The Orioles added four players to their expanded roster before Tuesday’s game, recalling right-hander Tyler Wilson, first baseman Christian Walker, outfielder Junior Lake and right-handed reliever Oliver Drake from Triple-A Norfolk.
The additions came after the Norfolk’s season ended Monday night with a Game 5 loss in the International League semifinals.
Three other Norfolk players — outfielder Henry Urrutia, utility infielder Rey Navarro and catcher Audry Perez — will report to the team’s spring training facility in Florida to work out there in case they are needed later in the month.
Wilson was the most likely call-up candidate. He pitched well in a spot start and relief role in three previous stints with the Orioles, going 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA in six games (two starts) over 24 2/3 innings. Wilson was 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Norfolk. He missed most of August with a left oblique strain.
“It was definitely something I was hopeful for,” Wilson said of the call-up. “But given the circumstances that happened this last six weeks with my oblique and everything, priority No. 1 was to get healthy with that and return to form pitching. We had a really good run down in Norfolk making it to the playoffs. … I was just happy to get a couple of rehab starts down there and feel strong and feel healthy, most importantly, and feel like I was able to contribute and compete.”
Wilson has worked his pitch count up in his two starts since returning from the oblique strain — most recently he threw 67 pitches in a five-inning, one-run outing for the Tides on Friday — and Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that the club is leaning toward giving Wilson a spot start over the next week.
“We’ve got some thoughts about it,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how we get through the next three or four starts. … It’s been a while since we’ve had another guy to pick from. Basically, we’ve had five. Usually this time of the year, you’re talking about who you’re going to look at and what have you. … He’ll be facing teams with everything on the line, including us, we hope, so it’s hard to get those situations back. …
“I’m sure everybody looks at kind of where we might be next year with the pitching things. You want to put yourself in a position to make good decisions, too. We’re trying to win every game.”
Walker, who also received a September call-up last season, put together a solid year at Norfolk, hitting .257/.324/.423 with 33 doubles, 18 doubles and 74 RBIs. He spent most of the season with the Tides, playing in one game for the Orioles this season, going 1-for-2 with a walk July 8 in Minnesota.
“I think Christian was very deserving,” Showalter said. “His second half of the season, he almost carried the club offensively on a lot of nights. He had the type of second half he had almost all year last year. He made a lot of improvements at first base. We’re going to face, starting tomorrow, four out of six pitchers we’re going to face will be left-handed starters, the way we have it projected with Tampa [Bay].”
Drake posted a 0.82 ERA and recorded 23 saves in 44 relief innings for the Tides. He had a 4.22 ERA in 10 2/3 relief innings with the Orioles over two relief stints.
Lake, acquired at the trade deadline from the Cubs in exchange for reliever Tommy Hunter, hit .300/.410/.360 in 15 games with the Tides and was 3-for-18 in five games with the Orioles.
One player noticeably absent from the call-up and Sarasota list was outfielder David Lough, who played in 19 games with Norfolk ¬— starting all five playoff games — after being outrighted last month.
“We considered everybody,” Showalter said. “He’s off the [40-man] roster. I know he got hit by a pitch a few days ago. … David, we considered it, the people that we had, we’ll see.”
Gonzalez’s recovery progressing
Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, said his arm felt good Tuesday, one day after resuming throwing with a 25-pitch session from 60 feet on Monday. His throwing program will progress to a throwing session from 90 feet on Wednesday, then 120 feet on Friday. Gonzalez said he then hopes to throw a bullpen session off a full mound on Sunday.
Gonzalez hadn’t thrown since his last start on Aug. 31 in Texas. Four days later, Gonzalez went on the DL after feeling soreness in both his shoulder and elbow. He received a cortisone shot to alleviate the pain in his shoulder, but had to wait until the swelling in his elbow subsided before he could resume throwing.
Gonzalez said he’s optimistic he will be able to pitch in a major league game before the regular season ends, but he could also log innings in instructional league games — games will be played there until Oct. 13 — if he’s not ready for the regular season, which ends Oct. 4.
“I was talking with [head trainer] Richie [Bancells] about it, and [pitching coach] Dave [Wallace] and [bullpen coach] Dom [Chiti], so they’re pretty confident,” Gonzalez said. “And if it doesn’t happen, we can go with Plan B. … Maybe pitching a game in instructs so I can feel good about myself. They want me to throw 70-80 pitches, so if I can’t do it here, then they’re going to want me to go down there. That’s the Plan B.”
Speaking optimistically, Showalter had said he hopes Gonzalez would be able to start for the Orioles in the postseason. Gonzalez said getting to pitch in games before the season ends would benefit him.
“It’s mostly confidence,” Gonzalez said. “I know if I can pitch again, I’ll be mentally ready for it and that way I can be OK when I’m done with the season and be over with. That way in the offseason I’ll be fine, just work hard to get back to where I was earlier this season. … I think it’s important for all of us. They want to know, especially me, how I feel.”
Over his last 13 starts since returning from the DL with a groin injury, Gonzalez was 4-7 with a 6.49 ERA and opponents were hitting .322 against him.
Orioles team up with Gov. Hogan in fight against pediatric cancer
The Orioles announced a partnership with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Ronald McDonald House Charities to fight pediatric cancer.
Before Wednesday’s game, the Orioles will present a check for $50,000 to the charities and the team is will also launch an online fundraising campaign beginning Wednesday on orioles.com/charity. Fans can also receive 50 percent off tickets for Wednesday’s game or the Orioles’ upcoming series against Toronto on Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 by making a $10 donation.
Hogan, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is slated to attend Wednesday’s game.
Around the horn
Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin will join the big-league staff when the Orioles open their series in Washington on Monday. “They’re going to go home for four or five days and re-introduce themselves to their families,” Showalter said. Showalter said another minor league coach, likely from Double-A Bowie, will join the team for the Orioles’ final homestand. … Showalter said that two of the Orioles mid-level pitching prospects — Bowie left-hander Tim Berry (meniscus surgery) and right-hander Parker Bridwell (elbow tendinitis) — have resumed throwing in Sarasota. Top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey are also on throwing programs in Florida in preparation for instructional league. Harvey is also slated to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. … Showalter said Triple-A Norfolk 1B/OF Chris Parmelee will need surgery for a broken left forearm injury he suffered last month when he was hit by a Matt Moore pitch. The Orioles would like to bring Parmelee back next year, Showalter said.