With the return of outfielder Joey Rickard from the disabled list, the Orioles now have a five-man bench.
That could change with the impending returns of closer Zach Britton and starter Chris Tillman, but it’s possible the Orioles still will go with a revolving sixth man in the bullpen and keep five offensive reserves.
What this means, at least for now, is Buck Showalter will be able to continue platoon ball, having Trey Mancini and Rickard (and occasionally Craig Gentry) start against lefties and Hyun Soo Kim and Seth Smith play against righties.
At this point, Mark Trumbo plays against left-handers and righties. I know he’s struggled this year, but he has earned that right.
Personally, I like the way Showalter is using his bench, and I’m curious to see what kind of things he will do with five reserves at the ready. Having Gentry available to come off the pine and bunt or steal a base or truck in from second on a single is a particularly intriguing weapon Showalter hasn’t had consistently during his tenure here.
But that also means you won’t get to see what Mancini can do as an everyday guy. Or Rickard or Kim. Or even Smith, who, when he was acquired, was hoping he’d get another shot versus southpaws.
We all know platoons can work – the Orioles of the 1970s and early 1980s proved that.
So, I’m curious. Do you like the outfield/DH platoons or would you rather give all the playing time to Mancini or Kim, for instance?
Tap-In Question: To platoon or not to platoon at DH and in the outfield?
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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