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The Orioles have set their Opening Day roster

The Orioles 30-man roster to start the season includes eight first-time Orioles and nine players who’ve never made an Opening Day roster before.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
There only orange carpet will be in our hearts this year.
Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images

After months of delays and weeks of summer camp, the Orioles have settled on their 30-man roster to start the 2020 regular season. The team made a series of roster moves on Thursday morning ahead of a noon deadline to set their roster.

There are two players who as recently as a week ago you could have looked forward to being on the Opening Day roster who have ended up on the injured list instead. John Means, the original Opening Day starter, is on the IL with what the team called left shoulder fatigue, while Hunter Harvey heads to the IL with a right elbow strain.

These IL moves are backdated to July 20, which means that those players will be eligible to be activated in a week, rather than ten days from now. Other players headed to the IL whose return is not expected to be soon are Dillon Tate, Trey Mancini, and Richie Martin. Tate is on the 10-day IL with a right elbow contusion that he suffered when he was struck by a comebacker during camp.

Mancini and Martin are on the 60-day IL and that pretty much rules them out for the season. Mancini’s cancer treatment has been known for months, and Martin suffered a right wrist fracture during camp.

Here is the 30-man roster

Pitchers (16)

  • RHP Shawn Armstrong
  • LHP Richard Bleier
  • RHP Cody Carroll
  • RHP Miguel Castro
  • RHP Alex Cobb
  • LHP Paul Fry
  • RHP Mychal Givens
  • RHP David Hess
  • RHP Travis Lakins Sr.
  • LHP Wade LeBlanc
  • LHP Tommy Milone
  • RHP Evan Phillips
  • LHP Tanner Scott
  • RHP Kohl Stewart
  • RHP Cole Sulser
  • RHP Asher Wojciechowski

Catchers (2)

  • Pedro Severino
  • Chance Sisco

Infielders (7)

  • Hanser Alberto
  • Chris Davis
  • Jose Iglesias
  • Renato Nunez
  • Rio Ruiz
  • Pat Valaika
  • Andrew Velazquez

Outfielders (5)

  • Austin Hays
  • Cedric Mullins
  • Anthony Santander
  • Dwight Smith Jr.
  • DJ Stewart

The biggest surprise to me here is that Smith made the Opening Day roster after all. The question of whether he’d be ready for the start of the season after reporting late to camp due to COVID-19 isolation was left open until the very end, but it seems the team has decided he’s ready to go after his limited action. Smith being ready to play has squeezed out utility man Dilson Herrera, who had some ink and pixels spilled on him during this week’s exhibition games.

I’m also a little surprised that the team is still going with just two catchers when there’s a 30-man roster available. MASN’s Roch Kubatko reported that veteran backup Bryan Holaday will probably be on the three-man taxi squad allowed for 2020 road trips to begin the season. Herrera is also expected to be on the taxi squad, according to Kubatko.

The purpose of the taxi squad is for teams to be able to quickly replace an injured or sick player on the road without having to run a replacement through a commercial flight. He’ll just already be traveling with the team. The Orioles will play two road series before they return to Camden Yards.

Valaika had his contract selected in order to be added to the roster. He was not on the 40-man roster already, but there was an open spot, so no one had to be removed. Other paper moves to set up this roster are that Hess and Mullins were recalled from the Baltimore Alternate Training Site. It’s a paper move because Hess and Mullins were never actually at the alternate training site.

The Orioles release announcing the roster highlights that these nine players have made their first-ever Opening Day roster: Carroll, Hays, Lakins Sr., Scott, DJ Stewart, Kohl Stewart, Sulser, and Velazquez.

There are also eight players who are first-time Orioles to begin this season: Iglesias, Lakins Sr., LeBlanc, Milone, Kohl Stewart, Sulser, Valaika, and Velazquez.

The roster will be reduced to 28 players on August 6, and then to 26 players on August 20. The release phrases this last piece of information optimistically, noting that the 26-man roster limit will be “for the remainder of the season and postseason.”