The injury to shortstop Freddy Galvis, a strained quadriceps muscle in his right leg perhaps keeping him out of the lineup for the next two months, opened another door that Richie Martin couldn’t walk through.
Martin missed the 2020 season with a fractured right wrist, an injury sustained while playing in an intrasquad game at summer training camp at Camden Yards. Meanwhile, shortstop José Iglesias was in and out of the lineup because of an aching left quadriceps.
Surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in Martin’s left hand in January was followed by a fracture to his left wrist on May 18 when he crashed into the center field fence while chasing a fly ball for Triple-A Norfolk.
The ball rolled away, producing an inside-the-park home run. Martin stayed down.
That’s two years in a row when the Orioles really could have used Martin and fate or bad luck or whatever intervened.
Martin competed for a utility job in 2020 and could have been the starting shortstop for stretches of the season. He was vying for the same role in 2021, though the Orioles might have chosen to have him start every day at shortstop with Norfolk. He just can’t get a break - or at least the good kind.
The Orioles put Martin on the 60-day injured list on June 3 to create room for catcher Austin Wynns on the 40-man roster. He isn’t a consideration for the active roster until August.
What he can offer and how the roster is constructed is anybody’s guess.
“He is starting his hitting progression early to mid-July, and then he should be playing in games in early August if everything goes well,” manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday in his media Zoom call.
Would the Orioles have claimed Leyba off waivers June 4 if Martin didn’t fracture his wrist?
Would the Orioles have recalled Martin earlier after ending the Rio Ruiz experiment at second base, a few hours before Martin slammed into a fence?
Leyba is going to get an extended look, judging by his starts at second and third base in the past two games. And he tossed the hitless monkey off his back last night, with an infield single in the fourth inning making him 1-for-27.
The Orioles should have a pretty good idea what they can get from Urías, since he played in 10 games last summer and made his 27th appearance in 2021 last night. The nine hits in 25 at-bats last year, beginning with his major league debut on Aug. 20, warranted more opportunities.
Hyde will play the hot hand at short, as he stated, and keep moving guys around the infield. He’s also likely to play the hand that he’s dealt.
The Orioles won’t be buyers at the deadline and go shopping for a shortstop, though they always could check the waiver wire again, which brought them Leyba. They won’t rush one of the bevy of shortstop prospects on the farm.
Meanwhile, Martin sees another open door that taunts him. That somehow locks him out.