’s what you see on TV, it’s what you read. I think guys are just aware and our job is to, you put it out of your mind when the game starts and you go play and do the best you can to compete and win.
“I think our guys have done a great job of doing that the last couple of weeks.”
Hyde will stay in the middle, nestled between wanting an immediate return and understanding the big picture.
“It’s not hard to focus on it because I’m aware of it,” he said. “I know that there’s a possibility of anything happening and I know our intensions are to get as many good players in this organization that we possibly can. And we have such a long road ahead of us. We have a long way to go to be competing for a division, so I know that we need players.
“I know Mike (Elias) and Sig (Mejdal) are trying to get as many players in this organization as possible. With that comes possible trades and possible movement and if that hurts the big league club a little bit, that’s possible also. Not shying away from that. But at the same time, when you lose somebody you give opportunity, right? So we lose Cashner and Wojo (Asher Wojciechowski), Brooksie (Aaron Brooks), (Tom) Eshelman, those types of guys are going to get an opportunity to pitch and you hope that they can step up and fill the void.”
Update: Anthony Santander homered again in the series. The Orioles lead 1-0 in the fourth inning.
Update II: Carson Kelly hit a three-run homer off John Means in the fourth to give Arizona a 3-1 lead.
Update III: Trey Mancini homered in the sixth to cut the lead to 3-2.
Update IV: Ketel Marte homered off Richard Bleier in the bottom half to increase the lead to 4-2.
Update V: Tanner Scott walked Marte with the bases loaded in the seventh for a 5-2 lead.