Since there was no game on Thursday, Orioles fans had nothing to worry about. That was until late in the afternoon when the team announced they had reinstated Rule 5 draft pick Jason Garcia from the 60-day disabled list.
That was expected. What fans didn’t expect was that Mychal Givens would be returned to Bowie after allowing just a single hit in his four major league appearances.
Givens was impressive, and manager Buck Showalter likes him. He’ll be back, but there weren’t many choices if the Orioles wanted to keep the Rule 5 draft choice.
In order for the Orioles to keep Garcia next year and have the three options that go along with him, they have to nurse him through the rest of the month. Rule 5 players need 90 days on the active roster, and Garcia is about three weeks short if you count the days beyond Sept. 1 when the rosters expand.
The Orioles had Garcia on the active roster for a little over five weeks before he came down with shoulder tendinitis, and it was clear that in his limited appearances that he wasn’t ready for the majors.
But, the Orioles think that Garcia will be a legitimate big league pitcher, perhaps in 2016 or 2017.
Counting spring training, they’ve already invested nearly six months in him. Clearly they see something.
And for those who think that he’s costing them a spot in the bullpen, well maybe he is. But, having him in the bullpen for the first five weeks of the season didn’t seem to cost them anything.
In seven of the eight appearances he made, the Orioles were already trailing, and in three of them, he didn’t give up a run. In the other four, he allowed one or two runs in games they lost by four, six or seven.
He seemed most out of sorts on Apr. 26 when he allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings—in a game the Orioles won 18-7.
For nearly a month, Showalter managed to keep Bud Norris out of crucial situations, and that was with the team short a position player for much of that time.
He’ll try to do the same with Garcia for the next 24 days.
If Orioles starters go deep in games, there probably won’t be much call for Garcia, and if they don’t, and they need a seventh man in the bullpen regularly, the season is probably lost anyway.
That’s not to minimize the role of the 12th pitcher. Givens or T.J. McFarland, who’ll probably return to Norfolk sometime this month because of this experiment, is a more comfortable alternative than what amounts to a rank amateur.
The Orioles are just betting that a year or two from now, this move will pay off for them—hugely.