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Orioles face difficult roster crunch with pending moves, Machado suspension looming

After the Orioles took a 13-3 beating from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night at Camden Yards, manager Buck Showalter said he was heading to his office to meet with executive vice president Dan Duquette to discuss the team’s lineup for Saturday.
Shortly after, the team announced it was optioning right-hander Mike Wright, who allowed a career-high eight runs over 3-plus innings on Friday, to Triple-A Norfolk. That will make roster space to activate right-hander Yovani Gallardo from the disabled list to start Saturday against the Jays.
But the Orioles still need to make at least one more roster move to create 25-man space for shortstop J.J. Hardy. He is expected to come off the DL before Saturday’s game and make his first start since May 1 after missing six-plus weeks with a fractured bone in his left foot.
That move isn’t as easy, especially with Manny Machado’s four-game suspension appeal looming on Tuesday. The Orioles will get Hardy back, which is good timing, but once Machado has to serve any suspension, the Orioles must play a man down, and that could happen as soon as Wednesday.
“With Manny's looming departure it's tough to send out infielders and play with two guys on the bench, none of which are infielders,” Showalter said. “Pretty complicated. After each game, especially one like this, the chairs kind of move around.”
The Orioles bullpen also had to account for 5-plus innings on Friday night, and they had to use long relief arms T.J. McFarland (two innings) and Ubaldo Jimenez (2-plus innings). Showalter purposely tried to stay away from multiple-inning relief arms Dylan Bundy and Odrisamer Despaigne, but the bullpen is still hanging by a thread. It’s another sign of how the Orioles really miss right-handed set-up man Darren O’Day.
Jimenez’s first relief outing since being demoted to the bullpen was unsettling. He allowed five runs on four hits over 2-plus innings, allowing a two-run triple to Josh Donaldson on the first batter he faced, then a three-run homer to Michael Saunders two batters later.
The fear that Showalter talked about in sending Jimenez to the pen became reality on Friday. Being moved to the pen isn't a banishment. Jimenez still needs to get outs, and he allowed a triple, a homer and two walks to the first four batters he faced. He settled down after that, but if a long man’s job is to keep a game somewhat within reach, Jimenez didn’t do that.

And because Jimenez can't be sent to the minors without his permission, he's another unoptionable arm that makes it more difficult to keep the bullpen fresh if they need to add an arm from the minors.

This was supposed to be a part of the schedule where the Orioles would have a chance to breathe -- looking at three off days over eight days following Sunday’s series finale against Toronto. But The Orioles lost their Monday off day because they have to make up a rained out game in Texas that night. And next Saturday they will play a doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays to make up for another rainout, and they might have to do that playing one man down if Machado is serving his suspension.
So after an ugly game Friday, it’s not getting any easier for the Orioles.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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