The Orioles announced a flurry of moves this afternoon, including the news that infielder Domingo Leyba has been claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Infielder Ramon Urias and right-hander Travis Lakins have been called up from Norfolk, and righty Hunter Harvey has been activated off the 60-day injured list.
To create roster space, right-hander Shawn Armstrong and lefty Brandon Waddell were designated for assignment. (Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reported earlier today that Waddell was being DFA’ed.) Additionally, infielder Pat Valaika was placed on the bereavement list.
Leyba was designated for assignment just two days ago. The 25-year-old went hitless (with two walks) in 24 plate appearances for Arizona this season, following a very respectable .807 OPS over his first 30 career big league PA in 2019. This wide range of production comes on the heels of a solid .290/.347/.434 slash line in 2624 PA in the minors as part of the Diamondbacks’ and Tigers’ farm systems since 2013. Leyba put up particularly big numbers with Arizona’s Triple-A team in 2018-19, though the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League environment might have played a role considering his more modest career output in previous years.
Harvey suffered a left oblique strain in mid-March, and is now set to finally make his 2021 debut. Injuries have pretty much been the story of Harvey’s career since being selected 22nd overall in the 2013 draft, as his MLB resume consists of only 15 total innings in 2019-20. Even that small sample size still hints at some promise, however, as Harvey’s fastball sits in the high 90’s and he has struck out 17 of his 63 batters faced. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told The Athletic’s Dan Connelly and other reporters that Harvey will be used in a variety of bullpen roles, with seemingly no concession made to his injury history — he’ll be deployed “like a regular piece in the bullpen,” Hyde said.
Since being claimed off waivers from the Mariners in April 2019, Armstrong has been something of a workhorse out of the Baltimore pen, appearing in 85 games and tossing 89 1/3 innings. The results weren’t always there, however, as Armstrong had a 5.34 ERA during his stint in the orange and black. Armstrong is out of minor league options, so the O’s had no choice but to designate him and expose him to a potential waiver claim.
Waddell was a waiver pickup himself, selected by the Orioles off of the Twins’ roster in early May. He has pitched in only one game for the O’s and two games for Triple-A Norfolk, as Kubatko notes that Waddell was delayed by the intake process required by COVID-19 protocols. A longtime member of the Pirates’ minor league system, Waddell has seen MLB action with the Bucs, Twins, and Orioles over the last two seasons, with a 6.48 ERA over 8 1/3 total career innings in the big leagues.