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Orioles pregame: Yacabonis, Verrett join Orioles bullpen; Jackson DFA'd, Crichton optioned

After having to account for 6 2/3 innings in Saturday night’s 16-3 loss to the New York Yankees, the Orioles bullpen received reinforcement before Sunday’s series finale at Yankee Stadium as the club selected the contract of right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis and recalled right-hander Logan Verrett.

To make room for the fresh arms, the Orioles designated right-hander Edwin Jackson for assignment and optioned right-hander Stefan Crichton to Triple-A Norfolk.

“We needed two [relievers],” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “And that’s self-inflicted, but of course, the Yankees had something to do with it, too. We made a lot of mistakes, and these are some of the prices you pay. I don’t think we’ve sent anybody out this year that’s been pitching well.”

Yacabonis, 25, is receiving his first big-league call-up. He had a 0.90 ERA with seven saves, allowing just 15 hits in 30 relief innings, at Norfolk while primarily pitching in the eighth and ninth innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in his past seven outings, holding hitters to a .185 batting average over eight innings.

“Really trying to force early contact and just limit the pitch count,” Yacabonis said about the key to his success at Norfolk.

While Yacabonis has been mostly used in the late innings, 10 of his 23 appearances have been longer than one inning – his longest is a 2 2/3-inning outing May 20 – so he can also provide length.

“You’d like to have him stay down a little longer, but he’s pitching well,” Showalter said. “[He ] would at some point this year probably been added. You look at the numbers and you have a good idea of the picture painted and he’ll let it rip. There’ll be some anxiety and stuff, but he was a guy with three with three or four days off and our best option."

Verrett received two previous call-ups this season, earning two extra-inning wins before being returned to the minors on the Norfolk shuttle. He hasn’t pitched since Thursday.

“It’s been interesting, but it keeps us on our toes,” Verrett said of receiving his fourth call-up this season. “We all were pretty aware of the situation, what’s going on, and our role on the team right now. It’s just our job. And anytime we’re called on and we’ve got to make that trip up here, we’re here to help the team anyway we can. Whatever Buck needs.”

Jackson and Crichton were battered in Saturday’s lopsided loss.

Jackson’s contract was selected Wednesday, and he pitched in three of the four games since, with a 7.20 ERA over five relief innings, allowing seven runs – four earned – including two homers. He allowed two runs on five hits over 1 2/3 innings Saturday.

 “At the end of the day, you’ve got to be ready to go,” Jackson said. “The objective of the game is to go out and put up zeros and I didn’t do that. And there are situations that happen, especially when you need pitching. You gotta have guys in the bullpen that are able to throw. It’s just one of those things.

Jackson, a veteran of parts of 15 major league seasons, couldn’t be sent to the minors without clearing waivers and accepting an outright assignment, so he couldn’t be put on the Norfolk shuttle.

“There’s nothing that’s going to break any confidence or anything like that,” Jackson added. “I continue to work. I know what I can do, and it’s not going to stop me from doing what I think I’m capable of doing or anything like that. It’s just one of those situations where I certainly wasn’t getting outs and you end up getting the short end of the straw.”

The 33-year-old said he hadn’t decided whether to accept an outright assignment to Triple-A if he clears waivers Tuesday – he could refuse the assignment and test free agency – but he planned to return to Baltimore and wait out his next step.

Showalter said he hoped Jackson remains in the Orioles organization.

“I think there’s a chance he’ll rejoin,” the manager said “It’s tough with him, pretty whirlwind, that’s the way it is. He gets on a plane, he gets here, and he’s pitching. He’s better than that. It’s just he never got his feet on the ground.

Crichton – who pitched in each of the first two games of the series, totaling 3 1/3 innings on 61 pitches – has an 8.49 ERA, allowing 11 earned runs over 11 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs over two innings Saturday, yielding a three-run homer to Matt Holliday in the fourth inning.

“Crichton broke out a third pitch he, [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] and [Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin] have been working on,” Showalter said. “He threw some quality cutter/slider hybrid. That’s good. He’ll take that with him, go down there, continue to pitch well at that level.”

Machado testing wrist

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was scheduled to test his strained left wrist before Sunday’s game by throwing and hitting, and even though Machado was out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game, Showalter hoped Machado might be available off the bench Sunday.

“I hope so, but we’ll see,” Showalter said. “It’s a quick turnaround from yesterday to today. I’ve never found a whole lot of improvement from night games to day games. He’s going to attempt to throw and hit a little bit. That’s a good sign. If that goes well, there’s that potential. Who knows? I might use him to pinch hit.”

The Orioles can backdate Machado only three days for a potential DL move – he injured the wrist Wednesday night when he took a spike from Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen on a steal of third base – so they have to decide whether Machado should land on the DL soon, though Showalter is optimistic he can avoid a DL stint.  

Britton’s first rehab game set for next Monday

Closer Zach Britton, who is rehabilitating a left forearm strain at the spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., is to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week.

Britton is expected to throw one more bullpen session and then a live batting practice session in Sarasota. His first rehab game action would be June 19 at Short-A Aberdeen during the IronBirds' home opener.

Britton has been on the disabled list since May 6 and was shut down from throwing for about 10 days. Since then, he’s worked up from light throwing to throwing his third bullpen session off a full mound – 30 pitches – on Monday in Sarasota.  

eencina@baltsun.com
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