In his latest Inside Baseball notes column, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes that while many expect the Orioles to focus on pitching help in the seemingly inevitable event that they shop Manny Machado to contending clubs, some familiar with the team’s thinking also believe they’ll be keen on pursuing additional infield talent. With Machado hitting the market at season’s end and Jonathan Schoop only controlled through 2019, the O’s are set to lose two of the league’s better infielders in a short period of time. Prospect Ryan Mountcastle could conceivably emerge as an option in the infield, though he began the season on the DL with a fractured hand, and there’s been quite a bit of debate as to where he’ll fit on the field. Heyman also notes that he spoke to a scout who said that setup man/closer Brad Brach’s stuff is “a little down” thus far in 2018, though the same scout offered no hesitation in stating that he’d “still take” Brach in his team’s bullpen.
Here’s more out of Baltimore…
- Eduardo A. Encina provides some insight into the injury that sent righty Darren O’Day to the 10-day disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow. O’Day explains that a “freak accident” occurred during the middle innings of Tuesday’s game as he began stretching and getting loose. A teammate inadvertently ran into his arm while he was stretching it, hyperextending the right elbow and initially causing O’Day to fear that he’d suffered a serious injury. An MRI revealed no structural damage in O’Day’s right arm, and manager Buck Showalter actually said that the MRI was “remarkably good” for a pitcher in his mid-30s.
- Showalter also addressed the media about an injury sustained by infielder Engelb Vielma while playing with Triple-A Norfolk (link via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com). Vielma suffered a broken patella when chasing down a foul pop and tripping over a bullpen mound in foul territory, ultimately smashing his knee into a portion of exposed concrete at the Durham Bulls’ field (the Rays’ top affiliate). Showalter was not shy about expressing his anger over the matter calling the injury both “brutal” and suggesting it could have easily been avoided. “It’s hard for me to imagine in today’s game that we can’t make that mandatory, Triple-A and Double-A and the big leagues,” said the skipper. “We have mounds on the playing field. Really? It just infuriates me.” There’s no timeline on Vielma’s return, though Showalter said it’ll be “an extended period.” The 23-year-old defensive whiz made his big league debut with the O’s earlier this season, though he made just eight plate appearances in six games. Both pieces from Encina and Kubatko have additional quotes from a lengthy Showalter rant that expresses his frustration with the circumstances that led to the injury.