The roster manipulation by the Orioles yesterday was minimal. One player on the taxi squad for the trip to Philadelphia. Nothing else to report.
Left-hander John Means joined right-hander Jorge López on the injury list in a pair of procedural moves. They can be placed on the active roster after undergoing COVID-19 intake testing and the team has the results.
Keegan Akin remained in the bullpen last night, still unsure how long he’s going to stay in the majors. He gives the Orioles an extra long reliever with Thomas Eshelman making Thursday afternoon’s start against the Phillies.
The rotation is set up for Wade LeBlanc to start Wednesday night and Eshelman to close out the series the following afternoon. Eshelman is working on normal rest after starting Saturday night in D.C.
Left-hander Tommy Milone will try to repeat his dominance of the Nationals by facing them again Friday night in Baltimore. He’ll be working on six days’ rest.
The starters have been clearing out of Camden Yards on the nights they don’t pitch.
“They’ve given us the choice, but we have found that it’s safer and more convenient to get our work in and then go home,” Asher Wojciechowski said during yesterday’s Zoom conference call. “It’s just better off to not have so many bodies together in this stage, so we get our work in and then we’ve been going home.”
Wojciechowski worked on short rest Sunday in D.C. and tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He should get the ball again over the weekend.
“I felt good,” he said. “I think I could have gone longer, but I definitely was feeling some fatigue in that fourth inning and I know the coaches could tell at that point and I was starting to get a little fatigued. But I like the way I felt, I like the way I competed.
“Yeah, it was three days’ rest, but I feel like I would have rather done short rest rather than have extra-long rest because right not it’s still early and we’re trying to get our rhythm and I felt like it would have been better for me to go on short rest and continue my rhythm from my previous start than to have a long layoff.”
Ramón Urías made it to the majors yesterday - well, sort of - as the taxi squad player. The Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Cardinals on Feb. 11 and outrighted infielder Pat Valaika, who broke summer camp with the club and started at shortstop last night.
Urías, 26, played in Mexico for five years before signing with the Cardinals prior to the 2018 season. He slashed .262/.347/.426 the past two seasons at Triple-A Memphis.
The Orioles optioned Urías on March 19 after returning home from spring training. He was added to the 60-man player pool last month.
“I haven’t seen a lot of him,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I do know that he had a couple nice years in the St. Louis organization. Has swung the bat well. He plays three spots in the infield, so he allows us to have a little bit of depth in case something happens to one of our infielders.
“I don’t know a ton about him just because spring training was cut short and just didn’t see him get a lot of at-bats there. He’s been working out with our summer camp guys and he’s going to add some depth in the infield in case there’s an emergency.”
Shortstop José Iglesias has been available to pinch-hit, but the quadriceps injury is lingering. There must be a growing concern when he had Sunday and Monday to heal and still couldn’t make last night’s lineup.
“The quad’s still just a little bit sore,” Hyde said. “Just being careful with him. I think it’s something we’re going to have to monitor throughout the summer. Love to have him in there. I’ve just got to be careful with him.”
Might need him for the stretch run.
The Orioles are 8-7 and clearly over the four-game sweep by the Marlins.
“Getting traded here last year and getting to know everybody, when you come in and you’ve been playing with a group of guys for a longer amount of time, you have expectations for yourself and for your teammates,” Wojciechowski said. “And when you set those expectations high, we’re all professionals, we all want to win, we all want to be the best that we can be. And I feel like when you’ve got a group of guys that do that, you’re going to play well.”
“It’s been a really fun season so far,” Austin Hays said on his Zoom call. “When the bats haven’t been there, our pitching staff has stepped up. We just continue to pick each other up no matter what and that’s what makes the game fun, when you know you can trust the teammate that’s next to you, the guy that’s next to you. And I think this season has just been crazy from the 2-1 games and the 11-10 games.
“I know last year and the year before, we had a lot of one-run games where we couldn’t find a way to pull through and get the win, but this season has been a very different story. We seem to find a way night in and night out to just make sure we’re there at the end of the game and hopefully we can continue to get those big hits in late situations.”
Last night’s insane 10-9 win in 10 innings had “2020” stamped all over it.
“It felt like a boxing match, honestly, from the eighth inning on,” Hyde said. “Felt like we gave a blow, we took a blow, we gave a blow, we took a blow. And hope to get that last out. That was the feeling.
“This has been a very unusual year. It’s been an unusual season so far. We’ve seen some things we haven’t seen in a while and probably won’t be the last time.”
Hyde saw the team chemistry developing over the second half of last season, the bond among players strengthening, and he believes it’s a factor in the impressive start.
“Extremely important,” he said. “All winning teams have it. Different feel in the clubhouse where you care about the guy next to you. Where there’s an attitude of we’re going to pick each other up, we’re never going to quit. It’s a next-guy-up mentality and everybody supports each other.”
* Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron received a 20-game suspension yesterday and was fined an undisclosed amount for inciting and escalating Sunday’s brawl with the Athletics.
Cintron yelled insults at the Athletics’ Ramón Laureano, who grew tired of being hit by pitches, motioned him toward the dugout and hid behind a couple of players.
Not exactly his finest moment.
If you’re wondering about the Orioles angle with Cintron, he appeared in 61 games with them in 2008 after signing as a free agent on April 3. He batted .286/.321/.361 in 144 plate appearances, became a free agent again and signed with the Nationals.
His last major league season was 2009.
Cintron played all four infield positions with the Orioles, though his only starts came at shortstop (28 games) and second base (one).
The Orioles were in full rebuild mode with Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard traded over the winter. Manager Dave Trembley was in charge for his first full season and the team finished 68-93 for its first last place finish in the American League East since 1988.