Designated hitter Jim Thome is expected to arrive Sunday, so the Orioles will have to make room for him on the 25-man roster (after designating reliever Zach Phillips for assignment to clear 40-man roster space).
But the team is expected to make at least one other 25-man roster move Sunday because they are without a long reliever since Dana Eveland started Saturday and threw 77 pitches and Tommy Hunter tossed 51 in relief.
Miguel Gonzalez, was supposed to start Saturday at Triple-A Norfolk but was scratched, so it’s expected that he will join the Orioles and serve as right-handed, relief insurance if starter Brian Matusz falters against the Cleveland Indians.
Hunter, who allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings in relief, is a likely candidate to be demoted to Norfolk. Eveland could be moved off the roster as well, but he would have to clear waivers, and has done a solid job in relief for the team. It’s possible Eveland and Hunter both could be roster casualties, and the Orioles promote another reliever as well.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter intimated that one hitter would have to be taken off the roster on Sunday for Thome, because he does not envision a four-man bench.
“Not unless that fourth guy can pitch,” Showalter said. “We’ve got some (pitchers) we want to stay away from tomorrow.”
Outfielder/infielder Steve Pearce may be the most vulnerable hitter on the 25-man roster.