BALTIMORE—Tyler Wells’ stint on the 10-day injured list gives Conner Greene an apportunity to make his major league debut. Greene, a 26-year-old right-hander, had his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday.
Greene was 1-3 with a 7.39 ERA in nine games with Norfolk. He started three times. He was on the taxi squad for several Orioles’ road trips.
“I haven’t been looking at how it may end up,” Greene said “I’ve been worrying about my own pitching and how I can get better, so that when I am here, I’m ready to deliver and give them what they need.”
A number of pitchers have made their major league debuts — Jay Flaa, Mickey Jannis, Zac Lowther, Isaac Mattson, Konner Wade, Spenser Watkins and Alexander Wells.
“I’m just happy,” Greene said. “They’re all just good guys. Flaa, Jannis, they all spent some time in the minor leagues, as I have to, so we’re all journeymen trying to make it. I couldn’t be happier for them when I did. I’m glad that I’m getting my shot, too.”
The team record for players used in a season is 58 in 2019. Greene would be the 48th player used by the Orioles this season.
“It was something I envisioned my entire life,” Greene said. “I go to sleep dreaming about it.”
Some managers joke with players, trying to make them think they’re in trouble before telling them they’re going to the big leagues. Norfolk manager Gary Kendall was straightforward with Greene.
“This time they purchased your contract. Congratulations, kid, you’re going to the bigs,” Greene said Kendall told him. “I was shaking. I couldn’t wait to tell my dad. We put in years and years of hard work together to be here. [It’s] as much his dream as it is mine. I couldn’t wait to call my pops and share it with him. It was amazing.”
Greene is friendly with actor Charlie Sheen and appeared as an extra in “Anger Management” several years ago. He’s supposedly known for his sense of humor.
“I’m a little nervous right now,” Greene said. “Maybe you’ll get to see it. Maybe sitcom comedy.”
Because left-hander Keegan Akin and outfielder Anthony Santander are on the Covid-19 injured list, they are temporarily off the 40-man roster, so room didn’t have to be made for Greene.
“This guy’s got an awesome, awesome personality,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We saw him a lot in spring training. He was there almost the entire camp, had a lot of appearances. He’s somebody that’s pitched at the upper levels for a while now. He’s just hasn’t gotten a major league opportunity.
“He was once a high prospect with Toronto. He’s got a really good arm. It’s really about command and being able to throw strikes. A little up and down season in Triple-A, hoping he comes up here and pitches well … With Wellsy going down, we need a bullpen arm, and I like Conner’s stuff. It’s all about command with him.”
Hyde said he anticipated that Wells, who has tendinitis in his right wrist, will be ready when he’s eligible to come off the injured list on July 31st.
Valdez waiting: César Valdez began the season as the Orioles’ closer, recording eight saves with four blown opportunities.
Valdez spent time on the 10-day injured list because of a lower-back strain. Since he came off the injured list on July 4th, he’s pitched four times. In the first two appearances, he gave up five runs on five hits in two innings, but has since thrown five scoreless innings.
He’s 2-1 with a 5.88 ERA.
“I feel well, thank God. I feel healthy,” Valdez said through a translator. “I just feel ready to go.”
Valdez’s last two appearances have been in the middle innings.
“It’s the same,” Valdez said. “I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunity the manager is providing, and hopefully continue to do a good job.”
At 36, Valdez is the oldest Oriole, but this season is his longest in the majors.
“It’s been a big step,” Valdez said. “It’s very gratifying to be here. I’m very thankful for the opportunity the organization has given me despite streaks where things have not gone well. They stick with me, so I really appreciate that, and I’m really looking forward to continuing to help the team any way I can.”
Scherzer scratched: Washington scratched starting pitcher Max Scherzer because of mild triceps discomfort. He’s being replaced by left-hander Jon Lester, who was scheduled to go on Sunday.