BOSTON -- Throughout their two years together, manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette have juggled the club’s 25-man and 40-man rosters with aplomb, making sure players are available at the ready.
And that philosophy is hitting hyper-drive this month.
The club activated Wilson Betemit from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and sent infielder Ryan Flaherty to Single-A. Flaherty, who has options remaining, is heading to Delmarva and then Frederick, because the Keys won’t make the playoffs. So their season ends Monday and, consequently, Flaherty can return to the Orioles on Tuesday. (Major league rosters expand to 40 on Sunday.)
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If the Keys were in the playoffs – and Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk still have a shot at the postseason – then Flaherty couldn’t return until after the Keys' postseason finished.
The Orioles may do another roster-management move after tonight’s game. Because Wei-Yin Chen has no previous minor league service time, he can be sent to the Gulf Coast League Orioles, whose season ends Aug. 29. So he could return Sunday, in time for his next scheduled start for the Orioles. Or he could return even sooner if another player has to go on the disabled list.
Expect rookie Kevin Gausman to be in Boston on Wednesday or Thursday in place of Chen, and to provide more depth for the bullpen.
Technically, Flaherty and Chen wouldn’t be initially eligible for the postseason roster if they are the minors, because they wouldn’t be on the 25-man roster on Aug. 31. But that’s not really a concern, either. The Orioles would actually have a pool of 27 players, since they currently have two players on the disabled list (Jason Hammel and Nolan Reimold).
Chen and Flaherty could replace those two – as could other players in the organization. In fact, any player in the organization on Aug. 31 that remains in the organization in September can be considered for the playoff roster if one of the players that is eligible is injured.
It’s one of those weird rules in which it actually helps a playoff contender to have multiple players on the DL in the final weeks of the season.
It can be pretty confusing, but here’s what you need to know: There are ways that Flaherty and Hammel and Chen and Gausman can all be on the 25-man playoff roster. And there could be some more juggling before Saturday night.