Second baseman Ryan Adams was hoping he would return to the big leagues when rosters expanded in September.
The promotion came Monday, more than a week earlier than expected for the 24-year-old, who is in his second stint with the big league club this season.
He should get more starts this time around — he batted ninth on Monday — because the Orioles sent struggling third baseman Josh Bell back to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday and demoted infielder Blake Davis there after Monday's victory. Those moves opened up what appears to be an extended opportunity for Adams, a 2006 second-round pick who has hit .283 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 93 games with the Tides this season.
"I was a little surprised because we are so close to September, but I am excited to be here and I am going to keep working hard," said Adams, who hit .217 in nine games with the Orioles earlier this season.
In his first at-bat Monday, he singled up the middle against the Minnesota Twins' Carl Pavano to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
Adams was demoted June 18 because the Orioles wanted him to play every day and Robert Andino had seized the open second base job when incumbent Brian Roberts was injured. Now, with Bell in the minors, regular third baseman Mark Reynolds at first base and first baseman Chris Davis on the disabled list, Andino will get more time at third while the Orioles see whether Adams can handle an extended look at second base.
"He is going to get an opportunity. Obviously, we are playing him [Monday]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Andy [MacPhail, the club's president of baseball operations] and I have talked about some other adjustments we might make, but right now, that's initially one. We'll see if he has grown some. We've got good reports on him down there. He has swung the bat well, and I am going to run him out there and see how he does."
Adams has hit in his minor league career, but the question is whether he can field adequately. He made two errors in his limited action with the Orioles and 10 for the Tides.
Adams said he has put in the work to get better defensively, and he believes it will show as his career progresses.
"It's just time. [I'm] doing the same routines every day and just trying to be consistent, and that's how you get better," Adams said. "Do the same things every day and the results are going to come on the field."
Davis batted .254 with one homer and six RBIs in 25 games with the Orioles before his demotion. A corresponding move will be made on Tuesday.
Andino on playing third
Andino made his third start this season at third base and said he'll play wherever Showalter wants him so long as he is in the lineup.
"I'd play catcher for him," Andino said. "I'll give [Matt] Wieters a day off."
Andino, who played six games at third in 2010, said he likes the position because it is primarily about reactions and reflexes, and that suits his game.
"It's just different angles and reaction times, that's really it," he said. "At third base, you can't really think too much about it, just react. I don't like thinking anyway."
Showalter said he's not planning to make Andino his everyday third baseman, but more experience at the position can only boost the infielder's value to the club.
"Robert likes seeing his name in that lineup, and I like writing it," Showalter said of Andino, who was hitting .269 heading into Monday night. "He just looks at it as an opportunity to bring another skill … and to continue to make himself valuable to our club and our organization. I am real proud of the year Robert has had."
Daniels on C. Davis
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told The Dallas Morning News that he contacted MacPhail as soon as he heard reports that Davis has a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder. Daniels dealt Davis and Tommy Hunter to the Orioles on July 30 for reliever Koji Uehara.
"As soon as I heard about it [the injury], that was the first thing I thought of. I reached out to Andy and told him that Chris never received treatment while he was here," Daniels said. "Andy said he had no reason to doubt that. I hope that with rehab, everything works out for Chris and the Orioles and this is not a big thing. I'll continue to keep in touch with Andy on this."
If it becomes a more serious situation — for instance, if surgery is required — Daniels said he would be willing to potentially revisit the deal as a show of good faith.
Hardy returns to Minnesota
Shortstop J.J. Hardy, who played in just 101 games for the Twins last year because of injury, returned to Minnesota for the first time Monday since being traded to the Orioles for minor league relievers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson in December.
He spent some time before the game talking to his former teammates, then received a mildly favorable reception from the Target Field crowd.
"When I left here, I was mad. I made a lot of friends. It felt like a slap in the face a little bit to me at the time. I miss these guys here, but I definitely love it in Baltimore," said Hardy, who has hit 23 homers this season after having six last year. "For me, it was a health issue last year. It affected the way I swung the bat, and this year, being healthy, it's allowed me to do what I'm capable of. But by no means do I feel, 'Oh, good, here, look at this.' It's not like I'm trying to rub it in their face or anything like that. No way."
Around the horn
To make room for Monday's starter, Zach Britton, reliever Jason Berken (right forearm/elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. … Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (shoulder stiffness) felt fine and will make Wednesday's start. … Lefty Jo-Jo Reyes (back spasms) had a strong side session and is expected to start Thursday. … Tuesday's starter, Alfredo Simon, has never started against the Twins but has two saves and hasn't allowed a run in 42/3 innings versus Minnesota. … First baseman Mark Reynolds (ankle) was back in Monday's starting lineup. … Norfolk righty Rick VandenHurk was named International League Pitcher of the Week after going 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two games. He struck out 18 batters in 12 innings.