By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun
5:36 PM EDT, September 1, 2011
Given the number of players who have already been recalled and the hope that a few injured big leaguers will return this month, the Orioles didn't recall a wave of minor leaguers Thursday when rosters expanded.
Calling it a trickle would be generous.
The Orioles purchased the contracts of right-hander Rick VandenHurk and outfielder Kyle Hudson from Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday, a day after promoting lefty Zach Phillips. There were no other moves announced, although manager Buck Showalter said one more might happen soon.
Another group of players from Norfolk likely will be recalled after the Tides' season ends Monday. The club has not ruled out summoning players next week from Double-A Bowie, which is in the Eastern League playoff hunt.
Showalter said the health of infielders Cesar Izturis (left groin) and Chris Davis (right shoulder) would determine whether more players will be needed in the big leagues for the final month.
"We'll see if we're going to be able to add Chris and Izzy," Showalter said. "If not, we'll probably add some other position players. We're trying to make sure [Tides manager Gary Allenson] can get nine guys on the field down there, too."
Hudson, 24, began the season at High-A Frederick and moved up to Bowie, then Norfolk. With the Tides, he was hitting .297 with 26 stolen bases in 68 games. The former Illinois wide receiver and a 2008 fourth-round draft pick by the Orioles, Hudson will be making his major league debut.
"I was pretty excited, pretty shocked," Hudson said. "I felt like I've done a pretty good job this season, but I never really thought, starting the season at Frederick, that I'd be here. I've come a long way. I'm happy to be here."
Normally a center fielder, the speedy Hudson will serve a similar role to Matt Angle's, subbing in the outfield and pinch-running. He potentially could get some starts in place of Nolan Reimold in left.
"Kyle obviously runs real well, so we'll see," Showalter said. "It's his first time here, and we'll see how it fits as we go."
VandenHurk, 26, was taken off the 40-man roster in March but cleared waivers and remained in the organization. He was 9-13 with a 4.43 ERA in 26 starts this year for the Tides after pitching in seven games with the Orioles in 2010.
"This is the first year I've stayed in one place for the whole season, and I think it was really, really good for me," said VandenHurk, who will be used as a reliever and threw 11/3 scoreless innings Thursday in his first major league appearance in almost a year. "I learned a lot from [the minors] and took a lot of it. I'm very happy, and to get called up, that's just icing on the cake right now."
Grand Prix gridlock
The Orioles-Blue Jays game was moved up to 12:35 p.m. Thursday to prepare for this weekend's Baltimore Grand Prix downtown, but it didn't help with the traffic gridlock that made it extremely difficult to get to Camden Yards.
Ninety minutes before game time, Showalter said at least three of his players had called and were stuck in traffic. Showalter left early in the morning from his home in northern Baltimore County, and it still took him 75 minutes to get to the park.
"And I thought I was leaving way early. I'm still not real sure how I got here," Showalter said before pausing. "It's a great event for Baltimore. Sorry I'm going to miss it."
In anticipation of the problems, Thursday's starter, Tommy Hunter, stayed overnight in a downtown hotel.
Orioles claim Strop
The Orioles claimed right-handed reliever Pedro Strop off waivers from the Texas Rangers. He will join the club in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday.
Strop was the player to be named in Wednesday's deal that sent Michael Gonzalez to the Rangers. Basically, the Orioles received cash from the Rangers, which they used to make the claim to get Strop. The acquisition completes the Gonzalez deal.
Strop, 26, was 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 11 games with the Rangers in 2011. The hard thrower had a 3.59 ERA in 39 games at Triple-A Round Rock.
Reynolds, strikeout king
Infielder Mark Reynolds, the only major leaguer to strike out 200 times in a season, set the Orioles' single-season record Wednesday with his 161st strikeout. Mickey Tettleton struck out 160 times in 1990. Despite the lofty total, Reynolds might be able to avoid the 200 mark for the first time in four seasons, though he did strike out three times Thursday.
"It potentially is an improvement over his last couple years, maybe three years," Showalter said. "I am not going to sit here and talk about great progress in strikeouts when they are still at that rate. But he and [hitting coach Jim Presley] have worked very hard. [There are] some things he's done with two strikes; I think that has helped."
Matusz's start skipped
Starter Brian Matusz has had his turn in the rotation skipped, and it's unclear when he'll pitch again.
Showalter said his five-man rotation will remain on regular turn — Zach Britton pitches Friday, Alfredo Simon on Saturday and Jeremy Guthrie on Sunday — and Matusz is not scheduled for a start. The decision is based on performance and not injury-related.
Showalter said Matusz, who is 1-7 with a 9.07 ERA in nine starts, likely will have a workday Friday in Tampa. He is not expected to be used out of the bullpen, so he'll just continue to work out with the team before getting another opportunity.
When asked whether he knew when he would be pitching again, Matusz said, "I have no idea."
Guthrie will keep No. 46
Guthrie said he will continue to wear No. 46 after soliciting opinions from various people, including members of Mike Flanagan's family. Flanagan, a former Orioles top official and longtime pitcher who wore No. 46 during his playing career, died Aug. 24.
Guthrie considered giving up the number as a tribute to Flanagan but has decided to keep it.
"I spoke with as many people as I could — most importantly, I talked to the family — and I'm trying to do what they all wanted to do and what they thought Mike would want if he were still here," said Guthrie, who has worn the number since he came to the Orioles in 2007. "The most important thing is, what Flanny meant was so much more than a number."
Around the horn
Short-season Single-Aberdeen pitching coach Scott McGregor will join the Orioles on Monday in New York and serve as interim bullpen coach until the end of the season. The Orioles have shuffled bullpen coaches since Rick Adair was promoted to pitching coach in June. … Saturday's game at Tampa Bay has been moved from 4:10 p.m. to 6:10 p.m. because Fox is not carrying it. Because of a Fox blackout, however, the game will not be aired until 7 p.m. on MASN2. It will be joined in progress. … Wednesday's Orioles-Blue Jays game was the third time this season one club has collected 20 or more hits while holding the other to four or fewer. The Blue Jays out-hit the Orioles 20-4 on their way to a 13-0 win. … Norfolk right-hander Chris Tillman will make his scheduled start Friday at Triple-A. He was considered a potential call-up. … Double-A Bowie infielder Greg Miclat is unable to play with a hairline fracture of his thumb but could return if the Baysox make the playoffs.
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