Jump away from the Orioles’ roster carousel – it’s spinning furiously again.
The club announced Tuesday that right-hander Oliver Drake has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and veteran infielder Paul Janish has been outrighted to Norfolk.
In addition, lefty reliever Brian Duensing is dealing with an elbow injury and was not available Monday in Texas. He is being further examined today, and, so, obviously, he’s unavailable again.
All of that made Orioles manager Buck Showalter dust off his “moving parts” line about the state of his roster.
Things are up in the air to the point that Showalter has not yet named a starter for Wednesday against the Padres. You’d think that former Padre Odrisamer Despaigne is the most likely candidate, but he might have to be used in relief Tuesday night.
Another possibility would be moving deposed starter Ubaldo Jimenez back to the rotation.
If you don’t like that scenario, here’s another option (and I’m going to duck): Showalter wasn’t specific, but, reading between the lines, the Duensing situation sounded like the DL is looming. If that’s the case, then Mike Wright could be in line for a second do-over. The big right-hander has already been sent to Triple-A, only to be recalled before he pitched for Norfolk because an injury with the big league club occurred.
Wright is scheduled to start Wednesday for the Tides in Virginia, but could be recalled if he again is replacing a player who is injured (potentially Duensing).
My guess here is that the Orioles really don’t want to play that game again with Wright. They want him to get things going at Triple-A. And I can’t imagine the Orioles’ decision-makers want Jimenez to start again so soon when his first relief outing showed no improvement over his disastrous starting results this year.
So that would leave Despaigne for Wednesday.
It could be a one-and-done starting situation for the Cuban right-hander, since the Orioles could bring up someone for a spot start during Saturday’s doubleheader – like T.J. McFarland, who started for the Tides on Monday. Or the Orioles could have Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman pitch those Saturday games and then the club would need another starter – Despaigne? – on June 28 at San Diego.
So, yeah, another pitching mystery to consider with this makeshift and shaky rotation.
Here are two other things involving Tuesday’s moves:
Janish, 33, hit just .194 in 14 games with the Orioles this year. But he is a good defender that provided insurance while Manny Machado is serving his suspension. Now the Orioles will play these two games versus the Padres without a utility infielder. Ryan Flaherty will be the starter at third, and Pedro Alvarez likely will fill in there if needed.
Showalter is hopeful that Janish accepts the outright and goes back to the Tides. He passed through waivers, so no team immediately grabbed him. But he can refuse the assignment and become a free agent. He has three days to make that decision.
On the flip side, the Orioles now have 39 players on their roster so they can add someone from the minors who previously wasn’t on the 40-man without making a corresponding move.
With Duensing unavailable, the Orioles now have no lefty in the bullpen besides closer Zach Britton. Showalter makes the point that both Drake and Brad Brach are effective against left-handed and right-handed hitters, so he’s not as worried about that situation.
But I wouldn’t think the Orioles would go very long without a matchup lefty – or a long relief lefty, anyway – in the bullpen.