BALTIMORE—The Orioles’ revamped infield has Jahmai Jones at second base, Jorge Mateo at shortstop and Ramon Urias at third for Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. Dylan Bunday will make his first start against his former team, which has lost 18 consecutive games.
Jones was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Monday, and shorstop Richie Martin was optioned to the Tides. Kelvin Gutierrez was recalled from Norfolk on Tuesday to replace Maikel Franco, who was designated for assignment on Monday.
“He never got going,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Franco. “He never got on a really good streak.” Franco hit .210 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs.
The Orioles can play Urias or Gutierrez at third base. Urias has been bothered recently by a sore leg.
“If Urias’ leg is good, he’ll play all three [infield spots],” Hyde said. “I’ll be rotating Ramon around. Mateo will get more shortstop time now. I still want to play him at second base, also. It’s going to be a bit of a mix and match.”
Martin, who missed much of the season because of a broken left wrist, hit .227 with a homer and five RBIs in 15 games.
“Richie needs Triple-A at-bats,” Hyde said. “He needs to work on his swing. He just hasn’t played much. Richie’s got a ton of tools, incredibly athletic, becoming a better defender at short. Now, it’s just to learn the speed up here offensively and be able to be on time with the fastball, be able to make hard, consistent contact. We felt getting Triple-A at-bats for would be best thing for him from a development standout.”
Jones, who is batting seventh in the lineup, will get to face the team that traded him to the Orioles for Alex Cobb in February. He hit .248 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 69 games in Norfolk and thought the experience was valuable.
“It really allowed me to focus on the things in Norfolk that I felt like I needed to work on before I came up here,” Jones said. “I knew I was going to be thought about throughout the season, so I tried to stay ready throughout that Triple-A season, so that whenever. I got the call, I was ready to go.”
Jones, who began his career as a leftfielder, said he has improved at second since spring training.
“You can take a million fungos, you can take a million ground balls,” Jones said. “Nothing simulates a game-like situation being put in front of you, so I definitely think so.”
Hyde is hoping Jones can bring a spark.
“We’re scuffling,” Hyde said. “We’re in a tough spot right now. Hopefully, Jam can give us a little jump-start and give our club some energy and play well.”
Hyde doesn’t expect to play Jones in left field, though he acknowledged he didn’t expect Mateo to play there when the Orioles acquired him earlier this month. Mateo has started in right and left field.
One of Jones’ teammates, third baseman Rylan Bannon, has nine homers and 17 RBIs in his last nine games for Norfolk. Hyde said there’s a chance he’ll play with the Orioles between now and the end of the season.
“There’s definitely a possibility of him coming up,” Hyde said. “He’s on the 40-man, and he’s swinging the bat better recently. I hope Rylan can keep hitting. I love to see guys be able to dominate before they graduate.”
Reassessing Harvey: Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a lat strain, has thrown twice for Triple-A Norfolk in his rehab assignment, but the Orioles aren’t ready to bring him up.
“We’re going to have him throw another time or two,” Hyde said. “We’re still evaluating after every appearance he makes down there. Right now, he’s going to throw again down there, and then we’ll reevaluate.”
Notes: Hyde hasn’t decided on a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s game, when the Orioles will face Shohei Ohtani.. … Cobb won’t be pitching in this series; he’s on the 10-day injured list because of right wrist inflammation.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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