PHILADELPHIA — Manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles had an unexpected outfield roster spot come open this week with Colby Rasmus’ decision to leave the team, and Showalter spoke Wednesday about whether prospect Cedric Mullins was given consideration for that spot, which was filled by Joey Rickard.
Showalter said such decisions are up to executive vice president Dan Duquette and director of player development Brian Graham, with input from Norfolk manager Ron Johnson “if we have a need.”
“Cedric is doing well,” Showalter said. “He went through a period early like a lot of guys do when they get promoted. You see it a little bit with [Ryan] McKenna [at Double-A Bowie, too], he’s starting to get going.”
Mullins, who was promoted from Bowie after batting .313 with an .875 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and 23 extra-base hits in 49 games, started slowly in his first taste of the International League. He hit .188 in his first 16 games there, but raised his average to .267 in his past 14, thanks to 20-for-56 (.357) hitting in that span.
“It’s good to see him starting to show himself well at that level, but the one thing Cedric has always brought is above-average defense, through thick and thin,” Showalter said. “He’s been a contributor defensively. We’ll see where it takes us. I’m excited about his progress.”
Mullins, 23, is not on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, but needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this fall. The Orioles have required many of their hitting prospects outside of Manny Machado to get significant seasoning in Triple-A before calling them up, though Austin Hays was an exception last year.
Rickard gets nod
Rickard, who was optioned June 21 to accommodate Rasmus’ return, rejoined the Orioles on Wednesday after batting 10-for-26 (.384) since he was sent down.
Showalter said how Rickard has performed when he’s been optioned has been one of the most impressive things about him this season.
“That’s the thing,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of like with Donnie Hart. They control it. Joey goes down and plays well. That’s why he’s always a solid option for us. I’m glad to get him back. The same way with Donnie, I tell them when they go down: you control this. Our guys have been good about that when they go down. I think it’s because they know the opportunity’s going to be there again.”
Rickard is batting .203 with five home runs in 79 big-league at-bats, and made his return known with a diving catch in left field as a defensive replacement Wednesday.
Right-hander Matthias Dietz, the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2016, was promoted to High-A Frederick after a much better showing this year than last at Low-A Delmarva.
Dietz was added to the Keys roster ahead of Wednesday’s game with Carolina, leaving the South Atlantic League at 6-2 with a 3.56 ERA.
Bundy on track for Friday
After another successful bullpen session on Wednesday in Philadelphia, right-hander Dylan Bundy (left ankle sprain) is on track to be activated from the 10-day disabled list Friday in Minnesota.
“He was out here before doing a lot of agilities,” Showalter said. “He’s the starter Friday, so the day after tomorrow, we’ll have to make a move.”
Around the horn
The Orioles on Tuesday announced John Vidalin will join the club as chief operating officer for business operations, overseeing day-to-day operations of revenue, branding, customer experience, ballpark operations, and event development. A former executive of the Miami Heat and San Francisco 49ers, Vidalin will begin in August, the club said. … Wednesday was the fifth start in six games for catcher Chance Sisco since he was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. Before that, Caleb Joseph started eight of nine games.