Orioles still looking for pitching help as another trade deadline looms

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette was still looking for one more starting pitcher as the deadline loomed Thursday night for teams to acquire players in time for them to be eligible for the postseason.

“I don’t know if anything will come together,” Duquette said several hours before the midnight deadline. “We’ve talked to a number of clubs and we’ve been active, actually, all month. We’ll see if we match up with anybody.”

Duquette has a history of making deals in August and he indicated before Thursday’s series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays that there was still a chance that he would get something done.

He said via text message late Thursday that he still was “working on a couple of deals.”

The Orioles are known to have made several waiver claims, but that’s just the first step in pulling together a trade.

“Some pitching got through the trade waiver process,” Duquette said. “There’s a lot that didn’t because there are so many clubs still in contention. So, any pitchers that are traded this time of the year are at a real premium.

“We’ve been talking about a couple of different options to see if we can strengthen our staff. It’s the last time you can add pitching from outside your organization, so we always look around to see what we can add here and there.”

Roster expansion

No matter what, more players are on the way to join the Orioles, since major league clubs can use as much of their 40-man rosters as they want for the month of September. The Orioles are expected to promote a handful of their minor league players, but Duquette is not likely to expand the roster beyond a manageable size.

“Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to getting some extra bodies here because there have been quite a few nights when you’re an injury away from really being in harm’s way,” manager Buck Showalter said Thursday. “I’m really looking forward to it and John Russell is, too, because we’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what-ifs. Who’s catching if this guy gets hurt? Who’s playing shortstop if this guy gets hurt? If something happens with Adam [Jones], where are we going?”

Showalter didn’t specify who is coming, but he has been saying all along that he expects to have at least one more catcher, some additional pitching and some “experienced” players.

Outfielder Joey Rickard is certain to be back. Shortstop J.J. Hardy will come off the disabled list in the next few days. Top prospect Chance Sisco and Triple-A catcher Francisco Peña are possibilities. The club remains noncommittal about veteran slugger Pedro Álvarez.

Beckham calls himself out

Tim Beckham has made a tremendous offensive contribution during his first month with the Orioles, but he said Thursday that he has played well below his potential at shortstop.

He entered the final game of August batting .385 with 18 RBIs as an Oriole, but he also had eight errors in 28 games at shortstop.

“I haven’t been playing up to my capability on defense at all right now,” he said. “I know I can continue to get better with that and it’s something I work on every day.”

Beckham credited Hardy with helping him settle in at shortstop before Hardy left for his minor league injury rehabilitation assignment.

“Before J.J. left on his rehab assignment, it was fun to work with him, pick his brain and do certain drills with him that allowed me to slow the game down and allowed me to be a better defender,’’ Beckham said. “I appreciate J.J. for doing that.”

Showalter said it’s too early for him to fully evaluate Beckham’s defensive skills, but he is pleased with the effort.

Around the horn

Outfielder Ademar Rifaela of High-A Frederick was named the Carolina League Most Valuable Player on Thursday. The 22-year-old Curaçao native entered Thursday batting .280/.350/.499 with 24 home runs, 78 RBIs, 21 doubles, one triple, 70 runs scored and seven stolen bases. He is the second player to earn the award in Keys history. … Infielder Ryan Mountcastle, 20, joined Rifaela in being honored as the shortstop on the Carolina League’s postseason All-Star team. Mountcastle was promoted to Double-A Bowie in July.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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