With Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle sidelined, the Orioles needed first base help and recalled Tyler Nevin from Triple-A Norfolk.
Nevin, who was obtained in the trade that sent right-handed reliever Mychal Givens to the Colorado Rockies last August 31st, was batting .212 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 17 games for Triple-A Norfolk. He’ll turn 24 on Saturday.
Nevin is batting eighth and playing first base for the Orioles in their game at Chicago on Friday night. The Orioles are trying to end a 10-game losing streak.
Mancini suffered a bruised right elbow when he was hit by a pitch from Chicago’s Dylan Cease on Thursday night and left the game in the first inning. Mountcastle was hit on his left hand on Tuesday night and suffered a bruise. He hasn’t played since.
“We dodged a bullet with Mancini,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s feeling a lot better. The elbow’s still sore, but he feels like he should be good to go in the next day or two, so we’re encouraged by that.
“Mountcastle’s hand is also feeling a lot better today. He’s taking some swings in the cage right now. I’m hoping he’ll potentially be available off the bench tonight and maybe get a start this weekend.”
Pat Valaika filled in at first base after Mancini left the game, and the Orioles could have had Valaika and Stevie Wilkerson play at first and promoted a middle infielder.
“We thought about numerous moves,” Hyde said. “But we decided to give Tyler an opportunity to play first base tonight and see what he could do. We discussed a lot of things, but we’re going with Tyler.”
Nevin, the son of New York Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin, was with the Orioles during spring training. Nevin also can play third, left and right field.
“I was texting with his dad this afternoon, congratulating him and his family for Tyler making his debut tonight,” Hyde said. “He’s got some pop, kind of a corner guy that can hit some homers for you. In spring training, I thought he used the whole field well. He put some power numbers up in Norfolk.
“Hopefully, against [White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel], he’ll take some good at-bats and not too anxious making his debut tonight. Looking forward to watching him …”
To make room for Nevin on the roster, the Orioles optioned left-handed pitcher Brandon Waddell to Norfolk. Waddell pitched a scoreless inning in Thursday night’s 5-1 loss to the White Sox.
Nevin will be the 37th player used by the Orioles in their 51st game.
Rodriguez moves up to Bowie: Grayson Rodriguez, who was the Orioles’ first pick in the 2018 draft, was promoted from High-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie.
The 21-year-old right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA in five starts for the IronBirds, allowing just 11 hits in 23 1/3 innings, striking out 40 and walking just five.
Rodriguez pitched on Thursday for Aberdeen. His debut for the Baysox will come next week when the team is on the road. His first game at Prince George’s Stadium likely will be when Bowie returns from its road trip against Akron the week of June 15th.
Holmes filling in: Darren Holmes, who’s normally in the bullpen, has been filling in for Chris Holt, the team’s pitching coach, while he’s been on personal leave this month. He’s had to counsel some of the Orioles’ young pitchers, particularly Dean Kremer, who was sent to Triple-A Norfolk earlier this week.
“Sometimes getting sent down is actually a blessing in disguise,” Holmes said. “It gives a player a blow from the magnitude of the stress that goes on here early single day of competing. You want to do well for your team.
“You get down and you get a little bit of a breather. To go down, still pitching, still doing the stuff that you do every day, your normal routine, it’s the same thing, it’s just not [in] his environment. It can be really good for them to do that.”
Holmes said that late in his 13-year major league career he accepted a minor league assignment, even when he didn’t have options, and it turned out well for him.
“No one wants to get sent down,” he said. “You always want to be in the big leagues, but at the same time, once they get there, I usually tell them: ‘You don’t know this, but this is probably the best thing that’s going to happen to you.’”