When Freddy Galvis injured his right quadriceps on June 26th, it appeared as if the Orioles were without an accomplished replacement at shortstop. Now, it’s evident that Ramón Urías is a more-than-adequate defensive player, and he has hit well, too.
In 50 games, Urías is batting .277 with four home runs and 24 RBIs. He’s made a believer of manager Brandon Hyde.
“Pleasantly surprised,” Hyde said. “When he came up last year, he hit some balls hard, primarily to the right side of the field. I never saw him really get one to the pull side, so I never knew how that was going to work when the pitchers made adjustments to him.
“Early on this year, same thing. He’s always had a simple swing. His swing really hasn’t changed. It’s just about being a little more on time and catching the ball a little bit more out front. I like that he doesn’t chase. He swings at strikes for the most part, and he’s played really consistent defense.”
Urías was an unknown when he was claimed on waivers from St. Louis on February 11, 2020.
“Give him credit for a guy that got an opportunity,” Hyde said. “He’s making the most of it. I’m really, really happy with how he’s playing.”
Hyde expects Urías to play regularly in the final 60 games after the Orioles traded Galvis to Philadelphia on Friday.
“If Freddy was with us, I was going to move him to second base,” Hyde said. “When Freddy needed a day off, move him back to short. Now that Freddy’s with the Phillies, he’s going to be our primary shortstop.”
The Orioles also have Richie Martin, who has been on the 60-day injured list because of a fractured left wrist. Martin has played two rehab games with Double-A Bowie. He missed the 2020 season because of a fractured right wrist. Alhough the Orioles would like to take a look at him at short, too, that might not happen this season.
“I don’t know what the plan is right now with Richie,” Hyde said. “Once Richie plays a little bit more, we’ll make a decision. Richie hasn’t played [much] in Triple-A, either.”
Martin was selected in the Rule 5 draft in December 2018 and went straight from Double-A ball in the Oakland organization to the Orioles.
The plan was for Martin to play shortstop for Norfolk in 2020, but the pandemic changed that, and then he fractured his wrist on a slide in summer camp.
This year, Martin began the season at Norfolk and hit .170 in 13 games for the Tides, 11 at shortstop and two in center field. The injury occurred when Martin was playing center.
“He hasn’t had a Triple-A season,” Hyde said. “It was something going into this season that we thought was important, and last year was for Richie to get Triple-A playing time defensively as well as offensively, get some at-bats at Triple-A.
“He still hasn’t done that. I think we’re weighing all options as he comes off of rehab.”
Akin to bullpen: Hyde said that he expected left-hander Keegan Akin, who has been on the Covid-19 injured list since July 21st, to be activated on Sunday. Hyde said Akin will pitch out of the bullpen at first.
“Anything can happen these last eight weeks,” Hyde said.
Hunter Harvey update: Hyde said right-handed reliever Hunter Harvey is closer to returning to the Orioles from his right lat strain. Harvey has been on the 10-day injured list since July 2nd.
“He’s still doing his throwing progression. Timeline, we’re looking hopefully mid-August,” Hyde said.
Elias on Rutschman: On Friday, after the trade deadline, Orioles’ executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias touched on a number of topics, including when Adley Rutschman might be promoted from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk. Rutschman has 16 home runs, 50 RBIs and a .404 on-base percentage. He was more walks than strikeouts (53-51).
“I think it’s becoming increasingly a conversation of when and what to do with him next,” Elias said. “He’s certainly had a very successful season so far in Double-A in both sides of the ball. It’s been great to see.
“He’s not a fully finished product or polished player. All these kids missed a whole year last year. His control of the strike zone has been outstanding. He’s doing a lot of work with Brian Fuller, our hitting coach and Jeff Kunkel our catching coach and every day getting better and perfecting things about his swing and his consistency and his mechanics and his approach and he’s also working with the pitching staff there. They’ve got a really good thing going on.
“We don’t feel he’s wasting his time or not getting anything out of Bowie despite the success he’s had thus far and we’re also mindful of the fact that the Triple-A season is going to be a long one this year. There’s a lot of time left on that season. It goes into October … When it becomes the correct thing for his development, we’ll make that move. It’s certainly something we’re talking about organizationally. It’s something we want to get right.”