After sending Steve Johnson to Triple-A on Saturday night so he could build up his innings in the Tides’ rotation, the Orioles still had an open roster spot with Brian Roberts on the three-day paternity list.
So they recalled infielder Danny Valencia from Norfolk and immediately inserted him into Sunday’s lineup as the designated hitter. Valencia hadn’t had a big league hit since June 16 and was in a 0-for-22 skid as an Oriole heading into Sunday.
He grounded out in his first at-bat against the Seattle Mariners’ Joe Saunders but snapped his hitless streak with a double in the fourth. He then homered in the sixth — his fifth as an Oriole —- a two-run shot that represented the club’s only runs in a 3-2 loss.
“It’s a long time coming from the last time I got a hit,” Valencia said. “Try to build from there.”
Valencia had an eventful 48 hours. The Tides played a 15-inning game Friday evening, then bused from Pawtucket, R.I., to Norfolk, Va., where they played a night game Saturday. After that, Valencia heard he was being called up by the Orioles. So he got in his car, and arrived in Baltimore at 4 a.m., slept a little and came to the park.
“I felt a little tired to be honest,” Valencia said. “A little run down, but once you get a hit or get in the batter’s box [for] your first at-bat, your adrenaline starts flowing through you. So it felt pretty good after my first at-bat.”
Valencia’s stint could be short. Roberts must be taken off the paternity list Monday — his three days will have expired even with no game Monday — and the club’s starting second baseman is expected to fly with the team to the West Coast. So a corresponding decision must be made Monday.
Betemit to play a rehab game Tuesday
Designated hitter Wilson Betemit, who has been out all season after suffering a ligament tear in his right knee in spring training, will serve as a DH on Tuesday in a Gulf Coast League game. It will be his first game action since the March injury, when he fell in between first and second base and needed to be carted off.
“I remember running on the field when he did that. I knew there was no way he kind of just rolled an ankle,” manager Buck Showalter said. “And to think that he’s actually got a chance to start playing games in early August, I’d have signed up for that in blood in Sarasota. It’s been a long road for him. He’s had a tough year. He’s had a couple people close to him pass away. Wilson’s had a tough year.”
Once the 31-year-old Betemit, who batted .261 with 12 homers last season for the Orioles, plays in a minor league game, his 20-day rehabilitation clock begins — though it is possible the club could get an extension if needed. The Orioles would like to have him back this month or maybe during the pennant push in September, but Showalter said it’s hard to set a timetable.
“I don’t think anybody really knows ... where we are until he gets a day or two game-wise,” Showalter said. “I’m hoping that it kind of gets him thinking back in that mode. It’s been a long time since he’s been in game mode. I’m still expecting it to be a slow process.”
Around the horn
The Orioles and Mariners combined for 14 homers in the three-game series, with 23 of the 36 runs scored coming via longball. The Orioles lead the majors in most homers hit (149) and most allowed (144). … A group of former Negro League players, coaches, managers and executives attended Sunday’s game in a pair of Camden Yards suites and were shown on the video scoreboard before the fourth inning. They’ll be honored at the White House on Monday. .. The Orioles released outfielder Chris Pettit from Double-A Bowie on Sunday to make room for reliever Daniel McCutchen, who was transferred from Norfolk. … Aberdeen outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, was named the organization’s minor league hitter of the month for July. A 14th-round pick this year out of Vanderbilt, Yastrzemski hit .344 with 12 RBIs in 26 games for the IronBirds. … Four IronBirds — all 2013 draft picks out of colleges — were named to the New York-Penn League All Star Game on Aug. 13 in Norwich, Conn. They are: Yastrzemski, first baseman Trey Mancini (8th round), catcher Austin Wynns (10th) and reliever Jimmy Yacabonis (13th). The three position players will start the game.