In need of another bullpen arm, the Orioles have selected right-handed reliever Mychal Givens from Double-A Bowie.
Givens, the Orioles' second-round pick in 2009, was drafted to play shortstop, but converted to a pitcher following the 2012 season. He is 3-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 12 saves for Bowie, allowing just 28 hits over 39 1/3 innings with 54 strikeouts and 11 walks.
The 25-year-old Givens throws in the mid 90s from a non-traditional arm slot that’s slightly lower than three-quarters. He complements it with a slider and changeup to become a valuable multiple-inning reliever with a power arm.
Calling up Givens was one of five roster moves the Orioles made before Saturday's game. They also activated right-hander Kevin Gausman from the 15-day disabled list to start Saturday, optioned rookie right-handers Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson to Triple-A Norfolk, and transferred Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia to the 60-day DL to create 40-man space for Givens.
"[Givens] was our best option,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I’ve said all along we have a 36-man pitching staff [including Triple-A and Double-A] and we talk about out-opportunity-ing people. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the roster or off the roster if you’re the best guy available. And let’s face it -- sometimes it’s who’s fresh and who’s available. He’s had two days off and he’s been throwing multiple innings. … It fit the best. … Mike eventually was going to be here. Whether he’s pitching in Double-A or Triple-A was really not a factor.”
Givens was scheduled to arrive at Rogers Centre before the game and be available to work out of the bullpen.
“We saw him three or four situations in the spring where we felt he could handle it,” Showalter said. “He’s a guy who has a big upside. … His stuff can play up here and fits if he’ll trust it and throw it over. He’s got a breaking ball, a changeup and some things to defend himself against left-handed hitters, kind of like Darren [O'Day].”
-- Adam Jones will receive another day off from playing center field, starting at designated hitter and batting third Saturday. With left-hander Mark Buehrle starting for the Blue Jays, Nolan Reimold will start in center field in favor of left-handed-hitting David Lough.
Reimold will be playing his first game in center since one appearance there in 2008 at Bowie.
"Nolan has the skill set to play there and if not him, then who?” Showalter said. “Nolan will do as well as he can do. We don’t have Adam and David will be a good piece off the bench, too.”
Showalter said he wanted to give Jones an additional day off after Saturday’s quick turnaround.
“I’m not going to push the arm thing, going to give him as much time as possible, see how he feels from day to day,” Showalter said. “It’s a quick turnaround for him. I can’t imagine that he’d be markedly better today. I didn’t have much conversation with him because I know what he’s going to say, ‘I’ll do whatever the team needs.'”
He wouldn’t commit to Jones returning to center field before Monday’s day off.
“I’m not going to say we’re probably going to wait after the off-day and go all the way until Tuesday,” Showalter said. “We’re going to go day to day. It’s just the quick turnaround. If you’re sore last night, you’re not going to be completely not sore today. And I just don’t think it’s fair to put him in that light.”
-- Speaking of Jones, Showalter made a point to highlight that Jones didn’t make a big deal about being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning during a tense situation, jogging to first base without incident.
“That’s Adam,” Showalter said. “He’s not going to get his team in harm’s way with theatrics and drama. He understands the game. He actually looks at it as a badge of respect and honor for someone to throw at him. They don’t throw at bad hitters.”
Showalter’s comment was obviously directed at Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, who dramatically fumed after a Mike Wright pitch nicked the front of his jersey, the latest in a continuing feud between the Orioles and Blue Jays that always seems to center around Bautista.
“If you think about how it starts every time we play them, it’s pretty transparent, so we really don’t dwell on it,” Showalter said. “We realize where it’s coming from. What’s the old thing? The truth will set you free? … Our players are very adamant about not putting their teammates in harm’s way for something they do.
“We have such a strong group that lives in the real world. They bounce things off each other. They understand the ramifications of their actions and how something can put their team or their teammates in harm’s way. I don’t have to do much. They’re usually a step ahead of it. It’s the great thing about having Adam, J.J. [Hardy] and Matt [Wieters], and having their voices of reason. The game has to be played with emotion and our guys do it. They just try to funnel it.”
-- The Orioles didn’t receive good news on top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who still has inflammation in his right shoulder after a follow-up MRA test, an MRI with dye injected.
Bundy hasn’t pitched in a month and received a platelet-rich plasma injection in May.
“It wasn’t as positive as we thought it would be,” Showalter said. “We thought more of the inflammation would be gone right now. They’re going to look at it some more. … He’s just going to continue to be inactive throwing.”
Here are Saturday's starting lineups:
Manny Machado 3B
Travis Snider LF
Adam Jones DH
Delmon Young RF
Chris Davis 1B
Nolan Reimold CF
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Caleb Joseph C
Kevin Gausman RHP