In losing a reliable piece of their bullpen in left-hander T.J. McFarland to a lingering knee injury, the Orioles possibly strengthened their bullpen by adding right-hander Chaz Roe, who manager Buck Showalter said was back to the form that made him dominant at times in 2015.
"He pitched real well for us for an extended period of time," Showalter said. "I think he just ran out of gas last year, the first time he had been pitching that much at that time of year. He's kind of back to where he was. Two or three times, we came close to taking him and they all said he's the best they had, and he's pitched real well down there. He's deserving, and if he has opportunities to pitch in the big leagues somewhere else, I would rather us get that opportunity for him. He's got potential to be that kind of contributor for us."
Roe was added to an empty spot on the Orioles' 40-man roster, leaving Triple-A Norfolk on a run of 15 straight scoreless outings. After a poor August and September 2015 ballooned his ERA from 2.43 on Aug. 1 to 4.14 by seasons end, Roe was outrighted off the 40-man roster in spring training. He had a 2.39 ERA, 45 strikeouts and 10 walks in 37 2/3 innings over 33 appearances with the Tides this season.
Roe replaces McFarland on the roster, who went on the disabled list retroactive to June 29 after a left knee injury that didn't cost him too much time in late May cropped up again. The team had thought it completely healed, but Showalter said it was aggravated decelerating behind home plate while backing up a throw there in San Diego on Tuesday, and "just didn't get any better."
"I think we're going to try to clear it up completely so he can get back," Showalter said. "Just pushing off wasn't there. You could see that last outing just wasn't him. It's tough for him. He hates going on the DL. He's never been on the disabled list in his life, but it's something he's got to take care of. ... It's just been a challenge for him for a while now."
Showalter said McFarland would return to Baltimore to have it examined before possibly rehabilitating in Sarasota, Fla.
That transaction, which Showalter announced before the game, came along with two that were more expected. The team activated catcher Caleb Joseph (testicular surgery) and reliever Vance Worley (groin) from the 15-day DL, and optioned catcher Francisco Pena and reliever Oliver Drake to Norfolk.
Worley made two rehab appearances — one at Double-A Bowie and another at High-A Frederick — in the past week, not missing much more than the required 15 days he spent on the disabled list with a groin strain that cropped up on June 12 in Toronto.
He started two games earlier in the season, but settled into a long-relief role for the Orioles. He entered Thursday 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 17 appearances.
Joseph took a foul ball to the groin that required surgery on one of his testicles on Memorial Day, and played 12 games between Frederick and Bowie. Joseph caught three times for Frederick this week, and flew out Thursday morning to rejoin the Orioles.
Reliever Darren O'Day (hamstring) said he was unclear when his next bullpen session would be after the last one didn't show the progress he had hoped.
"We are just trying to take it slow and do it right, so I don't feel it again," O'Day said. "There's been days where I felt like I was ready for a game, and then two days later it wouldn't feel nearly as well. It's tough. It's right on the bone. There's not a ton of blood supply, as far as I understand, so it takes a while to scar down and re-attach. And the way I pitch, I stress that area quite a bit."
O'Day went on the disabled list on June 3 with the high hamstring strain.
The Orioles are searching for their 20th win in June, but more than searching for milestones like that, Showalter said he simply wants to have a winning record each month.
"I look at seasons in one-month increments," Showalter said. "Through thick and then, we had a winning month in April, a winning month in May and now June. Now, the challenge is to stay consistent. You try to be realistic about it."
The Orioles entered Thursday's game with the league's best offense in June.
Around the horn
Four Orioles minor leaguers were announced Thursday as Eastern League All-Stars off the Double-A Bowie Baysox roster: catcher Chance Sisco, infielder Garabez Rosa, left-hander Jayson Aquino and left-hander Donnie Hart. … The short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds announced Thursday that manager Luis Pujols was replaced by Keith Bradshaw, who had previously been on the coaching staff in the Gulf Coast League. No reason was given. Bradshaw will manage the IronBirds for the remainder of the season.