The Orioles will bring up an eighth bullpen arm from the minors before Friday’s series opener in Cleveland, with either left-hander Luis Gonzalez or right-hander Ryan Meisinger expected to get the nod.
The addition would allow the club to remain at eight relievers after the Orioles optioned right-hander Evan Phillips following Wednesday’s 16-5 loss to the New York Mets.
The Orioles’ 40-man roster is currently at 38 players, so there is space to add Gonzalez. Meisinger is already on the organizational roster.
Both pitchers have provided multiple-inning relief appearances, something the Orioles are seeking as the team looks to bridge games in the middle innings with a new-look bullpen.
Gonzalez has long been an intriguing relief arm. He has had a strong season between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 2.15 ERA over 62 2/3 innings. Since receiving a mid-July promotion to Norfolk, he owns a 2.12 ERA in 17 relief innings, holding opposing hitters to a .239 batting average while averaging exactly a strikeout an inning.
All eight of Rodriguez’s outings for Norfolk have been more than one inning, including six of two innings or more.
Meisinger received a brief big-league call-up June 29, and he posted a 3.00 ERA in six innings with the Orioles before being optioned back to Norfolk. He has a 3.86 ERA in five appearances since returning to Triple-A, holding opponents to a .200 batting average over that span. In his final outing before being sent back to Norfolk, Meisinger threw three scoreless innings against the Yankees on July 9.
Phillips, one of four players acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the July 31 Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day trade, allowed 10 runs (eight earned) over 3 1/3 innings in four relief appearances with the Orioles, including two in which he failed to record an out.
He brought a 94-mph fastball to the big leagues, but trouble commanding his four seamer made his lack of a breaking ball glaring at the big league level. Seventy percent of Phillips’ pitches with the Orioles were four-seam fastballs (63 of 90) and he threw his slider just 16 times.
Wilkerson moves to Bowie to continue rehab
Infielder Steve Wilkerson continued his rehabilitation assignment Thursday night with Double-A Bowie, starting at third base at home against Richmond.
Wilkerson, who is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, played two games in the Gulf Coast League, going 3-for-6 with two walks and two strikeouts.
Wilkerson is expected to remain with the Baysox when the team goes on the road Friday to Erie. They play at Erie through Sunday and at Richmond through Tuesday, but it’s unclear whether Wilkerson will remain with the club for the whole road trip.