Yan­kees have a dif­fer­ent look this time

Since drop­ping older play­ers, they have climbed into wild-card race

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Ed­uardo A. Encina eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard

WASH­ING­TON — The Yan­kees team the Ori­oles will face this week­end in the Bronx will have an al­tered ap­pear­ance from the one they saw on their pre­vi­ous trip to New York nearly six weeks ago.

“That was a dif­fer­ent team,” Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter said. “They have a whole dif­fer­ent look. There may not be a team you’d less like to play right now than the Yan­kees. They’ve got a nice karma around them.”

The Yan­kees fo­cused on the fu­ture at the non­waiver trade dead­line, deal­ing All-Star out­fielder Car­los Bel­tran and lock­down re­liev­ers Aroldis Chap­man and An­drew Miller, and call­ing up a crop of prospects to get their feet wet as the sea­son winds down.

Alex Ro­driguez is gone af­ter his abrupt re­tire­ment an­nounce­ment. For vet­er­ans such as catcher Brian McCann and Sev­erna Park na­tive Mark Teixeira, who also an­nounced his re­tire­ment, roles have changed to give way to a youth move­ment led by catcher Gary Sanchez, first base­man Tyler Austin and out­fielder Aaron Judge.

The Yan­kees have won nine of their past 14 games and are 13-9 in Au­gust, mov­ing into wild-card con­tention. They head home af­ter win­ning their third straight road se­ries for the first time this sea­son.

The Ori­oles en­tered Thurs­day night’s game in the lead for the sec­ond Amer­i­can League wild-card spot by 21⁄ games over the Detroit Tigers, but the Yan­kees were within earshot, five games back.

So the Ori­oles’ week­end se­ries in New York at Yankee Sta­dium is a crit­i­cal one. The Ori­oles lost three of four dur­ing their first trip there this sea­son, scor­ing just six runs in the se­ries.

The Ori­oles’ fi­nal se­ries of the reg­u­lar sea­son will also take place in the Bronx, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, pos­si­bly with more on the line. Bullpen carousel con­tin­ues: The new-look Ori­oles bullpen now has its share of op­tion­able pieces, which will al­low Showal­ter to add fresh re­liev­ers when needed. And Showal­ter said Thurs­day that he plans to con­tinue to re­plen­ish his bullpen with length on a day-to-day ba­sis if nec­es­sary.

Be­fore Thurs­day’s game, the team op­tioned right-han­der Parker Brid­well, who al­lowed four runs over 11⁄ re­lief in­nings in Wed­nes­day night’s 10-8 win, to Triple-A Nor­folk and re­placed him with right-han­der Lo­gan On­drusek from Dou­ble-A Bowie.

Showal­ter will be able to keep mov­ing bullpen pieces back and forth — re­liev­ers Mike Wright, Don­nie Hart and On­drusek are all op­tion­able — be­fore he will have the ben­e­fit of an ex­panded ros­ter be­gin­ning Thurs­day.

Showal­ter said that, like Brid­well’s first stint in the ma­jors, On­drusek’s stay could be short if he were needed for length Thurs­day (he threw 32 pitches). “That’s not the eas­i­est at­mos­phere to pitch in, but there’s al­ways that pos­si­bil­ity,” Showal­ter said. Till­man back to throw­ing next week: Right-han­der Chris Till­man is sched­uled to re­sume throw­ing Mon­day or Tues­day with a light ses­sion off flat ground, Showal­ter said.

Till­man re­ceived a cor­ti­sone in­jec­tion in his right shoul­der Tues­day and went on the dis­abled list Wed­nes­day with right shoul­der bur­si­tis, but is el­i­gi­ble to re­turn Sept. 5, when the Ori­oles open a three-game se­ries at the Tampa Bay Rays. When the club placed Till­man on the DL, Showal­ter was op­ti­mistic he would be able to re­turn when el­i­gi­ble.

Showal­ter said the team has mapped out Till­man’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram.

“We’re mov­ing him along,” Showal­ter said. “We have an idea of when he might start for us again if ev­ery­thing went well, but I’m not go­ing to go out there yet pub­licly on that. But I will tell you Mon­day or Tues­day, prob­a­bly Tues­day, he’s go­ing to play catch on flat ground.” Around the horn: Showal­ter said he met with his coaches to dis­cuss play­ers and mi­nor league staff to add when ros­ters ex­pand Thurs­day. The team will also in­vite an ad­di­tional group of play­ers to work out in Sara­sota, Fla., af­ter the mi­nor league sea­son ends who will serve as call-up pos­si­bil­i­ties. … Ori­oles sea­son-ticket hold­ers re­ceived emails Thurs­day with their post­sea­son in­voices and de­tails about post­sea­son pur­chas­ing pack­ages.

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