New additions primed for playoff push
O’s hope for spark from Bourn, Stubbs; Tillman to return Sept. 11
Between their two veteran additions — outfielders Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs — and the trio of catcher Caleb Joseph and pitchers Jayson Aquino and Tyler Wilson summoned from Triple- A Norfolk, the Orioles hope they’ve added enough to their experienced core to remain in playoff contention.
Each of those newcomers was glad to be joining a team Friday that’s already in a pennant chase.
“It’s always kind of a whirlwind whenever you get shifted around from one team to the next, but landing here for the month of September and being right in the thick of things is always exciting,” said Stubbs, whom the Orioles claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
Manager Buck Showalter said Stubbs and Bourn, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league outfielder Jason Heinrich, are going to be welcome additions to the team.
“You have one right-handed [Stubbs], one left-handed [in Bourn],” Showalter said. “Both of them can play all three positions. … I’ve liked both of them from afar. I think they’re two good additions for us.”
Bourn, a two-time All-Star who has two Gold Gloves, said he hopes the new faces can spark the Orioles.
“You always want to be in a position of being able to go and play the postseason,” Bourn said. “You’ve got four teams pretty much fighting for two spots. I think it’s fun.”
For veterans Bourn and Stubbs, the handshakes in the Orioles clubhouse were introductory. For Joseph, it was a welcome back. The longtime backup catcher was sent down to the minors last month and returns with a sense that the club is primed for a big run.
“There are guys who have been in this situation before, and there’s not a panic level on this team,” Joseph said. “The core group has been around long enough to have those ups and downs, to know each game is important, but at the same time you can’t just linger on one game. Knowing the experience in terms of when to hit the gas and when to take it off is huge.” Bourn Tillman’s schedule set: Right-hander Chris Tillman is on track to return from the disabled list, where he has spent the past two weeks with right shoulder bursitis, Sept. 11.
“Chris felt good today, so he’s right on that schedule we set up,” Showalter said. “If everything goes well, he’ll pitch on [Sept. 11], if he doesn’t have any setbacks on that.”
Tillman is scheduled to throw in the bullpen Sunday and Wednesday, then have a light catch Friday before retaking his spot in the rotation in the series finale against the host Detroit Tigers.
The veteran right-hander, who leads the team with a 15-5 record and a 3.76 ERA, went on the DL after struggling with the injury in his Aug. 20 start against the Houston Astros. Jones back in lineup: Center fielder Adam Jones returned to his place atop the Orioles lineup after missing five games with a hamstring strain and went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
“I’m going to be there for my team,” Jones said. “It’s an exciting month. Last month of the season, see what we’ve got.”
Showalter said there was some apprehension about putting him in the lineup, but noted that this type of injury means Jones won’t be fully healthy all year. The time off has helped, however.
Jones had praise for his fill-in, Nolan Reimold, and said this was the time of year that a veteran team such as the Orioles is made for.
“I think we’ve been in this situation the last five years, so I think we’ve got guys who understand what it takes, especially this time of season,” Jones said. Around the horn: Helen Maroulis, a Rockville native whowonagold medal in 53-kilogram wrestling at the Rio Olympics, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Reliever Darren O’Day, who has been out for three weeks with a rotator cuff strain, played catch and will throw off a half-mound Sunday, Showalter said. … Outfielder Joey Rickard (torn thumb ligament) has been cleared for baseball activities, Showalter said. Rickard is eligible to be activated off the 60-day DL on Sept. 19.
Starters: Yovani Gallardo (4-7, 5.62) vs. Rays’ Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.56)