Leyba trying to make most of opportunity with Orioles; Richie Martin update; Franco, Santander sit - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Leyba trying to make most of opportunity with Orioles; Richie Martin update; Franco, Santander sit

Domingo Leyba, whom the Orioles acquired on waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 4th, is still looking for his first major league hit of 2021.

Leyba, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, played second base and was hitless in four at-bats. While with the Diamondbacks, Leyba was 0-for-22.

“[I’m] really trying not to put a lot of pressure. [I’m] just trying to get a good at-bat, make contact on it,” Leyba said through a translator. “Hopefully, the process will lead to better results on the field.”

Leyba, who hit .280 in 21 games with Arizona in 2019, has hit well in Triple-A. In 16 games at Triple-A Reno this year, Leyba hit .457 (16-for-35) with four home runs and 14 RBIs in eight games. At Norfolk, Leyba was hitting .279 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 15 games.

“This is a huge opportunity that’s been presented to me,” Leyba said. “I’ve been through a lot, so now’s the time to put that hard work to work … I do believe this is a new beginning. Hopefully, good things come along.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said that he talks with his new players about the chance to earn a job in the major leagues by playing well.

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“That definitely comes up in the conversation,” Hyde said. “This is a rare opportunity. You play well here right now, you’re going to play. You pitch well, you’re going to pitch. It’s not like that everywhere. It’s been like that for a few years.

“I think guys are very aware that this is a unique opportunity to be a major league player right now.”

Leyba is playing third base and batting seventh in Monday night’s game against the Astros.

Martin progressing: Richie Martin, who underwent surgery in mid-May to repair a broken left wrist, is on the 60-day injured list. Had he been healthy, Martin would have been an easy call to replace the injured Freddy Galvis, who will be out a month or two because of a right quadriceps injury.

“He is starting his hitting progression early-to-mid-July,” Hyde said. “He should be playing games in early August if everything goes well.”

Franco, Santander sit: Third baseman Maikel Franco, who’s hitting .206, his lowest since June 13th, is not in the lineup. Nor is outfielder Anthony Santander, who’s hitting .233, his lowest since May 21st when he returned from a month on the injured list because of a sprained left ankle.

“Franco’s been struggling, and I wanted to see Pat [Valaika] out there, and I wanted to see Leyba play again,” Hyde said. “His [Santander’s] ankle is starting to feel a little bit better. He’s beating himself up a little bit. Offensively, with the bat, he wants to contribute so bad. It’s just not coming right now.”

Hyde said that both are healthy and available to play.

Mystery starter for Tuesday: Hyde isn’t sure about Tuesday’s starter. He could start left-hander Alexander Wells, who pitched two scoreless innings in his major league debut on Saturday. He also could start Adam Plutko or Travis Lakins and make it a bullpen game. The Orioles are off on Thursday.

“Tomorrow’s starter has not been announced because we’re going to see what happens after our ballgame tonight,” Hyde said. “We’re going to get through tonight and figure out tomorrow.”

Minor Matter: Play began for the two Orioles’ teams in the Florida Complex League on Monday.

The Orioles’ Black team defeated the Twins, 6-1, in six innings. Jean Pinto pitched four innings, allowing a run on two hits, striking out six and walking one.

Third baseman Coby Mayo, the Orioles’ fourth-round draft choice in 2020, made his professional debut and went 1-for-3. First baseman Josue Cruz had two hits, including a home run. Centerfielder Luis Gonzalez, who received a $475,000 bonus to sign with the Orioles in July 2019, had two hits.

The Orioles’ Orange team lost to the Pirates Black, 9-0. Connor Loeprich started and pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit. Dan Hammer, the Orioles’ 13th-round pick in 2019, allowed four runs without allowing a hit. He walked four and was tagged with the loss.

Most of the players on both teams are recent signees and acquisitions from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Former Orioles bullpen coach Alan Mills, who managed in the Gulf Coast League in 2019, is managing the Orioles’ Black team. Kevin Bradshaw, who managed Aberdeen in 2019, is managing the Orioles’ Orange team.

Orioles Hall of Fame luncheon: Longtime Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, outfielder Mike Devereaux, broadcaster Joe Angel and Orioles superfan Mo Gaba, who died of cancer last July, will be honored at the Orioles’ Hall of Fame luncheon on Friday August 6th at 12 p.m. at Camden Yards.

Tickets are available by contacting Keiko Baker (443-596-7691 or [email protected]. Tickets for a pre-lunch VIP reception are also available.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will precede the Orioles-Rays game on August 7th.

Call for questions: Later this week, I’ll be answering your Orioles questions. Please leave them in the comment box or email them to: [email protected]

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