The Baltimore Orioles are the best at maneuvering around the limitations of the 25-man roster, and the new 10-day disabled list is going to aid in that.
Who would be sent down, inquiring minds wanted to know?
Would it be Craig Gentry, who was out of options and would have almost certainly been claimed by another team? No.
Would it be Oliver Drake, who is also out of options, and has pitched well in two appearances for the Orioles’ bullpen? No.
How about Vidal Nuno, the left-handed long reliever who has yet to pitch for the Orioles, despite warming up on Saturday? Still on the roster.
Tyler Wilson, who has one of the Oriole wins, was another potential option as the right-handed long reliever. He is still in Baltimore.
Then there is Trey Mancini. Everyone knows how much the Orioles love his bat, and they trusted him enough to put him in right field in their first game against a left-hander. Not him either, he is starting at DH on Sunday.
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That leaves Joey Rickard. Rickard also has options but is an Oriole starter against left-handers. When he wasn’t in the Sunday lineup, you wondered if he might be the one going to Norfolk.
Not so fast. Rickard instead is going on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained middle finger, injured during his attempted steal of second base, in which he was ruled safe, then after a review ruled out (he appeared safe).
Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter, and the Orioles make the most of their entire organization. All you need to see as evidence of that is some of the moves that have been made.
Spring Training signings of Gentry, Chris Johnson, Robert Andino, Johnny Giavotella, Paul Janish and Pedro Alvarez, all with a lot of major league experience. All guys who likely realized that the way the Orioles use their roster, they might get to Baltimore just as soon as they would another major league team.
Unfortunately for Johnson, he broke a bone in his arm after being hit by a pitch and is going to miss at least six weeks.
The signing of Edwin Jackson recently to a minor league deal, where the Orioles will see if he can contribute to a major league roster.
Liranzo is the AA closer at Bowie and is only 22-years-old. He was extremely impressive this spring.
Lee is coming off a good season and is a candidate for the 5th spot in the rotation. Ynoa was acquired from the Mets, and also is an option to start next Saturday when the Orioles need a fifth starter. So is Asher, who was acquired toward the end of spring training from the Phillies.
Faulkner and Castro have been acquired since the season started, and have options and were placed in the Orioles’ minor league system.
Is it possible that Gentry is the only one of all these guys to play for the Orioles in 2017? Yes, it is. Is it likely? Not at all.
The Orioles have become masters at using the flexibility provided to make their team the best it can be. Even now, the Orioles have several bullpen pieces in Donnie Hart, Wilson, and Nuno who all can be sent to the minors.
The new 10-day disabled list allows the team to take injuries that guys may have tried to play through previously, or just miss a few games, and they can go on the disabled list and not fall out of the rhythm of being game ready.
The Orioles already did this with Miley, using his flu to put him on the DL to help him get his stamina and innings up to where it needs to be. With his return, another decision loomed.
Unfortunately for Rickard, the first maneuverability comes at his expense. Rickard is the same player who injured his thumb and missed the rest of 2016, so you hope the injury is not a big deal (it sounds like it isn’t).
Rickard will be eligible to return on April 19, which will set up another difficult roster decision, following the one on the 15th.
You never know what could happen between now and then though.