Do you guys remember when I wrote 800 words about the Orioles’ ability to keep a third catcher long term? It feels like just yesterday... Regardless, Baltimore designated Anthony Bemboom for assignment today and selected Ryan O’Hearn’s contract from Norfolk. O’Hearn will bat eighth and play first base in his first game with the Orioles.
O’Hearn, Josh Lester, Lewin Díaz and Franchy Cordero were all invited to spring training to compete for a backup job at first base. The Orioles declined to carry a backup first baseman on the Opening Day roster, but they have made the decision to roll with O’Hearn now.
O’Hearn, who is wearing No. 32, gives the Orioles a backup first baseman and corner outfielder. He’s another left-handed bat with the club facing at least four consecutive right-handed starters.
O’Hearn was batting .300/.349/.725 (12-for-40) with three doubles, a triple, four home runs, 11 RBIs, three walks and 13 strikeouts in 43 plate appearances with Norfolk. He was lumped in the last roster cuts in spring training after slashing .375/.444/.650 with two doubles and three home runs in 18 games.
Today’s move puts O’Hearn back on the 40-man roster. The Orioles acquired him from the Royals on Jan. 3 for cash considerations and designated him for assignment two days later while claiming Lewin Díaz off waivers.
The move allows Baltimore to give hot-hitting Ryan Mountcastle a bit of a breather. Mountcastle will bat third today while serving as the designated hitter. Gunnar Henderson, Jorge Mateo and Adam Frazier will round out the infield with Ramón Urías on the bench.
Terrin Vavra will get the start in right field with a struggling Anthony Santander also getting a breather. Cedric Mullins will leadoff and play center field with Austin Hays taking left. Adley Rutschman will catch starter Cole Irvin.
Irvin will start against his former team. The Orioles acquired the left-hander in a Jan. 26 trade. He developed a reputation in Oakland as a pitcher capable of working deep into games, but the lefty has yet to eat innings for Baltimore. Today represents a tremendous opportunity to get back on track against a below average Oakland lineup.
Irvin is 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA and 2.077 WHIP in two starts. He’s totaled 8 2/3 innings and allowed nine runs and 12 hits with six walks and nine strikeouts.
The Orioles finally face a right-handed starter, Adam Oller, who’s been used twice in relief this season and allowed five earned runs (six total) and eight hits with five walks and six strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.
Oller made 14 starts among his 19 appearances last summer and finished with a 6.30 ERA and 1.628 WHIP in 74 1/3 innings. One of his starts came against the Orioles, when he surrendered six runs and eight hits in five innings at Camden Yards.
Ryan Mountcastle homered twice, and Anthony Santander and Cedric Mullins each hit one.
Baltimore must win today to take the series after dropping yesterday’s contest 8-4. Winning the series and getting back above .500 feels like a significant moment early in the season.
Oakland snapped a six-game losing streak last night and will try for the series split.
- Cedric Mullins CF
- Adley Rutschman C
- Ryan Mountcastle DH
- Gunnar Henderson 3B
- Austin Hays LF
- Adam Frazier 2B
- Terrin Vavra RF
- Ryan O’Hearn 1B
- Jorge Mateo SS
Starter: LHP Cole Irvin