The Orioles remain confident they will sign Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, who they selected Monday with the first overall pick of the MLB draft.
“I expect him to sign,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said Friday at Minute Maid Park. “When that happens, I don’t really know right now, but I’m not anticipating a lot of trouble.”
Elias said once Rutschman signs, he expects to meet with the 21-year-old to discuss the plan for his summer workload, which could include playing positions other than catcher. That would reduce the physical demands on Rutschman in his first year in professional baseball.
“For us, from a developmental standpoint, the at-bats are gonna be more important,” Elias said. “His receiving is so polished that I don’t see us wanting to do a lot of work on that. By the end of the year, it became so apparent to us this is a really special bat, a really special hitter. Now, we’ll see how he does when he gets out there, but if he kinda meets expectations offensively, then it might be a discussion of how to pace him from a physical standpoint.”
The slot value for the signing bonus of the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft is just over $8.4 million. The MLB draft signing deadline is July 12 at 5 p.m.
Santander recalled, Smith put on concussion IL
After a forceful crash into the left-field wall Thursday in Arlington, Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list Friday, with outfielder Anthony Santander recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.
Santander served as the Orioles’ 26th man in a May 1 doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, going 1-for-2 with a home run and a walk in his only major league action this season before Friday. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde put him to work quickly, batting Santander second.
“I feel good,” Santander said through team interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “Very thankful for the team for providing this opportunity. I feel strong, ready to help my team. Unfortunately, things happen in this game. Unfortunately, players get hurt, and it opens up opportunities for others, so I’m just trying to be here and help my team.”
Hyde said Smith’s injury is strictly the concussion, as other concerns after the collision regarding his shoulder and jaw have been alleviated. With Smith out for at least a week Santander, like other Orioles throughout 2019, gets the chance to capitalize on extended playing time.
“That’s kinda what’s cool about our club, is that a lot of these guys are getting an opportunity to be a major league player,” Hyde said. “Like I’ve talked about before, a lot of these guys have taken advantage of it and playing well. Anthony’s gonna get a chance to play, just like everybody else, and hopefully he swings the bat well and plays well for us.”
Around the horn
Outfielder DJ Stewart said the right ankle sprain that landed him on the IL is improving daily. … Elias, who spent the past seven seasons with Houston, isn’t the only Oriole who got to enjoy some reunions Friday. Before the game, Hyde met with Astros bench coach Joe Espada, his brother-in-law. Their wives are sisters.