The Orioles announced today that left-hander Keegan Akin has been placed on the 10-day injured list. Baltimore selected the contract of catcher Nick Ciuffo and recalled right-hander Joey Krehbiel from Triple-A Norfolk. Akin will undergo abdominal surgery in the near future, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Trezza. He’s expected to be ready for Spring Training 2022.
A former second-round draft pick, Akin has been regarded as one of the better young pitchers in the Orioles’ system over the past few years. He’s posted strong strikeout rates throughout his minor league tenure to earn his first big league look last season.
Akin has yet to carry that lower-level success over against MLB hitters. He’s tossed 120 2/3 big league frames over the past couple years, managing just a 6.19 ERA with slightly worse than average strikeout and walk rates (21.5% and 9.2%, respectively). Excepting John Means, the Orioles have gotten very little from their starting pitching options this season. That should give Akin another opportunity to stake a claim to a permanent rotation spot in 2022, assuming he’s back at full strength next spring as expected.
Ciuffo returns to the big leagues for the first time in two years. He’s a former first-round pick and highly-regarded prospect himself, but the 26-year-old wound up tallying just 50 MLB plate appearances with the Rays, his original organization. Ciuffo spent last season with the Rangers on a minor league deal but never landed a big league opportunity and reentered minor league free agency last winter.
The O’s added Ciuffo on another minors deal in December. He was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk but only picked up 58 plate appearances there after losing most of the season to injury. The left-handed hitter will get an opportunity to back up Pedro Severino and Austin Wynns for the season’s final few games. He’d be controllable well beyond this season if the O’s front office decides to carry him on the 40-man roster through the upcoming offseason.