McKenna optioned to Triple-A Norfolk (and other notes)

The Orioles reinstated John Means from the injured list and he’s starting tonight, his first in the majors since June 5. Outfielder Ryan McKenna was optioned again to Triple-A Norfolk as the corresponding roster move, again leaving the Orioles with a three-man bench.

McKenna is 13-for-72 (.181) in 46 games.

Norfolk could use an extra outfielder with Yusniel Diaz still unable to play due to turf toe. And the Orioles like having the extra bullpen arm, especially while they handle Means carefully in his next few starts.

Means followed up back-to-back scoreless outings, including his May 5 no-hitter in Seattle, by facing the Rays on May 19 at Camden Yards and allowing a season-high four runs in 6 1/3 innings. The most runs against him since Sept. 2, 2020 versus the Mets.

Mike Brosseau and Randy Arozarena hit home runs. Arozarena is batting .428 (12-for-28) with two doubles, and 13 RBIs in six games against the Orioles this season.

Means is 3-1 with a 3.71 ERA and 0.882 WHIP in six career games against the Rays. Brosseau is 5-for-11 with four home runs lifetime against Means, but he’s on the injured list with an oblique strain. Yandy Díaz is 3-for-10 with a double and home run.

Díaz left last night’s game with neck spasms but he’s leading off tonight.

The Orioles haven’t posted their lineup.

Austin Hays is batting .349 (29-for-83) against left-handers. He’s hit safely in 15 of his last 20 games, going 24-for-72 (.333) during that stretch.

Hays-Swings-Gray-HR-Sidebar.jpg“He’s getting healthy, he’s feeling better every single day,” manager Brandon Hyde said on last night’s Zoom call. “He’s running way better, especially these last 10 days to two weeks. I think the break helped him there, also. But he started to swing the bat a lot better, really, a week before the break. He’s keeping it going.”

Ryan Mountcastle’s 74 career RBIs are the second-most by an Oriole in his first 122 games in franchise history, trailing Trey Mancini (75).

Mancini is batting .375 (9-for-24) with four home runs and nine RBIs in seven games against the Rays this season.

The Orioles are trying to extend their winning streak to four games for the first time since Sept. 4-8, 2020 versus the Yankees and Mets. They haven’t won at least four road games in succession since Aug. 7-13, 2020 in D.C. and Philadelphia.

Rays rookie left-hander Shane McClanahan has a 4.05 ERA and 1.267 WHIP in 13 starts and is averaging 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He has reverse splits, with right-handers batting .225/.295/.418 and left-handers .286/.327/.388.

Tampa Bay has lost consecutive home games for the first time since May 11-12, a stretch of 25 games.

The Rays went 5-for-30 (.167) last night and are batting .227 since the beginning of June, the worst in the American League.

For the Rays
Yandy Díaz 1B
Wander Franco 3B
Austin Meadows DH
Randy Arozarena LF
Brandon Lowe RF
Taylor Walls SS
Francisco Mejía C
Vidal Bruján 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF

Shane McClanahan LHP

Third baseman Maikel Franco (ankle) has been sent to the Florida Complex League to begin an injury rehab assignment. He played third base today for the “orange” team, went 0-for-1 with a walk and sacrifice fly and committed a fielding error.

Dan Hammer, a 13th round pick in 2019 out of the University of Pittsburgh who’s also on an injury rehab assignment, allowed one earned run (five total) and two hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.

Pitching prospect Zac Lowther has been placed on Triple-A Norfolk’s injured list with a strained left shoulder. He’s 0-4 with a 6.93 ERA and 1.784 WHIP in seven starts with the Tides.

The Orioles, in partnership with Mancini and his foundation, are hosting an essential item drive to benefit Blessings in a Backpack on Sunday, July 25, during the 1:05 p.m. game against the Nationals.

Fans are encouraged to bring canned soup, cereal, shelf-stable milk, or monetary donations to gates A and H.

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