- The Orioles announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Julio Borbon and optioned righty Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk. The 30-year-old Borbon briefly played for the Orioles this season but has spent most of the year with Double-A Bowie, where he’s batted .275/.336/.362 with 28 stolen bases. He’s hit sparingly in parts of five seasons in the big leagues, but his speed might make him an effective tactical player if the O’s opt to stick with him until rosters expand.
Wade Davis is making progress on his way back to the Royals, as he’s set for an inning of action at Triple-A, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. Kansas City has thrived without their 30-year-old closer, but that doesn’t mean his return doesn’t come with anticipation. The defending World Series champs have clawed their way back into the postseason picture — no surprise for this group — but still sits four games out of Wild Card position and need every advantage that can be found.
Here’s more from the American League:
- The Mariners optioned outfielder Nori Aoki to Triple-A tonight as part of a series of roster moves, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times was among those to tweet. While he has struggled for much of the year, Aoki has actually been quite useful at the plate in August with a .338/.392/.426 batting line for the month. But Seattle needed fresh arms, and so took advantage of the ability to remove the veteran from the active roster for the time being. He’ll surely be back shortly with rosters expanding in a few days.
- Orioles outfielder Adam Jones left tonight’s action with what the team is calling a hamstring strain. That could be a big problem for the O’s, who not only need Jones’s bat in the lineup but don’t have any ready replacements on their depth chart. But skipper Buck Showalter says that he doesn’t believe Jones will require a DL stint, as Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com tweets.
- Earlier today, the Orioles designated righty Logan Ondrusek off of their active roster. Unlike a typical DFA, the move simply puts the player on ice while he is passed through optional assignment waives. The procedural step was taken to enable the team to reinstate lefty T.J. McFarland from the DL.
- The Angels have hired a new amateur scouting, adding former Cardinals cross-checker Matt Swanson, as ESPN.com’s Keith Law reported on Twitter. Los Angeles has continued to experience change in the upper levels of its player intake and development departments, which is no surprise given that GM Billy Eppler only took the helm last October.
- Just like their AL West rivals, the Athletics are engaged in a complicated ballpark situation, though their’s may be trending away from their current digs at the O.Co Coliseum. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier & Ross recently provided a look at the latest on the search for a new site, with quiet majority owner John Fisher said to be looking closely at a spot in Oakland’s Howard Terminal that is the preferred spot of mayor Libby Schaaf.
The Indians announced this afternoon that they’ve released right-hander Tommy Hunter. The veteran reliever hasn’t pitched in the Majors since mid-July due to the fact that he was placed on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his back that he sustained in a fall at his home over the All-Star break (as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported at the time).
Hunter, 30, inked a one-year, $2MM pact with the Indians as a free agent this offseason and opened the season on the disabled list as he recovered from sports hernia surgery. He pitched well upon activation, however, logging a 3.74 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 in 21 2/3 innings out of the Cleveland bullpen. After struggling as a starter for much of his early career with the Rangers and Orioles, Hunter carved out a nice role for himself as a reliever, posting a 3.26 ERA in 207 1/3 innings from 2013-15.
Hunter had already begun a minor league rehab assignment, pitching six innings with Triple-A Columbus over the past couple of weeks and appearing in a game as recently as yesterday, so there’s reason to believe that he could still pitch at the big league level this season despite his recent injury troubles.
TODAY: Baltimore announced the move, sending Tillman to the shelf and adding righty Mike Wright to take his place on the active roster. Tillman is said to be dealing with bursitis in his shoulder.
[RELATED: Updated Orioles Depth Chart]
YESTERDAY: The Orioles will likely place top starter Chris Tillman on the disabled list due to discomfort in his right shoulder, manager Buck Showalter revealed to reporters following tonight’s win over the Nationals (Twitter link via Rich Dubroff of CSN Mid Atlantic). Earlier this afternoon, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko wrote that Showalter gave an ominous message regarding Tillman, stating that the right-hander “did not have a good work day today” following a bullpen session that “did not go well.” The O’s are hopeful that because they’re able to backdate the DL trip to three days ago, Tillman will be able to be activated as soon as he is eligible, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun.
The loss of Tillman is a huge blow to an Orioles staff that already had a thin rotation. In 26 starts this year, Tillman has 3.76 ERA and tallied 153 innings of work. Tillman and fellow righty Kevin Gausman are the only qualified starters with an ERA south of 4.00 on the team (Gausman’s strong outing tonight just pushed him underneath that mark). Remaining starters Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo, Wade Miley, Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, Vance Worley and Dylan Bundy have combined to log a 5.70 ERA on the season. Bundy has actually pitched quite well since moving into the rotation, but innings concerns make it difficult to pencil him in for regular starts down the stretch after he was scarcely able to pitch due to injury in 2014-15.
