The Orioles’ pitching staff received an intriguing shake-up before Tuesday night’s matchup with the Houston Astros, with knuckleballer Mickey Jannis joining the club and Rule 5 draft pick Mac Sceroler designated for assignment.
Jannis, 33, could become the third-oldest player in Orioles history to make his American or National League debut if he makes an appearance, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He joined the organization before the 2020 season, one in which he didn’t pitch because of the coronavirus pandemic, after stops with affiliates of the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Mets and several independent league teams.
After a spring training clip of his knuckleball in slow motion went viral online, Jannis joined Triple-A Norfolk, where in seven games (one start), he posted a 2.92 ERA and allowed under a hit per inning. According to MLB Statcast data, only 186 of the more than 1.3 million pitches thrown over the past three seasons have been a knuckleball, with more than a quarter of those tracked being thrown by position players.
The first of two pitchers the Orioles selected in the Rule 5 draft in the offseason, Sceroler was required to remain on their major league roster all season or be offered back to his original club, the Cincinnati Reds, if he clears waivers. Any team that claims Sceroler, the nephew of former Orioles pitcher and current broadcaster Ben McDonald, would also have to retain him on their 26-man major league roster.
After 2 ⅓ hitless innings against the New York Yankees in his major league debut, Sceroler allowed at least three runs in his next four outings and missed nearly two months with right shoulder tendinitis. In his first stint pitching above High-A, Sceroler recorded a 14.09 ERA.
Manoah, Montoyo suspended for Franco hit-by-pitch
The hit-by-pitch that prompted a benches-clearing incident over the weekend at Camden Yards has led to a pair of suspensions for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Starting pitcher Alek Manoah, who drilled Orioles third baseman Maikel Franco with an up-and-in fastball on his first pitch after allowing consecutive home runs, has been suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount for “intentionally throwing” at Franco, the league announced.
While Manoah is appealing his suspension, Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo, who got into a verbal spat with Orioles manager Brandon Hyde amid the altercation, received a one-game suspension that will be served Tuesday against the Miami Marlins.
Around the horn
» Hyde said left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (Ellicott City) will be out two to three more weeks after going on the injured list with left bicep tendinitis.
Latest Baltimore Orioles
» Anthony Santander (left ankle) was out of the lineup Tuesday for a second straight day. Hyde said he is feeling better and is still dealing with the same residual soreness from the sprain that cost him a month. He has not aggravated the injury, Hyde said.