Orioles outfielder Xavier Avery makes major league debut
22-year-old goes 0-for-4 with one strikeout in O's 9-8 loss to Rays
Xavier Avery takes a swing during his first major league game. (Getty photo / May 13, 2012)
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Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W Camden St # 1, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
As expected, the club purchased the contract of outfielder Xavier Avery from Triple-A Norfok. In two corresponding moves, the Orioles optioned right-handed reliever Stu Pomeranz back to Norfolk to make room on the 25-man roster and also designated Norfolk infielder Matt Antonelli for assignment to clear space on the organization's 40-man roster.
The 22-year-old Avery made his major league debut Sunday, batting leadoff and starting in left field. He was 0-for-4 with one strikeout.
Avery, who was hitting .273/.373/.469 at Norfolk, was 15-for-35 in his past nine games there. His five homers this season are already more than he hit all of last season at Double-A Bowie, and his 16 RBIs were tied for second on the club.
"I don't know how to explain it to you," said Avery, who arrived in Baltimore around midnight from Indianapolis, where the Tides were playing. "I really didn't sleep. I've been up all night basically. I was in awe [Saturday]. Ever since then I've been doing things to try to calm myself down — stay focused, telling myself this is not where I want to finish at."
"There's going to be some anxiety with him I'm sure," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There's some unknown. That's why it's fun to watch."
Avery, who has primarily played center field in the minors, will play left field — where he made six starts this season — with the Orioles.
Avery saw extensive playing time during spring training, hitting .286 in 13 games there.
"Xavier's done a good job of taking some of the things he's been exposed to in major league camp and taken them over to Norfolk," Showalter said. "I think it was a good experience for him. I think he and [Tides manager Ron Johnson] at Norfolk were on the same page. I just hope to keep it going."
The club optioning Pomeranz was a slight surprise, especially since he threw four scoreless innings in two relief appearances since being recalled a week ago. With the Orioles' bullpen still in flux, Pomeranz seemed to be a nice fit into a long-relief role. Before joining the Orioles, Pomeranz threw 19 scoreless relief innings and allowed just seven hits between Bowie and Norfolk
Antonelli, a former first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2006 who was one of executive vice president Dan Duquette's first offseason signings, has been struggling at Norfolk, hitting .204/.357/.280 with four doubles, one homer, seven RBIs in 29 games. This spring, Antonelli was one of the top candidates for the club's utility bench position, which ultimately went to Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty.
Reimold will be evaluated Monday
Injured left fielder Nolan Reimold, who had an epidural Friday to help with the bulging disk in his neck, will be evaluated Monday by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens.
Reimold, who hasn't played since April 30, said the epidural is supposed to take three-to-five days to fully work, but he still has tingling in his hands. He'd still have to go on a minor league rehab assignment.
"I think that even if I did, I think I'm still a ways from playing again," Reimold said.
So it's most likely that Reimold won't be ready to return when he's eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday.
Reimold said if the injury doesn't get better, there's a possibility he takes second and third epidural shots, which would likely shelve him from baseball activities for up to two more weeks.
Hammel to start Monday
Right-hander Jason Hammel said he will make his scheduled start Monday against the New York Yankees after missing his last start with right-knee soreness.
Hammel, who is 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA in six starts this season, missed Thursday's scheduled start because the pain in his pushoff knee regressed over his past three starts to the point that he believed it was affecting his delivery.
But Hammel said he's seen "major improvement" since having the knee drained and getting subsequent treatment.
"I'm just going to go out and do what I can," Hammel said. "We'll see. The other guys have picked me up to get me a few days."
Hammel held the Yankees to two runs over six innings April 30 at Yankee Stadium, but was dealt a 2-1 loss.
Around the horn
The Orioles are 1-7 in their past eight Mother's Daygames and have lost six straight. … Shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was 2-for-4 with a double, has reached base safely in 18 of his past 19 games. … Catcher Matt Wieters, who entered Sunday hitless in 12 at-bats, was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer. … The Orioles lead the league in homers against right-handed pitching (44). … The Rays' four stolen bases Sunday were the most the Orioles have allowed this season. … Outfielder Endy Chavez (intercostal strain) will head to Sarasota to start rehabbing his injury Tuesday. Third baseman Mark Reynolds (abdominal strain) is likely to join him. … Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who had Tommy John surgery this week in Los Angeles, will remain in California for the next week and report to Sarasota on May 21. … Right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom (middle finger) will also be evaluated Monday.