Paul Janish hadn't played in a major league game in nearly two years, but shortly after arriving at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, he found himself in the Orioles' starting lineup after the team selected his contract from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day.
With shortstop J.J. Hardy on the disabled list with a strained left groin, the Orioles summoned the 32-year-old Janish, who has played parts of six seasons in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves, to give the team an additional right-handed bat at shortstop. But Janish's ticket back to the majors was his exemplary defense.
"[I'm] really excited on a lot of different fronts, but it just makes you appreciate and remember how sweet it is," Janish said about being back in the majors. "It's something I'm pretty excited about and I'm fortunate to be here."
Janish's last major league game was Sept. 29, 2013, with the Braves. He spent the entire 2014 season in Triple-A with the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals organizations. And after missing most of spring training recovering from surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in February, he played at Norfolk until Tides manager Ron Johnson called Janish into his office on the team's day off Monday to tell him he was joining the Orioles.
"R.J. said it was one of his favorite send-ups he's ever had," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's been playing really well down there and we're lucky to have him, [one of] the reasons they're having a good year [in Norfolk] and why our pitchers are being developed down there. He's actually been good for the tutelage of a lot of our young players. This is a veteran guy who knows he's going to be able to do about anything in the game once he's done playing."
Janish said he was glad to see his name in the lineup right away. He started as shortstop and batted ninth against Royals left-handed starter Danny Duffy on Tuesday.
"It's kind of like ripping off a Band-Aid," Janish said. "I'd rather just get it over with. I was excited about that and as far as that goes, however Buck and the team decide to do things, it's up to them. But I'll do my best to be ready whenever I'm called upon."
Janish was hitting just .235/.313/.272 with no homers and 21 RBIs in 95 games with the Tides. But he has been lauded all season for his defense at shortstop. He has just four errors in 407 chances, compiling a .990 fielding percentage.
"Honestly, I've played really well this year defensively," Janish said. "I hold myself to a really high standard, but I think I've played really well as a whole. And even of late I feel really comfortable, so as far as that goes, I feel like I'm in a good place to go and play at a high level here."
Janish will likely remain with the team for the rest of the season. Rosters expand next Tuesday, but the Orioles will face three left-handed starters this weekend in Texas, increasing the likelihood that the club keeps Janish in the majors.
Hardy, who was placed on the DL on Monday, is scheduled to receive a platelet-rich-plasma injection Thursday, but the club is still optimistic that the shortstop will be ready to return when he eligible on Sept. 8.
Hardy was re-evaluated by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs in Baltimore on Tuesday, and it was decided he would receive the injection after some of the swelling subsides in two days. Hardy could rejoin the club in Texas over the weekend, but that's still uncertain.
"We'll see if he's going to join us in Texas or not," Showalter said. "It depends on how he feels after that shot. It's usually pretty sore, so we'll see. … It's not as much of a problem when he's just day-to-day activities, but he'll be pretty sore after Thursday."
Showalter said he hopes Hardy can resume baseball activities early next week.
"It's usually two or three days [recovery] from the injection, so we're hoping by Monday he'll ready to get going a little bit," Showalter said. "I'd hope that toward the end of the DL period we'd be able to get him to play a couple of [minor league rehabilitation] games. But I don't want to get ahead of ourselves."
Clevenger to paternity list, becomes new dad
Catcher Steve Clevenger, who went back to Baltimore on Tuesday morning to be with his pregnant wife, became a new dad within hours of returning.
Clevenger's wife, Tiffany, gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter they named Peyton Lee, at 1:09 p.m. The baby weighed six pounds, 13 ounces and was measured at 19½ inches.
The team placed Clevenger on the three-day paternity list before Tuesday's game, allowing them to call up Janish. Clevenger is expected to rejoin the club Friday for the weekend series against the Rangers.
"We'll play it by day," Showalter said. "We're excited for Steve and his wife. That went well from what I understand."
Showalter takes stand on replay
Showalter was still wondering why third baseman Manny Machado wasn't placed on third base after an overturned call on the opening play of Monday's game.
Machado's drive to the right-center gap was dropped by Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain and hit the wall before Cain recovered and fell to the ground. Initially ruled a catch, the play was overturned by video review after Showalter challenged it. Machado was awarded a double. Showalter said Machado should have been placed on third at the very least.
"They easily could have given him an inside-the-park home run," Showalter said. "We have an overhead [camera], we look at it during the thing, where Manny was when the guy is laying on the ground. He was where the second baseman usually plays running while [Cain] was on the ground."
The Orioles didn't need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster space for Janish — the organizational roster was already at 38, but they still removed right-hander Eddie Gamboa, the club announced Tuesday. Gamboa, in his third season transitioning to being a knuckleball pitcher, is 8-10 with a 4.36 ERA in 24 games (18 starts), allowing 86 hits in 109 1/3 innings. A free agent in the offseason, he was re-signed to a major league deal and placed on the 40-man roster. He will remain at Norfolk. … Outfielder David Lough made his first start for Norfolk on Tuesday, leading off and playing left field. Lough is expected to rejoin the major league club on Sept. 1. … Right-hander Chaz Roe (right shoulder tendinitis) is scheduled to come off the DL on Sept. 2. He will pitch a simulated game Friday in Texas and needs at least one minor league rehab appearance before rejoining the team.