The Orioles made several moves before Friday night’s game against the Cleveland Guardians that could affect the short-term and long-term future of the club.
They placed right-hander Joey Krehbiel on the 15-day injured list because of right shoulder inflammation. Krehbiel had to come out of the game in the sixth inning Thursday night against Seattle after walking Jesse Winker to load the bases.
“Hopefully, it’s just a couple of weeks to give it time to rest,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It won’t be too long, hopefully.”
The team recalled left-handed reliever Nick Vespi and infielder/outfielder Tyler Nevin from Triple-A Norfolk. Nevin is in the starting lineup for the series opener against the Guardians, and Vespi is available in the bullpen after throwing 11 pitches for the Tides on Thursday night.
Vespi showed promise the last time he was with the Orioles, throwing two scoreless innings and getting the win against the Rays in his major league debut on May 20th. With the Tides, Vespi has an ERA of 0.00 ERA in 18 1/3 innings with 26 strikeouts.
“He is having an incredible year for Norfolk,” Hyde said. “It was one of those situations where we just needed to send him out last time from a numbers standpoint and what we kind of needed in the bullpen the next day, unfortunately, because he threw the ball so well for us. We’re happy to have him back.
“With the new rules this year, it’s unfortunate you have to wait a little longer to bring guys back unless there’s an injury. But also as you start getting more talented in your upper levels, certainly getting more talented in the big leagues, you start having to make tougher decisions as well as having more talented guys in Triple-A to call up. We’re excited to bring him back up as a bullpen option for us.”
Nevin will help give Ramón Urías a breather because he’s been in the lineup almost every game. Urias also played both games of a doubleheader in Boston on May 28th.
Nevin is batting .222 with a homer and seven RBIs in 19 games with the Orioles this season.
“Happy to be here,” Nevin said. “I will be ready for whatever is thrown my way. You have to be ready for whatever is in front of you. The entire time up here I thought I was seeing the ball well.”
Infielder Chris Owings is on the bereavement list and will be “out for a few days,” Hyde said.
The Orioles placed infielder Jahmai Jones on unconditional release waivers. Jones underwent Tommy John surgery last week.
“He’s still a young guy and has a long career ahead of him,” Hyde said. “It’s a tough injury that can put you out for a year or so.”
Odor provides spark: Rougned Odor is only 28 years old, but he is a bit of an elder statesman on the Orioles, which is just fine with him.
Odor began his major league career at age 20 with the Texas Rangers. He also spent last season with the New York Yankees before signing with the Orioles this offseason.
He loves the energy the young Oriole players bring to the ballpark each night and they have shown resiliency this season.
“We have fun and when we’re together there’s a lot of good compassion,” Odor said. “Everybody is young on this team. We’re enjoying the game every night. We’re going to surprise people this year. I believe that.”
After a slow start, the Oriole second baseman has emerged as a clutch hitter. Odor has reached base safely in 13 of his last 16 games, batting .262 (16-for-61) with four doubles, one triple, four home runs, 16 RBIs, and nine runs scored since May 16th.
He also serves as a mentor to the Orioles’ young infield, including Jorge Mateo, 26, Urías, 28, and Nevin, 25.
“They’re great kids,” Odor said. “They play hard. They work a lot.”
Odor and the Orioles have created a popular practice in which they wear what appears to be a gold chain after a home run. It seems to have galvanized the players and the fans, much to Odor’s delight.
“I like to see the fans wearing that chain, too,” Odor said. “That makes us hit more homers.”