Asencio made his first appearance for the Orioles on Friday, pitching a scoreless seventh. He allowed two batters to reach on a walk and single, but he struck out right fielder Jose Bautista and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion — who have combined for 44 home runs this season — to end the inning.
Asencio, working primarily as Norfolk’s closer this season, went 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA and 20 saves in 37 1/3 innings before his call-up.
Asencio’s stint with the Orioles allows the team to see what he can add to the bullpen before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and help it decide whether or not any moves for bullpen help will need to be made.
“I like some of the things that are described that play up here,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter added. “I’ve seen guys that have really good walk totals down there come up here and not be able to throw it over. There’s a different fear of the bat. There’s things that play into mentally. Those numbers don’t always equate up here, but I like the way [Tides manager Ron Johnson] and [pitching coach Mike Griffin] describe what he’s doing and the repertoire that has potential to play up here. We’ll see.”
The 30-year-old Asencio has appeared in 39 major league games in parts of three seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs, and he’s 1-2 with a 5.23 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings in those games.
“Every year I pitch great in Triple-A,” Asencio said. “I don’t know what happens in the big leagues.”
In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Asencio, the Orioles designated for assignment Jurrjens. Jurrjens has 10 days to be traded, released or be claimed on waivers, or he’ll be outrighted to Norfolk where he’s 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 16 games. He made two appearances for the Orioles this season, pitching 7 1/3 innings and allowing four earned runs.
The Orioles signed the 27-year-old Jurrjens, a National League All-Star in 2011 when he finished 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA, to a minor league deal before spring training. He was a dark horse for the No. 5 starter slot.
“Jair still has a chance to pitch competitively up here,” Showalter said. “He has shown periods down there, it’s just been inconsistent. It’s kind of like with [left-hander Tsuyoshi] Wada, and two different things. Sometimes the physical part of it takes a while to come. Someone may be old and the golden goose when it hits. It’s all about timing sometimes.”
** Showalter said outfielder-designated hitter Chris Dickerson’s shoulder injury was “minor in nature” and he shouldn’t have to spend any time on the disabled list. Dickerson said he was going to try to throw Friday, but Showalter said it was weather permitting.
** Second baseman Brian Roberts is batting leadoff Friday night against Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle. Roberts has batted fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth this season but hasn’t batted leadoff since July 1, 2012, his final game last season. Roberts is batting .200 against lefties this season, but he’s hitting .302 against Buehrle with one home run and three RBIs in 43 at-bats.
“It’s just a better matchup for us,” Showalter said. “You’re talking about a team that’s been carrying eight [relief] pitchers for a while, four right and four left. I’m sure they and we feel like we’re always capable of pitching nine innings, but it presents the best challenge to their type of bullpen. Also, to be able to spread certain things out and give them different looks.”
** Showalter said right-hander Josh Stinson was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk after Thursday’s game so he could continue to pitch. He had posted three straight quality starts in his final three outings with the Tides before Wednesday’s call-up. He’s scheduled to pitch Friday night.
“We want to keep Stinson on turn and not let him get too far from having the ball in his hand,” Showalter said. “He’s coming off two or three good starts, and we don’t want him sitting around up here.”
** The Orioles acquired minor league right-hander Tim Alderson from Pittsburgh for infielder Russ Canzler, who was designated for assignment July 6. Alderson is 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 22 appearances for Triple-A Indianapolis this season.
Orioles lineup: Roberts 4, Machado 5, Markakis 9, Jones 8, Davis 3, Wieters 2, Hardy 6, McLouth 7, Reimold DH; Tillman 1