The Baltimore Orioles have been banged up in recent weeks, especially in the outfield and pitching staff.
Pitchers like Alec Asher (1.23 ERA in 2 outings) and Jayson Aquino (3.00 ERA in one start) have done a good job of filling in for Chris Tillman, who has been out with a shoulder injury. Tillman shouldn’t be out for much longer though. He has pitched in two rehab starts with Double-A Bowie and he has one left at High-A Frederick on Thursday. If all goes as planned, he should return for the Orioles series against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park on May 2.
At the back end of their bullpen, the Orioles are missing their top man. Closer Zach Britton is still out with a left forearm injury, but he could be back on Sunday. He could pitch in a minor league game before then as well, just to test things out.
Britton throwing side tmrw, then slated to go on rehab on Friday at either Bowie or Frederick. Could rejoin team Sun at earliest. #orioles
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) April 25, 2017
Joey Rickard will most likely return on Friday, after spraining his middle finger. He’s played in two rehab games at Low-A Delmarva.
“I don’t look at it that way at all,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said on Sunday. “That’s why your depth is so important. Once somebody, say Rickard comes back, it seems like something else happens. Zach comes back, something else happens. Over the course of the season, it’s how you handle those things and how you survive through those times.
“Everybody makes this big deal, and I guess rightly so in spring training…about the 25. We all know how much that’s going to change and how important what’s going on in Norfolk and Bowie is to us.”
The biggest decision is to send an outfielder down, keep all of them or designate one for assignment. Showalter loves Craig Gentry because of his defense and speed off of the bench. Adding Rickard would give them five outfielders. They would also have to make room for Britton and Tillman, so one would expect either Aquino or Asher or both to be sent down to Triple-A Norfolk.