The last time the Orioles had an announcement like Wednesday night’s, it was late May 2009, when then-club president Andy MacPhail took to the airwaves to announce that Matt Wieters would be coming up to play that Friday, May 29.
This one is close.
The Orioles announced late last night that Manny Machado, the club’s top pick in 2010, will be called up Thursday. He likely will start tonight, although Wieters’ debut was set and this one officially isn’t. So if you want to be there for Machado’s debut, you’ll have to buy a ticket for Thursday and keep your fingers crossed. I think you’ll be OK.
Normally a shortstop, the 20-year-old is likely to play third base in Baltimore, because J.J. Hardyhas been excellent defensively at short and the club’s third base defense, with Wilson Betemit and others, has been shaky.
Machado will become the first player to debut before age 21 since pitcher Hayden Penn did it in 2005. That, in itself, is impressive.
But this one is close to the Wieters’ announcement because the Orioles are in a playoff push. It shows that they are serious about trying to win this year. This, honestly, is more reminiscent of their call-up of Ben McDonald in 1989.
So what does it mean for the current roster?
Short-term, they’ll likely send down Miguel Socolovich, perhaps move Brian Roberts to the 60-day disabled list.
Well, for one, it means Betemit won’t be playing as much third base. And, ultimately, that means Mark Reynolds won’t be playing as much first base.
This could be Reynolds’ last chance to get his bat going and prove he belongs here.
This also, to me anyway, means that the Orioles could call up Dylan Bundy in September. Bundy was promoted from High-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie on Wednesday.
There have been hints that maybe he could see the majors in September if the Orioles were still in it, perhaps pitch out of the bullpen in a pennant race like the Tampa Bay Rays did with David Price. I thought that might be a stretch since Bundy was a high-school pick; Price a college one.
But now that Machado is up, I’m not convinced that Bundy is far behind.