While you are waiting for the game to start Saturday afternoon, I figured I’d let you know we are waiting, too.
J.J. Hardy is in the starting lineup, but a corresponding move has not been announced.
As Orioles manager Buck Showalter says, it’s complicated.
It’s actually really complicated if you consider all of the situations swirling around the Orioles right now.
The simple move would be to take an infielder off the 25-man roster – and that’s likely what will happen before game time. The best guess is veteran defensive whiz Paul Janish, but he would have to be designated and possibly lost on waivers.
Ryan Flaherty can be optioned to the minors without passing through waivers, but he is ahead of Janish on the depth chart.
And whoever remains is going to have to play a lot this week, because the sense is Manny Machado will drop the appeal of his four-game suspension and start serving it. When that happens, the Orioles will be down to 24 players for four games. And, technically, down two infielders.
The Orioles could send another pitcher out instead of an infielder, but that’s also complicated. Because by sending Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk after another rough start Friday, the Orioles need a starting pitcher Wednesday.
That person likely comes from the bullpen – Odrisamer Despaigne, Ubaldo Jimenez, T.J. McFarland? – but those guys also have to be in play for pitching in long relief in case a starter gets into trouble before Wednesday.
It’s really a consideration today, when Yovani Gallardo makes his first big-league start since April. It’s not expected that he’ll go too deeply into the game, since he is working his shoulder back into form. So he’s going to have to be backed up by someone, likely Despaigne.
There’s also a slight complication Saturday, when the Orioles play in a day-night doubleheader. They have the ability to bring up someone from the minors – a 26th man – to start, though it is more likely they’ll pitch a combination of Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman or Gallardo – Thursday’s off day gives them that luxury.
Got all that?
One other thing from Saturday’s pre-game conference: Showalter said Wright will start for Norfolk at Triple-A. At this point, the Orioles continue to think of him as starter. In fact, Showalter said if the organization wanted to limit him in Wednesday’s start, he could be an option to come back up for a spot start Saturday. But that seems like a longshot.