TORONTO — Despite making significant strides in his most recent stint in the Orioles bullpen, left-hander Tanner Scott was placed on the Triple-A Norfolk shuttle before Saturday’s afternoon game in Toronto in order to make room for right-hander Darren O’Day, who returned from a hyperextended elbow injury that cost him five weeks.
Scott, 23, had started to be groomed for a late-inning role in recent weeks, and he could play a more significant role sooner than later if the Orioles trade some of their veteran relievers leading up to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. But the Orioles’ current situation, and the fact that he didn’t allow a run in 10 innings with Norfolk, wasn't enough to keep Scott with the big league club.
“It’s always tough,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I want to keep him on a good schedule. He’s having a good year. He’s made some real strides and we want to keep the ball in his hands. Those rainouts kind of put him [in a different position]. It is good for him. With Zach [Britton] potentially coming back Monday, he’s a guy who is on a good path. We want to keep him on it. He’s got a chance to really help us, so I want to keep the ball in his hand.”
Scott has posted a 4.96 ERA in 13 major league appearances this season, but over his past five outings – each a one-inning appearance – he posted a 3.60 ERA, struck out nine while walking one and held opponents to a .222 batting average. He allowed one run in each of his past two appearances.
Scott has 23 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings while issuing just six walks, and he’s used his slider as a legitimate swing-and-miss pitch to go with a high-90s fastball.
“It reminds you of some really good relief pitchers who have that slider,” Showalter said. “I don’t want to start name dropping and start putting that onus on him, but he has the chance to be pretty good because guys look out there at the other teams. They kind of slide up to the top step with a guy they haven’t seen much who throws that hard. You can see when they say, ‘Oh he’s got that, too.’ You can tell the confidence and the command he’s got of it. … He really hasn’t gotten into much trouble with it at all. … He’s gotten better command of the fastball every time I’ve seen him.”
But in a bullpen that also includes immovable high-ERA relievers Mike Wright Jr. (6.46) and Rule 5 draft pick Pedro Araujo (6.67), Scott was one of the team’s few optionable pitchers.
Davis out again
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game Saturday afternoon, a move Showalter said was a manager’s decision.
Davis sat Saturday despite strong numbers against Toronto Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez. Davis is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with four homers and five RBIs against Sanchez. Those four homers are the most of any Orioles player against Sanchez.
After an 0-for-4, three-strikeout game against Toronto on Thursday, a game in which he stranded five base runners and his average dropped to .152, Davis sat Friday night. Showalter said it was a day off against left-hander J.A. Happ, but it served as a mental reset day for Davis.
Latest on Harvey
The Orioles publicly remain mum on top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey’s shoulder injury that prompted him to miss Friday’s scheduled start for Double-A Bowie.
“He’s got some shoulder discomfort that they’re looking at, nothing done throwing a baseball, just a kind of freakish thing,” Showalter said before Saturday’s game.
According to a source, Harvey didn’t hurt his shoulder pitching, but it popped out of its socket as he attempted to dodge a ball that came into the dugout. A prognosis for the 23-year-old’s return hasn’t been revealed, but more should be known in two weeks.
“I know the timeframe, and he’s going to be down for a while,” Showalter said.
Around the horn
Chance Sisco was 2-for-4 with a walk and RBI on Saturday for his first multihit game since May 11. … Jace Peterson reached base three times (two singles and a walk) Saturday, doing so for the first time this season. … After his two-hit game Saturday, Danny Valencia is hitting .348 over his last 26 games. … After a one-inning outing with Norfolk on Friday, Britton is scheduled to be activated from the DL before Monday’s home game against the Boston Red Sox. “He’s checked every box, and some of them twice,” Showalter said. … Outfielder Colby Rasmus posted the first multihit game of his minor league rehabilitation assignment Friday, going 2-for-5 with an RBI for High-A Frederick. He entered Saturday 3-for-23 on his rehab. … Triple-A Norfolk outfielder DJ Stewart (hamstring) is expected to return from the minor league DL on Monday.