The Orioles’ decision to purchase the contract of infielder Cord Phelps from Triple-A Norfolk to take third baseman Manny Machado’s spot on the club’s 25-man roster was somewhat of a surprise because he wasn’t on the organization’s 40-man roster like other alternatives Steve Lombardozzi and Jimmy Paredes.
But Phelps came recommended by Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and other player development staff.
“We take a lot of stock in what our people there every day tell us,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “That sounds very uncomplicated, but maybe it isn’t done in a lot of places. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the roster or not the roster or what the financial commitment is, we’re taking the best player. We’re trying to win, right? So, we’re taking the best player. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Right now, right now, he’s the best option.
“The good thing is that we had some good options. It wasn’t a sure cut, plus when you think about how long it will last, potentially, that weighs in on it, too. We have a lot of good options there.”
Phelps has batted .258 at Norfolk this season, but he is hitting .329 with five extra-base hits (three doubles, one triple, one home run) and seven RBIs over the past three weeks.
“Feeling good, I found a pretty good rhythm and was able to be focused and really compete every day,” Phelps said. “Any time you’re told you’re going up, it’s a pretty cool feeling. So I was excited. I’m just excited and happy to be here.”
Phelps has played six different positions for the Tides this season — all four infield positions and both corner outfield spots. He also has made three pitching appearances, but he spent most of his time at second base (31 games) and third base (28 games).
“I think he understands what his role is,” Showalter said. “I like the fact that he can present a challenge left- and right-handed. He was their hottest and most consistent hitter there the last couple of weeks. Hopefully that carries over for whatever time we need him.”
It was easy enough to create 40-man roster space for Phelps because the Orioles hadn’t yet transferred catcher Matt Wieters, who is out for the season following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, to the 60-day disabled list.
Around the horn
The Orioles pushed back left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who was scheduled to start Tuesday’s rained-out game, to pitch in Friday’s series opener in Cleveland, giving him eight days’ rest between starts, the most he has had this season. Showalter said he kept Chris Tillman as Wednesday’s starter against the New York Yankees in order to keep him on regular rest. Chen is 6-2 with a 4.23 ERA on the road, but he is 0-1 with a 7.62 ERA in two career starts against the Indians, including a 6 2/3-inning, five-run effort against Cleveland at home May 22. “You try not to put too much stock in certain things,” Showalter said. “This time of year, you get a pretty good feel about how clubs do against certain guys, but teams change so much from what you’re basing those numbers on.” … Right-hander Kevin Gausman was not with the club Wednesday because Showalter sent him to move out of his apartment in Norfolk. Gausman was considering doing it after the game Wednesday, but Showalter told him to go during the day instead. Scheduled to start Sunday in Cleveland, Gausman will have a work day in Baltimore on Thursday and fly with the team to Cleveland. … MASN will re-air the 60th anniversary ceremony Sunday at 8:30 p.m. and next Thursday at 8 p.m.