KANSAS CITY - The Orioles and all teams in Major League Baseball can expand their rosters to as many as 40 players on Sunday. Manager Brandon Hyde is not ready to provide any names yet, but the Orioles should have new players for the series finale at Kansas City.
“We should have a couple of players here Sunday. And when the Triple-A season is over, we’ll add some more in Tampa,” Hyde said this afternoon.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that Triple-A manager Gary Kendall will join the Orioles on Sept. 5.
After splitting two games with the Washington Nationals this week at Nats Park, the Orioles open a three-game series with Kansas City tonight. Lefty John Means returns to the active roster. He pitched last Saturday in Baltimore and the next day went on the family medical emergency list.
Means (9-9, 3.61 ERA) gave up one run in seven innings Saturday versus Tampa Bay and has allowed three runs over 12 innings his past two games.
“Obviously, great to see him back and felt good to see him in the clubhouse this afternoon, and looking forward to watching him pitch tonight,” said Hyde. “He’s pitched so well his last two starts, love to see him continue. He’ll have all kinds friends and family here and the Royals are really treating him well, so hats of to them. Just really looking forward to seeing him on the mound tonight.”
Means tonight not only faces his boyhood hometown but he’ll do it at Kauffman Stadium, where he used to watch games as a kid. Means attended Gardner-Edgerton High School (where he played with the Royals’ Bubba Starling), which is about 40 minutes from this ballpark.
“Going to be a lot of fun for him. I know he’s got a lot of people. Lot of friends and family and I know everyone’s excited to watch him pitch,” Hyde said. “He’s had a such a great year and we’re looking forward to him finishing the year strong I know it means a lot for him to pitch at home.”
One consideration for the Orioles playing here the next three days is the spacious outfield at Kauffman Stadium. A lot of room out there in the gaps. Does that change anything for the Orioles in terms of personnel or strategy?
“Yeah, a little bit. It’s a really big ballpark,” Hyde said. “The gaps are huge. It’s a tough place to hit the ball out. We’re not the fastest outfield bunch. But you can see why those guys always have speed in their lineup and outfielders that can go get it. Because those gaps are big.”
Hyde today said he was excited that Single-A Delmarva has qualified for the playoffs, the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles posted the best record in their league, and Double-A Bowie and short-season Single-A Aberdeen may also be playoff-bound.
“Yeah, we’re really excited about so many positive things that have happened in our minor league system this year,” Hyde said. “Lot of breakthrough guys and some prospects that have really stepped up and had really solid years. That is what we wanted coming into this year. Hoping (in) our organization that the talent level would improve.”
All tied up: Jorge Soler’s 38th homer of the year put the Royals ahead in the bottom of the first. In the top of the second, Jonathan Villar singled, stole second and scored on Pedro Severino’s RBI single.
O’s on top: In the third, Hanser Alberto doubled, his team-record 74th hit this season against a left-hander, and moved to third on Trey Mancini’s single. Anthony Santander then crushed a three-run homer to left for a 4-1 O’s lead. Villar doubled, stole third and scored on a Severino single, and Richie Martin’s sac fly plated Severino to make it 6-1.
Royals get one back: Cheslor Cuthbert’s run-scoring single in the fourth cut the O’s lead to 6-2.
Alberto on fire: Alberto’s fourth hit of the night, a two-run double in the fifth, made it 8-2 Orioles.
Stop, thief!: The O’s added to their lead in the seventh when Villar reached on an infield single, moved to third on Severino’s double and swiped home on the front end of a double steal. Villar has three stolen bases tonight. Severino later scored on an error to make it 10-2.
Not done yet: RBI singles in the eighth by Renato Núñez and Severino upped the O’s lead to 12-2.
Means worked seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
More runs: Núñez singled home a run and Villar plated another with a sac fly in the ninth. The O’s take a 14-2 lead to the bottom of the ninth.
It’s a final: The Orioles bang out a season-best 21 hits in a 14-2 rout of the Royals. Alberto went 5-for-6 and Severino had four hits. Means wins his 10th game of the season.