No day is complete without an Orioles roster move of some kind. The Orioles made a move to add a bullpen arm on Tuesday afternoon, recalling reliever Oliver Drake from Norfolk.
To make room for Drake, the O’s outrighted infielder Paul Janish to Norfolk. This makes sense if only because they won’t have so much use for Janish once Manny Machado’s suspension is over, and there are only two games left until that occurs.
Why did they call up Drake at this point in time? The answer for that seems to be that the existing bullpen lefty, Brian Duensing, is dealing with an unspecified elbow issue of some kind and is not available. Drake, who is not left-handed, was cited by manager Buck Showalter as a guy who can get out lefties.
This claim is supported by Drake’s numbers for Triple-A Norfolk this year, with Drake having held lefty batters to a .133 average. Drake has held all batters to a .188 average overall and has a 2.03 ERA in 26.2 innings for the Tides this year. Not bad.
Janish will have the option to refuse the outright assignment and become a free agent.
The mystery problem with Duensing opens up some other avenues for the Orioles still-undecided Wednesday starting pitcher situation. If they choose to call up someone from the minors, they can place Duensing on the disabled list to make room for that.
This could even lead to them recalling someone who’s been optioned within the past ten days, although you probably wouldn’t be very excited if that turned out to be Mike Wright. T.J. McFarland just pitched on Monday for Norfolk, so it probably wouldn’t be him.
Wright may be a better option than Ubaldo Jimenez. Maybe.
The O’s could also just option Drake and call up a starter who’s not on the 40-man roster, which gives them some more choices. With Janish being outrighted, they have an open space on the 40-man.