Orioles add McKenna, Burdi; Hyde says Fry needs to regain confidence - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles add McKenna, Burdi; Hyde says Fry needs to regain confidence

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

For their opening game in Toronto on Monday night, the Orioles have added outfielder Ryan McKenna and right-handed pitcher Zack Burdi, who were recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.

McKenna, who has had multiple stints with the Orioles this season, is hitting .208 with a home run and six RBIs in 63 games. His addition gives the Orioles an exceptional defensive outfielder and pinch-runner. At Norfolk, McKenna was hitting .307 with 11 homers and 23 RBIs in 27 games with a 1.106 OPS.

McKenna is starting in center field against the Blue Jays, with manager Brandon Hyde giving Cedric Mullins a day off.

“An extra bench player is important right now,” Hyde said. “We’ve got three left-handed starters this series, probably two in New York.”

Hyde mentioned that Mullins and Anthony Santander, whose left ankle is still sore, could use a break. Mullins has missed only three games.

Burdi, a former first-round draft choice of the Chicago White Sox in 2016, was claimed on waivers from Chicago on August 18th. In 14 games with the White Sox in the last two seasons, the 26-year-old right-hander was 0-1 with an 8.27 ERA. Burdi had a 3.00 ERA in three games at Norfolk.

“As a teammate, I think it’s very valuable to have guys around the clubhouse who are talkative and like to express their emotions throughout the day,” Burdi said. “I’m pretty open and willing to meet new people and express myself around the clubhouse.”

Burdi was a teammate of Josh Rogers, who pitched with the Orioles in 2018 and 2019, at the University of Louisville. Rogers was released by the Orioles on June 1st and is with the Washington Nationals organization.

“Josh is a really close friend of my family,” Burdi said. “He was great from a transition, helped me with just getting to know faces.”

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Burdi’s brother, Nick, pitched part of three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2018-2020 and is on the 60-day injured list with the San Diego Padres.

McKenna and Burdi replace Paul Fry and Spenser Watkins, both of whom were sent to Norfolk after Sunday’s 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles’ third straight and 18th in 19 games against Tampa Bay.

Fry allowed a grand slam. In 52 games, Fry is 4-5 with a 6.08 ERA. He had a 34.71 ERA in nine games against the Rays this season. In August, his ERA is  21.86 ERA in 11 games.

“I hope to have Paul back,” Hyde said. “Some appearances in Triple-A, a little bit more low-pressure environment is going to do him some good right now. He’s lost a little bit of confidence. You see that in his misses, the walks, a lot of arm-side misses with his slider. I’d like to get his confidence back with his fastball over the plate.

“We felt like the right thing for Paul, [who] we believe in very much, is to have him go down there … and hopefully come back here with the confidence he had in the first half.”

Watkins won two of his first three starts and had a 1.65 ERA. He has lost his next seven and has a 7.47 ERA.

On Wednesday, September 1st, the Orioles will add two players when the roster expands from 26 to 28.

Left-handed pitcher Alexander Wells, who could replace Watkins in the starting rotation, is on the taxi squad with catcher Nick Ciuffo and right-handed reliever Dusten Knight.

When Burdi pitches, he’ll be the 56th player used by the team, two short of the record-setting 58 in 2019.

Call for Questions: I’ll be answering your Orioles questions later this week. Please leave your questions in the comments below or email them to: [email protected].

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Bumble bee

    August 30, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Burdi is my guy, 8. What ever era fits right in to our staff. He won’t make anyone look bad that’s for sure.

  2. OriolesREALNumber1Fan

    August 30, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Mike Elias is the best! Burdi rocks!

    • Winchester

      August 30, 2021 at 9:56 pm

      At putting together teams that qualify for first round draft picks!!

  3. Buzz1979

    August 30, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    Watkins went from 7.07 before the start to 7.47, least he’s keeping the jets on! Fry, oh why, did we hang on to him?! A little Burdi tells me Mountcastle is going to break the rookie HR record, and Mullins will just be the second Oriole ever in the 25 25 club, joining Reggie, nice company!

  4. Buzz1979

    August 30, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    That HR was way up there with diplan, boss!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 30, 2021 at 9:59 pm

      Nobody cares about the game Buzz……they’re all giddy over having the number 1 farm system, thanks in no small way to all of the young Blue Jays that weren’t held back due to service time concerns and are busy kicking our butts as part of a real major league baseball team!

      Go Baysox!!

      • The Bird1

        August 30, 2021 at 10:07 pm

        With the pitching we have down on the farm, I think whoever said we are the number 1 system in baseball must be grading us on a curve.

      • Baltcf3

        August 31, 2021 at 8:33 am

        Well said, if this org is so hell bent in saving money they should be put up for sale.

