The Orioles have the Norfolk Shuttle operating at regular-season speed even though there is no one actually at Triple-A Norfolk anymore.
Rookie pitcher Evan Phillips, who was acquired in the deal that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves at the midseason trade deadline, and left-hander Donnie Hart were recalled Friday from the Tides roster.
Phillips, 24, came up soon after the deal and made an auspicious Orioles debut at the Texas Rangers, retiring six straight batters and striking out three, but he struggled in three other outings before being sent down.
Hart, 28, has, by far, logged the most miles traveling between Norfolk and Baltimore. This is the ninth time he has been recalled this season.
The reason the Orioles have had to make several roster adjustments over the first two weeks of September is because of the strain put on the bullpen by injuries to veteran starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner and the recent ineffectiveness of the young pitchers who have been auditioning for next year’s rotation.
“We added Evan and Donnie today,” manager Buck Showalter said. “With some of the things that are going on, Alex is not a whole lot better than yesterday. That could be slow, and we’ll see how Cashner’s knee is. Right now, I feel like he’ll make his start, but that could change.”
More on rotation woes
Cobb had been pitching well for the past two months until a cut on the middle finger of his pitching hand forced him out of Tuesday night’s start after only two innings. Cashner had been solid since early August but complained of knee soreness after giving up eight runs in the third inning of Wednesday night’s game and has received a cortisone shot.
Showalter said before Friday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox that Cashner still might be available for his next scheduled start, but would not commit to that until after Cashner’s work day this weekend.
Cobb will sit out what would have been his Sunday start, but Showalter still hasn’t announced a replacement starter and probably won’t until after Saturday night’s game.
“We’ll see how we get through the next two nights,” Showalter said. “We’ll probably have to wait until Saturday’s over and see who’s left.”
Around the horn
Adam Jones was back in the starting lineup Friday after sitting Thursday night. He has started three of the four games of the current homestand. … Infielder Steve Wilkerson (oblique) apparently will get a chance to play a handful of games before the end of the season. Showalter said Wilkerson should be ready to play by the middle of next week. … The Orioles’ 60 quality starts this season rank seventh in the American League, which is a curious stat when you consider their rotation ranks last in the majors in starters’ ERA and team ERA.