Mike Wright has been the odd man out once already this year, but received a reprieve.
He won’t get a second stay of demotion after another rough showing Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.
He was in line to start Wednesday against the San Diego Padres, but the Orioles need to make two moves Saturday to activate shortstop J.J. Hardy and Saturday’s starter Yovani Gallardo from the disabled list. They also may need to bring up a third player from the minors to pitch behind Gallardo, who hasn’t appeared in a big-league game since April 22.
Wright and his 6.12 ERA couldn’t survive those transactions. He was sent back to Norfolk after Friday’s game.
“After each game, especially one like this, the chairs kind of move around,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
What’s complicated is what the Orioles do for a starter Wednesday and then again as part of Saturday’s doubleheader.
We’ll get to that in a second.
First, let’s discuss Wright, who gave up a career-high eight runs and lasted just 3 2/3 innings Friday. It was worse than his outing Saturday in Toronto, when he yielded four runs in five innings. He’s an honest guy, that’s for sure.
“I threw some good pitches, threw some bad pitches. They hit them both,” said Wright, who is now 3-4 with one quality start in his last six outings. “I’m working harder than ever. When you’re working hard, and get those results, it’s tough.”
Take away his “do-over start June 6 – he allowed one unearned run in seven innings against Kansas City after initially being sent to the minors earlier in the week – and Wright has allowed 18 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings in those three outings.
“That’s when the hard work started,” he said of the Kansas City game. “Got really good results at first and then ran into the Blue Jays twice.”
So the thought is he’ll pitch in the Norfolk rotation, though I’d still like to see him go to the Tides’ bullpen and unleash that arm one inning at a time; the Orioles aren’t ready to make that transition with the 26-year-old.
That leaves a TBA for Wednesday’s game. It could be Odrisamer Despaigne, who was promoted this week and is pitching out of the bullpen, but was in Norfolk’s rotation. It’s possible it could be lefty T.J. McFarland or, gasp, Ubaldo Jimenez, though the deposed starter was bad again Friday, serving up two homers and five runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
With every awful pitch, there’s more pressure on executive vice president Dan Duquette to cut bait with the 32-year-old Jimenez, who now has a 7.34 ERA and roughly $21 million left on the four-year deal he signed in 2014.
The Orioles could reach back into the minors for Wednesday’s starter, but again there are no obvious answers. David Hale, who was on the 40-man roster, was scratched from his start Friday with a right calf injury. Lefty Chris Lee is on the DL at Double-A Bowie. Joe Gunkel could get a shot, perhaps.
The Orioles also will need a starter for one of Saturday’s doubleheader games. That could be another reprieve for Wright, who could come back as the 26th man to spot start in one of those, even though he wouldn’t have been in the minors for the required 10 days following a demotion. He’d have to go right back down to the minors – and he wouldn’t be able to start this week for the Tides if there is a plan for him to pitch for the Orioles on Saturday.
As Showalter said, many moving parts, many possibilities.
As I paraphrase, no particularly inspiring possibilities right now.