Orioles notes: Left-hander Donnie Hart optioned to Triple-A, Mark Trumbo returns

To activate slugger Mark Trumbo from the 10-day disabled list before Wednesday afternoon's series finale at Angel Stadium, the Orioles optioned left-handed reliever Donnie Hart to Triple-A Norfolk.

The move put the Orioles bullpen back at seven pitchers including demoted starter Chris Tillman, who hasn't yet pitched in relief.


Whether the Orioles can get through the next few weeks with seven relievers before rosters expand Sept. 1 remains to be seen, but the club has been able to get by because of some recent deep starts.

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"We've gotten some good starts and that's where it fell," manager Buck Showalter said. "We're only what 2½, three weeks until September. … If not him, then who?"

Hart, 26, has been with the big league club since June 20 and pitched well in his most recent stint after some early-season struggles. He had a 2.00 ERA in 16 outings spanning 18 innings, holding opponents to a .212 batting average from June 20 until being optioned.

"He pitched real well for us last year and has at times this year," Showalter said. "The thing that I've liked is that when we have sent him down, he's done well down there and given us every reason to bring him back. That's one of the things I've challenged him with today. He knows. There are a few things that he kind of got away from a little bit.

"He knew it, but Donnie is a really tough evaluator of himself. If anything, he's a little over. He's got to trust himself. He pitched well [Tuesday] night, but he's had a couple bumps here and there. But that's a tough job. You come in, very seldom do you get to start an inning and you're expected to come in and be on the first hitter. That's the life of left-handed [relievers] at this level."

Hart remained with the club Wednesday before the team traveled to Oakland just in case a DL move needed to be made and Hart could be recalled.

The Orioles will have other difficult roster moves to make when the minor league rehabilitation windows for utility man Ryan Flaherty and Rule 5 draft pick Anthony Santander expire next week.

Smith sits with sore hamstring

Outfielder Seth Smith did not play Wednesday while nursing a sore hamstring, Showalter said after the team's 5-1 series-finale loss to the Angels.

Showalter said Smith's hamstring isn't bad enough to be a disabled list consideration, but he wanted to give Smith the day off with the Orioles playing an afternoon-after-night game Wednesday. Smith has had hamstring problems in the past this season, and the Orioles have been cautious to ensure the discomfort doesn't lead to anything worse.

"Just sore," Showalter said. "He probably could have played today. But with that quick turnaround and some of the symptoms he was showing, just wanted to be on the safe side today. Not have it turn into something else."

Smith had a forgettable game on the base paths Tuesday, getting thrown out as the lead runner twice, both times in scoring position.

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Flaherty still has 'hurdle' to clear

Flaherty's impressive offensive numbers on his minor league rehab assignment have been noticed, but the utility man still has one throwing skill to demonstrate before he's ready to be activated from the DL.


After going 3-for-4 with a double and a home run Tuesday for Double-A Bowie, Flaherty entered Wednesday hitting .378/.531/.595 with two homers and five RBIs in 11 minor league rehab games. His 20-day minor-league rehab window expires Tuesday, which would be in line with Showalter hoping he rejoins the team next week in Seattle.

"He's still got one more hurdle to get over," Showalter said. "He's swinging the bat really well over there. … Just one more thing he's got to get over there before [we activate him]. I'm hoping it's Seattle, but I'm going to lean on the boots-on-the-ground guys and what they tell us and things you can't see from just watching some highlight or some tape."

Flaherty landed on the disabled list with a dead throwing arm, and he's still finding ways to keep it loose during games. On Tuesday, he was watched by special assignment instructor Mike Bordick.

Orioles trade local product Steve Johnson

The Orioles traded Triple-A Norfolk reliever Steve Johnson, a St. Paul's product, to the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations, the team announced before Wednesday's game.

Johnson has been on the minor league disabled list for the past month with a left ankle injury. He missed time in June with the same injury.

Johnson, 29, was 1-2 with a 5.30 ERA in 37 1/3 innings with the Tides. Fourteen of his 19 outings were in relief, and opponents batted .278 against him. Johnson had a 4.18 ERA in 23 2/3 innings as a reliever.

He had begun settling into a role as a multi-inning reliever, posting a 2.57 ERA over his last seven appearances (four earned runs in 14 innings). Six of those seven outings were two innings or more.

Johnson, who is the son of former Orioles pitcher and MASN broadcaster Dave Johnson, re-signed with the Orioles on a minor league deal in March.

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