Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins returned to the starting lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays after missing Sunday night’s game with a sore hip flexor, starting in center and batting leadoff.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Mullins tested his hip before the Orioles took batting practice Monday and he spent the day gaining valuable information from coaches in the minor league system who had Mullins for an extended time.
“You’re familiarizing yourselves with players,” Showalter said. “[Head athletic trainer] Brian [Ebel] and him were out there running and hitting and moving around, we think. We’ll see, once the speed of the major league game. I don’t know for sure, but we think so.
“I was talking to some guys in our system who had him a lot today [to] try to get a feel. Some guys are real up front and frank with you. Some guys might mask some things. Just trying to get a feel from people who’ve had him for 100-plus games. So you can make good decisions on things like this. I think so. We’ll see.”
Mullins is a player who relies on his legs. Last season, he was slowed by a hamstring injury, but he came into this season healthy and had a breakout season at Double-A and Triple-A before earning a big league call-up Aug. 10.
Mullins has hit safely in 10 of his 15 starts, including five multihit games, and has a .896 OPS.
Rogers to start Tuesday
Showalter announced after Monday night’s 7-0 win over the Blue Jays that left-hander Josh Rogers will start Tuesday night’s game against Toronto.
Rogers, who was scratched from his scheduled start tonight for Norfolk, will have his contract selected Tuesday and make his major league debut.
Right-handed reliever Cody Carroll was optioned to Norfolk after Monday night’s game to make room on the roster for Rogers.
Rogers, who is one of the three players the Orioles received from the Yankees in the Zach Britton deal, has pitched well in five starts since joining the organization, going 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and allowing just 26 hits in 30 1/3 innings. Rogers, 24, allowed three earned runs or fewer in all five of his starts with the Tides, including quality starts in each of his first three starts for Norfolk.
Mariñez returning to rehab assignment
Right-hander reliever Jhan Mariñez was brought to Baltimore this weekend to potentially be activated from the disabled list, but Showalter said he will likely go back on a rehabilitation assignment.
“I believe he’s getting ready to leave,” Showalter said. “He’s on rehab. Talking the [executive vice president] Dan [Duquette], he needs to get back and continue his rehab assignment.”
Mariñez has been on the DL since Aug. 3 with a right hamstring strain. He made one rehab appearance in the Gulf Coast League and another for Triple-A Norfolk, pitching a scoreless relief inning in each outing, before he was summoned to Baltimore.
Mariñez, who spent most of the season in Norfolk, made just eight major league appearances with the Orioles before going on the DL, finishing with a 5.63 ERA while allowing an opponents’ batting average of .310.
Team trades for minor leaguer Zoellner
The Orioles made a minor trade Tuesday, acquiring infielder Jack Zoellner from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for an international bonus slot of undisclosed value.
After acquiring international bonus slots at the nonwaiver trade deadline — amassing the ability to spend roughly $8 million in international free agents — this is the first time this signing period that the Orioles have used the slots as a trade asset.
The 23-year-old Zoellner, an 11th-round pick by the Phillies last season out of the University of New Mexico, was playing for the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League team, hitting .236/.364/.422 with seven homers and 42 RBIs in 46 games.
“Jack Zoellner should be a good addition to our system,” Duquette said in a text message. “He is a capable left-handed hitters with good on-base skills and power.”
Zoellner is reporting to the Orioles’ GCL team based in Sarasota, Fla.
Before the Orioles announced the trade, Showalter was asked whether he predicted more trades before the deadline to add players to be eligible for postseason rosters. Players dealt now must clear trade waivers and be on a team’s roster by Sept. 1 to be eligible for the postseason.
“What have we got…five days?” Showalter said. “Just like the other deadline, people don’t really show their hands until right at the end. It might be the same thing here. Usually this time of year, things are affected by health. I was talking to Dan [Duquette] about some things today about some things he’s looking into and thinking about. But you can have something with a club that you think matches up and is great and here it is and they go, ‘No.’ We traded some really good players, so there’s been a lot of movement. I just don’t know. I don’t want to know and he doesn’t need to tell me. I’ve got my hands full here.”
Around the horn
Showalter lauded how right-hander Yefry Ramírez has pitched in a relief role. Ramírez pitched three scoreless innings in long relief Sunday and provided five scoreless innings in his only other relief outing June 28. … After Trey Mancini struggled defensively at first base Saturday, Showalter said he was tempted to get Mancini back out at first Monday, but instead likely will over the next few days. “I think Trey’s going to be fine over there,” Showalter said. “He positions himself well and he’s always engaged. There’s a certain fluidity and comfort that you get from being there every day.”