John Andreoli, who was claimed off waivers by the Orioles on Saturday, was traveling cross-country this weekend preparing to join the his new organization’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk when he was told to fly to Toronto instead.
He joined the major league club in Canada on Monday for the Orioles’ series opener against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, recalled to replace designated hitter/outfielder Mark Trumbo, who went on the disabled list with right knee inflammation.
“I had a layover in Denver and got a text to call our farm director right away. He told me the news, so I was just really excited and it’s going to be an awesome opportunity,” Andreoli said. “So, just excited to be here. … Obviously, when you get [designated for assignment], you kind of just take a step back and see what happens. Get the opportunity to come here and compete with these guys, going to be an unbelievable opportunity and just going to try and make the most of it.”
The Orioles didn’t waste any time offering an audition to the 28-year-old Andreoli, who spent parts of eight seasons in the minors before receiving his first major league call-up earlier this season with the Seattle Mariners. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he planned to lay off Andreoli on Monday because he was traveling, but hoped to get him in the lineup Tuesday.
“You can see all the scouting reports you want to see, see all the film and things you want to see and talk to all the people who’ve had him,” Showalter said. “But I’m more [into] the fresh look. I really don’t spend too much time with that right now. I just want to let him get settled in and let him play and see if he’s a potential contributor for us going forward. He’s a young, athletic guy who is going to get an opportunity to impress.”
Andreoli has just three games of big league experience — he went 1-for-5 with a walk and two strikeouts — but had strong on-base numbers with Triple-A Tacoma, posting a .287/.397/.401 hitting line with 26 extra-base hits (18 doubles, five triples and three homers) and 19 steals in 24 attempts.
“Just sticking with my routine and my approach knowing the type of player I am,” Andreoli said. “Get on base and let the guys in the middle of the order do damage when I’m on base so we can score a lot of runs and win games. Wherever I am that day in the outfield, just do my job, play the game the right way and when the ball comes your way, make plays.”
In the minor leagues, Andreoli received most of his playing time in left field, but also played center and right regularly. He replaces Joey Rickard in the outfield mix after Rickard was optioned to Norfolk on Sunday.
“I can play all three outfield spots,” Andreoli said. “I can run the bases effectively and I feel like I put pressure on defenses. If I can get on base and put pressure on defenses there, too, and help the team score a lot of runs. Whatever role I can have here to help this team win, I’m going to embrace it and do my job.”
Before Monday’s game, Showalter said the team was still waiting for an MRI on Trumbo’s knee to be read.
“Hopefully there’s not any real structural changes,” Showalter said. “We’ll see. Yesterday, I could tell he was struggling. Usually, it’s more about [decelerating]. When he slows down, it bothers him. When he gets going, it’s not bad, but yesterday, it’s didn’t feel real stable. So hopefully we’ll get some good news and it won’t be long.”
Orioles announce international signing
The Orioles made their first international free-agent signing announcement of this signing period, which began July 2, publicizing that the club has signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Isaac Bellony.
Bellony (bell-OH-knee), who is listed at 6 feet 1 and 180 pounds, profiles as a center fielder. He received a bonus of $220,000, according to an industry source.
“Bellony is a young, switch-hitting center fielder with power, speed and a strong arm who was recruited by several clubs,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said in a statement. “We look forward to helping him develop into a major leaguer.”
Bellony is one of four players the Orioles have signed to six-figure bonuses since the current signing period began. The club has also signed Dominican shortstop Moises Ramirez ($225,000), Dominican outfielder Damien Valdez ($200,000) and outfielder J’Rudjeanon Isenia from Curaçao to a $125,000 bonus, according to the source. All three players are 16.
The largest bonus the Orioles gave to an international signing last period was the $150,000 bonus doled out to Venezuelan outfielder Ricardo Castro.
The Orioles have long underinvested in international free-agent spending, and ranked last in the majors in signing bonus money used for the past several years, but the club has said investing more resources in that market will be a key part of the team’s rebuild.
“Just look around the rosters in baseball, it’s pretty obvious,” Showalter said of the number of Latin American-born players in the game. “Just watch All-Star games. … It’s obvious that’s a part of the industry we need to be involved with if we can.”
Around the horn
Rookie outfielder Cedric Mullins had five doubles through his first nine major league games, making him the first Orioles hitter with at least five doubles through nine career games since current Orioles assistant hitting coach Howie Clark had five doubles in his first nine games from July 16-26, 2002. … Double-A Bowie left-hander Keegan Akin was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending this past Sunday. Akin, 23, won both of his starts last week, posting a 1.46 ERA with 13 strikeouts and two walks over 12 1/3 innings. Akin is 14-6 this season with a 2.77 ERA over 23 starts spanning 130 innings. … The Orioles activated outfielder Adam Jones from the bereavement list before Monday’s game. He missed three games.