Orioles notes: Castro activated, is strong in relief; Flaherty starts in right, gets RBI; call-ups considered

The Orioles activated right-handed reliever Miguel Castro from the bereavement list before Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Oakland Athletics and he proved to be extremely valuable out of the bullpen in the Orioles' 8-7 walkoff win in 12 innings.

The Orioles placed Castro on the bereavement list before Sunday's game after the death of a close family member. He had to remain on the bereavement list for at least three days, so he couldn't be activated until Wednesday.


He replaced closer Zach Britton in the ninth and provided 3 2/3 scoreless innings, retiring 11 of the 14 batters he faced. Castro allowed two hits and walked one while striking out three.

The club has used days off — and now is taking advantage of having six rotation options — to limit Bundy’s innings.

Castro pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings on consecutive days Friday and Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, so over the course of the past six games he's thrown 8 1/3 scoreless innings.


"I mean, gosh, what a job he did coming in for me," Britton said. "First off, getting out of that jam [in the ninth] and then throwing what, three more innings after that? I mean that's pretty impressive. I think you're looking at a future starter probably with that arsenal."

Castro has served as an important bridge to the late innings, especially with a recent string of short starts from the rotation and the Orioles working with a six-man bullpen. His past four outings and six of his past eight have been at least two innings.

"It's allowed us to stay on our feet," Showalter said. "Whether we're going to have to make a pitching move now or not, at least he provided some length for us."

Flaherty makes start in right


Utility man Ryan Flaherty started his first game since returning from the disabled list, playing right field and batting ninth Wednesday. He was 1-for-3 with an RBI single.

Flaherty was activated last Thursday and hadn't started in the first five games since his return, but Showalter saw Wednesday as a good opportunity to get him some playing time before the team heads to Boston this weekend. Flaherty, a Portland, Maine, native, is a .308/.356/.440 hitter with nine extra-base hits (seven doubles, a triple and a home run) and 11 RBIs in 30 career games at Fenway Park.

"He hasn't played since he's been back," Showalter said. "I've been looking for a spot for him. Day game, off day tomorrow. We knew he's … got a pretty good track record in Boston. I really don't want him to go into that series without any plate appearances."

Considering call-ups

Showalter said he met with executive vice president Dan Duquette on Tuesday to discuss players who could be called up when rosters expand Sept. 1.

Teams can expand their rosters to 40, but Showalter typically doesn't like to clutter the clubhouse with players who might not contribute or benefit from a month of experiencing the big league atmosphere. Because of that, the club usually adds just a handful of players.

"Dan and I touched on it a bit yesterday," Showalter said. "I know he's kind of polling the Double-A and Triple-A managers about their recommendations. I think when we've heard from him, we'll sit down next week when we get back [from Boston] and try to finalize it. Bowie has got a shot at the playoffs, so you take all those things into consideration."

Showalter said there are at least two players being considered who aren't currently on the organizational 40-man roster, so the team would have to make space for them and to activate J.J. Hardy from the 60-day DL when he's ready.

"There are a number of players down there I like, but it's got to fit in a lot of different ways," Showalter said. "One, they've got to serve a need up here, and then you try to bridge that gap between who might benefit from being up here a month to get ahead of the curve a little bit with that adjustment period if they're going to be here next year."

Last year, Trey Mancini was called up in mid-September and was 5-for-14 with three homers in five games with the Orioles, setting the stage to make the club this year and eventually become an everyday player.

The club began clearing 40-man space Wednesday, outrighting left-hander Vidal Nuño to Triple-A Norfolk after he cleared waivers. Nuño was on the inactive list for nearly two months before be was activated Friday. Nuño entered Wednesday with a 2.82 ERA over 22 1/3 innings at Norfolk.

Hardy continues rehab

Hardy played in the second game of his minor league rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Norfolk, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. He was also charged with a throwing error on a play that Showalter said should've been picked by the first baseman.

Like Hardy said before leaving for the assignment, Showalter said he believes the 35-year-old's biggest obstacle will be getting his throwing arm back in shape after being out for two months unable to throw because of the broken bone in his right wrist.

"I think the biggest thing with him is the same thing he goes through during the spring, is getting the shoulder in shape," Showalter said. "Not that it hurts or anything. It just doesn't have the fluidity he's looking for. That's what's going to take the most time I think."

Around the horn

First baseman Chris Davis' solo homer in the eighth inning was his 124th career home run at Camden Yards, tying him with Rafael Palmeiro for second place all-time in ballpark history. Center fielder Adam Jones is first with 135 homers. … With his home run on Wednesday, catcher Welington Castillo's 14 this season are tied for fourth most among all AL catchers. … Shortstop Tim Beckham had three hits on Wednesday and is hitting .421 (40-for-95) in 22 games with the Orioles.

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