    • CalsPals

      August 31, 2021 at 7:09 am

      Agree Boog 100%, I think we said that back quite awhile…go O’s…

  5. dlgruber1

    August 30, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    What are all these teams doing whipping the O’s every game? Haven’t they heard they’ve got the #1 farm system in all MLB? Show some respect!!

    • Baltcf3

      August 31, 2021 at 8:34 am

      They’re farm system and so-called prospects are over rated.

  6. musicmanjr

    August 30, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    Can someone explain how promoting a pitcher with a major league ERA of .847 and an outfielder hitting. 208 adds value? Mullins is slumping but he isn’t injured. These player transactions are a waste of time and round trip Norfolk to Baltimore bus fare. (Pretty sure the O’s aren’t paying for airfare!)

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 31, 2021 at 7:50 am

      McKenna is a better outfielder and runs better than Santander and Stewart. It gives Hyde an extra bench player.

      Players generally drive between Baltimore and Norfolk, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement dictates that players fly first class when they’re being called up. If being sent down, they fly coach.

    • Baltcf3

      August 31, 2021 at 8:40 am

      They’re not paying for anything, they tell the minor leaguers who replace minor leaguers on the ML roster to drive.

  7. EkimC

    August 31, 2021 at 6:36 am

    Another quick “hook” by Hyde! I’d like to know just how many games he’s pulled his pitcher with 4… 4 1/3 or 4 2/3 innings with a chance to win. What was his reasoning (if he the ability to do so) to pull Ellis last night… pitch count… “he looked like he was getting tired”… or “I liked the math-up better with Tate”… or any other of his bogus reason? I feel for all the starting pitchers with a lead, seeing him coming knowing that someone from the “ demolition squad” is going to replace them and eliminate any chance for a win. I’d also like to know just how many inherited runners have scored in that situation this season.

    On the subject of inherited runners, someone mentioned the fact that the cumulative ERA of the bullpen isn’t as good as the numbers show because those inherited runners they allow are charged to the previous pitcher, many times the starting pitcher thus inflating his ERA and not the relievers. Not sure that is fair… just saying…

    • CalsPals

      August 31, 2021 at 7:12 am

      You’re exactly right Ekim, it seems to be an O’s thing across the board, not only the majors, but the minors as well, would be a great question for Rich to answer if the O’s have a “policy” about the innings, almost seems to go further than the 5th is against some unwritten rule…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 31, 2021 at 7:55 am

      The Orioles are trying to make sure their pitchers can make it through the season, and they’re strictly regulating innings.

      While the pitching in the majors has been poor, the number of arm injuries in the organization they’ve suffered seems to be below those of other teams.

      Hall, Zimmermann and Lakins each have had lengthy injury stints, but fewer than other teams.

    • Baltcf3

      August 31, 2021 at 8:38 am

      Demolition squad. That’s great and well deserved!!!

    • CalsPals

      August 31, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Maybe they have so many injuries because they’re not in shape & haven’t been stretched…go O’s…

      • Rich Dubroff

        August 31, 2021 at 12:17 pm

        According to Spotrac, the Orioles have had 20 players on the injured list, 25th in the major leagues and missed 856 games, 26th in the majors.

    • CalsPals

      August 31, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      Unfortunately that means nothing…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      August 31, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      What’s their record?… go O’s…

  8. Bhoffman1

    August 31, 2021 at 9:10 am

    How do you have a sore ankle for a whole season on a misstep back to first base

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 31, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Because the only way to totally rest it is to be immobile, Bruce.

      • willmiranda

        August 31, 2021 at 10:05 am

        Rich, if they had immobilized it, with a cast or somesuch,, wouldn’t it have healed more quickly and completely, perhaps in a matter of weeks? Obviously trade-offs here, but worth considering, especially since we’re not in a pennant race.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 31, 2021 at 11:55 am

          Will … I have some personal experience from long ago regarding what you just mentioned.

          From 8th grade until I graduated from high school, my right ankle was placed in a cast when basketball season ended and until baseball season. And yes,the cast helped .. basically by keeping me off it for a few months. Rich is right, only rest and immobilization helped it heal.

          But truthfully, I was well into my 30’s until that sucked stopped turning every time I stepped on anything ticker than dime on lying on the ground.

    • CalsPals

      August 31, 2021 at 10:20 am

      Great point, rushed him back for what?…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 31, 2021 at 10:21 am

      Ankles are tricky, Will. Santander wanted to play asap, and it turned out he missed a month. With so many fans carping that players don’t want to play when they’re hurt, which isn’t true, here’s an example that that kind of reasoning is silly.

  9. 66OsFan

    August 31, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Pretty sure Fry doesn’t need to regain his confidence as much as he needs to relearn control without using any banned substance. His control issues began imploding when the ban was announced. Coincidence? Me thinks not….

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 31, 2021 at 10:28 pm

      If that’s the case, why did Fry have a 2.79 ERA in July, the month after the ban took effect? His WHIP was 0.724 last month, bset of the season.

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