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With top draft picks signed, Orioles GM Mike Elias turns focus to international signing period

With the Orioles’ top two 2019 draft picks signed, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said Wednesday that the organization is turning its focus to the international signing period.

In the past, the Orioles have not placed a strong emphasis on signing international players, but Elias said that’s going to change. He has referred to this year’s signing period, which starts July 2, as the largest international signing class in Orioles history.

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As the new GM of a club that’s going through a major rebuilding phase, Elias said he has not had much time to focus on scouting prospects, but people behind the scenes have managed to keep up, as evidenced by the results of the 2019 draft.

“It was certainly a whirlwind coming on board, hiring a major league coaching staff and then turning our attention to everything else,” Elias said. “But I give a lot of credit to the guys in the front office for kind of keeping the trains running.”

Most of the prep work is done long before July 2, and the Orioles had a lot of catching up to do.

“We're in a little bit of arrears in terms of these guys coming up and helping out the [Gulf Coast League] club,” Elias said. “But we’ll get caught up.”

Many of the international players are 16-year-olds who will play at the academy level before moving onto the Gulf Coast League. It will be years before the upper levels see many of these players, but Elias said he’s looking forward to what they will bring to the program.

“I just think it's going to be a very fun day for this organization to have a fusion of Dominican, Venezuelan, even guys from the Bahamas,” Elias said. “You know, there's gonna be a lot of international talent coming in, and it's going to be inspiring.”

Scott provides an extra arm

On Tuesday, the Orioles claimed Seattle Mariners pitcher Tayler Scott off waivers after designating left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin for assignment.

Scott, the first South African-born pitcher in major league history, pitched against Baltimore as an opener last Thursday, recording three walks and two outs.

“The control has been sort of the question mark over the years,” Elias said. “But you know, we're in a position where we just need arms.”

Despite that, Elias said he sees potential in the 27-year-old Scott, and the Orioles might be in a position to help him improve.

Elias used right-handed pitcher Shawn Armstrong, another waiver claim from the Mariners who struggled before coming to the Orioles and performing well, as an example of what could happen for Scott.

Fry promoted after Rogers placed on IL

After pitching 2 1/3 innings, left-handed pitcher Josh Rogers came out of Tuesday’s game with elbow soreness.

“I don’t think it’s ever good to have someone come out with elbow soreness,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think it’s great.”

Rogers was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday, and left-handed pitcher Paul Fry was called up from Triple-A Norfolk.

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Davis family holds ‘Crush’s Homers for Hearts’ event

First baseman Chris Davis and his wife, Jill, are partnering with the University of Maryland’s Children’s Hospital to host their third annual “Crush’s Homers for Hearts” event Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Camden Yards.

The charity home run derby raises money for UMCH’s Children’s Heart Program. Courtney Agnoli, the mother of 1-year-old UMCH patient Tessa Agnoli, will speak, and Tessa’s sister, Noelle, will participate in the T-Ball Challenge. Tessa, who received a heart transplant in February, is the youngest recipient of a heart transplant at UMCH.

Various doctors from UMCH will speak as well.

Around the horn

Hyde said left-handed pitcher John Means will come off the IL to start Friday. … Mark Trumbo is “feeling better” since he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his surgically repaired knee, Hyde said. … DJ Stewart (right ankle sprain) homered Tuesday while playing for the Orioles’ Gulf Coast League affiliate on a rehabilitation assignment. … The Orioles acquired infielder Patrick Dorrian on Wednesday, finishing the May 27 trade that sent right-handed pitcher Yefry Ramirez to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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