TORONTO — The Orioles once again put left-handed reliever Donnie Hart on the Triple-A Norfolk shuttle, optioning him back to the minors before Sunday’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It marked the eighth time the Orioles have optioned Hart since spring training, the most of any player this season.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said having Hart was a luxury. He gave the Orioles four left-handers while right-hander Andrew Cashner began a brief and well-timed disabled list stint the week before the All-Star break, getting a pressure-point injection in his neck.
But when Cashner returned to the active roster to start Sunday at Rogers Centre, Hart was the one to leave.
Hart was the only Orioles reliever who didn’t pitch in the first two games after the break, and it’s interesting that he’s was optioned instead of Paul Fry, another left-handed reliever whom the Orioles are taking a long look at as the team rebuilds for the future.
Hart has a 3.72 ERA in 9 2/3 relief innings, and made just two appearances in his most recent stint with the major league club, allowing one run on two hits over two innings.
“Donnie can go down there and control [returning] again and pitch well,” Showalter said.
Jones, Davis sit
The starting lineup the Orioles put out Sunday looked more like a spring training lineup than one for mid-July, with center fielder Adam Jones and Chris Davis both getting the day off.
Showalter said he was giving Jones the day off to keep him off Rogers Centre’s artificial turf but also to help relieve soreness after he fouled a ball off his foot in Friday’s series opener.
“You’d figure he’d be sore, if not sorer today,” Showalter said. ‘That was a pretty good one. We were contemplating it yesterday. … He’s fine. We just want to keep him that way.”
Giving Davis a day off allowed Showalter to move Trey Mancini to first base and give Jace Peterson a start in left field.
“I know they said that just had four days off [for the All-Star break], but two days on this turf, it takes a lot more than four days [to feel fresh],” Showalter said.
Around the horn
Jonathan Schoop’s solo homer Sunday was his 14th career home run against the Blue Jays, his most against any opponent. … Mark Trumbo recorded his 16th multihit game of the season, five of those coming this month. … The Orioles recorded 15 strikeouts, their fourth game this season with 15 strikeouts or more.