Baltimore manager Dave Trembley didn’t mince words Monday when asked about the depth in his heavily beleaguered bullpen. Trembley was asked if he would have to consider a roster move to fresh up his relief staff, and he paused briefly before answering.
“I’ll probably have something for you after the game, I’d think,” he said.
The most likely option involved sending Matt Albers — one of the few relievers on staff with remaining options — to Triple-A Norfolk and recalling Kam Mickolio. Jim Miller could also get the call, but Trembley was complimentary of Mickolio after his last stint in the Majors.
— Spencer Fordin
The Orioles are expected to place Melvin Mora on the disabled list Wednesday and recall Matt Albers to take his place. Mora, who has been slowed with a tight left hamstring that has bothered him since Spring Training, will have plenty of time to get back in playing shape.
Mora last played on Sunday and won’t be eligible for re-activation until April 28.
Albers, meanwhile, will return after being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk just three days ago. The right-hander’s addition will give the Orioles a 13-man pitching staff and will help cover for the team’s rotation, which has struggled to get through the sixth inning on a regular basis.
The starter who shall not be named — Adam Eaton, for the uninitiated — will probably be cleared into an active roster spot by the end of the night. Eaton, who has been training with the Orioles despite not officially being on the roster, will be activated after Saturday night’s game and will start Sunday. And at that point, the Orioles will have to decide whether they’re more comfortable with an extra reliever or an extra position player.
The players most affected by that move will be shortstop Robert Andino and relievers Brian Bass and Matt Albers. Andino is the team’s only reserve capable of backing up Cesar Izturis, while Bass and Albers give the Orioles an eighth reliever and cover for their starters going short in games. Whatever the decision is, it probably won’t be permanent.
The Orioles made one final roster move in preparation for the regular season on Sunday, when they officially added Chad Moeller to the active roster. Moeller will serve as a backup catcher to Gregg Zaun until the Orioles decide to promote top prospect Matt Wieters.
Baltimore will also have to make a roster move soon after the season begins. The Orioles are beginning the year without fifth starter Adam Eaton and will have to make a move to add him. Eaton’s turn doesn’t come up until April 11 or April 12, giving the team a week to decide.
In essence, the decision hinges on whether the team wants to carry 13 position players or 13 pitchers. If the Orioles want to keep an extra reliever, shortstop Robert Andino will be the likely cut. If they want to keep the player, Brian Bass or Matt Albers would be in jeopardy.
If you already thought the Orioles had a wide open situation regarding their starting rotation, you might want to sit down. Koji Uehara announced Tuesday that he has a slight strain of the left hamstring, an ailment that will likely cause him to miss at least one spring start.
The right-hander expressed optimism that he’ll be able to pitch well before Opening Day, but he also admitted that he’s had a prior history of hamstring problems. And here’s why it’s especially dire for Baltimore: Uehara was one of the only sure things in the rotation.
The Orioles have been trying to settle the final three slots of their rotation, and they’ve been stymied thus far by elbow injuries to Brad Hennessey and Rich Hill and a shoulder ailment for John Parrish. Hennessey and Parrish are far enough behind that they’ve already been declared out of the running, and similar word on Hill could come down any day.
For now, it appears that Brad Bergesen, Radhames Liz, David Pauley and Matt Albers have enhanced shots at breaking camp in the starting rotation. The Orioles will also evaluate Adam Eaton, who signed with the team after being released by the Phillies.
The Orioles have shared their pitching rotation for the first few days of spring, providing a glimpse into their plans for the first few games. Baltimore will have several top-flight prospects lined up to pitch against Team Italy on Tuesday, an exhibition game before the Spring Training slate begins. Brian Matusz will start that game, and the Orioles will also allow Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman to show their wares against the Italian national team.
Right-hander Brad Hennessey will start the true Spring opener against the Mets on Wednesday, and the Orioles will also throw Chris Waters, David Pauley, Brian Bass and Jim Miller in that game. Hennessey, Pauley and Waters are battling for a rotation spot.
The starter for Thursday’s game against the Marlins is as yet uncertain, but Baltimore will throw Danys Baez, Matt Albers, Chris Ray and Bob McCrory in that game. Things get more exciting on Friday, when Koji Uehara will make his stateside debut against the Marlins.