Braves right fielder Nick Markakis, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, White Sox right-hander James Shields and Dodgers southpaw Scott Kazmir have each cleared trade waivers, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Friday (Twitter link). The four players’ teams are now free to trade them to any other major league club.
The only member of the group who’s unsigned beyond this season is Wieters, who’s a starter on an Orioles team that entered Saturday in possession of an American League wild-card spot and only 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the AL East. The soon-to-be 31-year-old is amid one of the worst offensive seasons of his career, having posted a .240/.294/.381 batting line with 10 home runs in 340 plate appearances. Wieters has been a roughly league-average hitter throughout his career, including last season (.267/.319/.422 in 282 PAs). Defensively, StatCorner has assigned Wieters negative pitch-framing marks five years running, while Baseball Prospectus hasn’t looked favorably on his work in that department since 2012.
The Orioles tendered a $15.8MM qualifying offer last November to Wieters, who accepted it and is once again scheduled for free agency at the conclusion of this season. Baltimore could give him another qualifying offer (if they’re still around should a new collective bargaining agreement be in place by then), but that doesn’t seem likely to happen. It’s also doubtful the contending Orioles will trade Wieters, who has upward of $3.7MM remaining on his contract, especially given fellow backstop Caleb Joseph’s ugly performance this year.
Like Wieters, Kazmir is also part of a team with championship aspirations. Kazmir, who signed with the Dodgers over the winter, is owed $16MM in each of the next two seasons, but he has the ability to opt out of his deal after this year. Kazmir’s run prevention (4.41 ERA) has been a letdown in 132 2/3 innings this season, although he has recorded an outstanding K/9 (9.02) to go with a 3.32 BB/9 and a superb 15.2 percent infield fly rate. And while Kazmir has regularly dealt with injuries throughout his career, he has been one of the few consistently healthy Dodgers starters this year. As a member of a first-place team that’s in no place to be moving pitching depth, a Kazmir trade probably isn’t in the cards.
- The Orioles will sign lefty-hitting outfielder Chris Dickerson to a minor league deal and assign him to Double-A Bowie, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com writes. He could be called up to the Orioles in September. The Orioles are looking for outfield depth in the wake of Joey Rickard’s thumb injury. Connolly writes that they briefly considered pursuing Carlos Gomez, although that idea didn’t advance very far. The 34-year-old Dickerson played 38 games in the Blue Jays organization last season before undergoing shoulder surgery. He last appeared in the big leagues with the Indians in 2014 and has a career .257/.335/.395 line in parts of seven Major League seasons. He played for the Orioles in 2013.
- With Darren O’Day back on the DL, BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dan Connolly opines that the Orioles should try to acquire a veteran southpaw reliever to fill the void. Connolly reports that the O’s looked into the Rockies’ Boone Logan and the Padres’ Brad Hand and Ryan Buchter prior to the trade deadline, so it’s possible the Orioles could revisit those talks, though it will be much harder to complete a deal through August trade waivers.
- The Orioles have released left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, according to Rich Dubroff of CSN Mid-Atlantic (on Twitter). Gorzelanny’s tenure with Baltimore, which signed him to a minor league deal on July 24, was a short one. The 34-year-old worked six innings for their Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk and allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits and five walks. Gorzelanny, who spent some time with Cleveland this year before it designated him for assignment in June, tossed 39 1/3 frames of 5.95 ERA ball last season in Detroit.
The Orioles have announced that they’ve placed righty Darren O’Day on the 15-day DL (retroactive to August 12) with a right shoulder rotator cuff strain. To take his place on the active roster, they’ve recalled righty Tyler Wilson from Triple-A Norfolk. The seriousness of the injury isn’t yet known.
O’Day has been one of the AL’s best relievers in each of the past several seasons, but he hasn’t quite been up to his usual standards this year — he’s issued 4.3 walks per nine innings, more than doubling his 2015 walk rate and contributing to a jump in his ERA from 1.52 to 3.95. He’s also pitched just 27 1/3 innings, missing most of June and July to a hamstring strain. Nonetheless, he’s maintained a very respectable 10.9 K/9.
The 26-year-old Wilson has pitched 85 innings for the Orioles this season, most of them as a starter, posting a 4.98 ERA, 4.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. The O’s optioned him to the minors last week. There’s been no official word from the Orioles, but it appears they’ll use him as a reliever this time, since the rotation has been healthy and effective lately.