Orioles acquire José Berroa from Pirates (plus other notes)

The Orioles have traded Triple-A Norfolk catcher Taylor Davis to the Pirates in exchange for outfielder José Berroa, who will be assigned to a Florida Complex team in Sarasota, Fla.

Berroa, 19, was signed by the Pirates as an international free agent from Santo Domingo, D.R., on July 2, 2018. He appeared in a combined 56 games for the Pirates Rookie-level Dominican Summer League affiliates in 2019 and posted a .254 average (48-for-189) with a .678 OPS, six doubles, three triples, 21 RBIs and 37 runs scored.

Davis-T-w-Bag-ST-sidebar.jpgDavis re-signed with the Orioles as a minor league free agent, but hasn’t played in the majors since 2019 with the Cubs. He appeared in 12 games with Norfolk and slashed .289/.372/.368 (11-for-38) with three doubles and five RBIs.

Catcher Nick Ciuffo is rejoining Norfolk’s roster after fracturing his right hand in April. It’s getting crowded behind the plate with Chance Sisco and Brett Cumberland.

Pitcher John Means is in Sarasota to ease into his progression as he recovers from a left shoulder strain.

Means played catch today, according to manager Brandon Hyde. He’s been on the injured list since June 6 and obviously will remain on it past his eligibility date to return.

“He’s working back toward starting his progression,” Hyde said in his Zoom call.

An MRI didn’t show any structural damage in Means’ shoulder. He has a history of shoulder fatigue and strains dating back to college.

Matt Harvey will try to snap out of a prolonged slump tonight after blasting himself following his last start, when he worked three innings against the Mets and allowed seven runs and eight hits. He hasn’t completed the fifth inning in his last seven outings.

“I think he’s just discouraged his last handful of starts,” Hyde said. “Frustrated, discouraged, wants to do better for himself, wants to do better for the team. He wants to go deeper in games, he wants to help out our bullpen, he wants to give our team a chance to win, and his last few starts have been tough.

“I thought he had a good April, I thought he was pitching better than his numbers showed for a lot of reasons and his last three or four starts have not gone his way. I know he’s really motivated and driven. I think that was a pretty quick reaction to not having a good night and he was pretty frustrated in the moment. But the confidence is still there and hopefully he can give us some innings tonight.”

Hyde said the Orioles will conduct a meeting on Wednesday to discuss Major League Baseball’s memo today regarding punishments for pitchers caught using a foreign substance, including 10-day suspensions.

Umpires will check each pitcher, multiple times for starters, and position players also can be subjected to an ejection and suspension if it’s determined that they applied the substance to the ball.

Pitcher are allowed to use rosin bags, but can’t mix the powder with another substance such as sunscreen.

Suspended players can’t be replaced on the roster.

The policing begins on Monday.

“We’ve talked quite a bit in small groups, we’ve talked with the coaching staff, we’re going to have a big meeting tomorrow afternoon,” Hyde said.

“I think it’s really going to affect your club, and it’s a stiff penalty, and to lose a player 10 days and lose a roster spot for 10 days, it’s obvious MLB is very, very serious about this and taking action and we’re going to follow it. It’s a big deal to lose a player for 10 days.

“Around the league, with pine tar and sunscreen, this is something that some guys have used for a long time and I think MLB just wants to make it a level playing field and I’m all for making a level playing field.”

Hyde said he isn’t concerned that his high spin-rate pitchers will be targeted by umpires.

“Not worried about that at all,” he said.

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