The Orioles six-man bullpen is finally dead, or at least it’s dead for now. With a roster move before Wednesday’s game against the Tigers, the Orioles got themselves to the standard seven-man bullpen. The team recalled righty Stefan Crichton from Triple-A Norfolk and designated catcher Francisco Pena for assignment.
Hopefully in time this will allow the Orioles bullpen to stabilize by keeping key members from potentially being overworked. Whether just this one roster move meaningfully solves a problem for Wednesday, where Ubaldo Jimenez is set to start and you never know what you’re going to get, is a question that remains to be answered.
With the two long reliever-like guys in the bullpen already, Alec Asher and Richard Bleier, both pitching multiple innings in Tuesday’s wild extra-innings affair - two of the only O’s pitchers to hold the Tigers scoreless - they would seem to be unavailable. Mychal Givens also pitched more than one inning on Tuesday, so fresh relievers are in short supply.
There could always be a second move made later. It wouldn’t be the first time that the Orioles have done this.
UPDATE: The Orioles have indeed made a second move of the day, a more surprising one, optioning lefty Donnie Hart to Norfolk and calling up right-handed reliever Miguel Castro from Double-A Bowie.
Castro, 22, was acquired by the Orioles from the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash on April 7. He’s only pitched in one game for the Baysox so far this year, a four-inning stint. So there’s a possible long-man for tonight. (end update)
But for now, this seems like the roster for at least the rest of this series. There won’t be much time to get anybody to join the team before Thursday afternoon’s series finale.
Pena appeared in three games with the Orioles over a stint that mostly covered Welington Castillo’s time on the disabled list. He batted seven times and homered twice, which is pretty good indeed.
There wasn’t much that Pena could have done to cause the O’s to keep him as a third catcher or even the second catcher behind Castillo. Baseball is an unsentimental business sometimes.
While Pena is in DFA limbo over the next several days, the Orioles could trade him or try to pass him through waivers on his way off the 40-man roster. I won’t lose a lot of sleep wondering whether he stays with the organization and I don’t expect Dan Duquette will either.