New ad­di­tions primed for play­off push

O’s hope for spark from Bourn, Stubbs; Till­man to re­turn Sept. 11

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

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)

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