The Baltimore Orioles are in the midst of a six day, five game home stand against the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates, but today we thought we would re-introduce our Orioles101 mailbag as we received several questions over the week from our readers and wanted everyone to see our responses.
Manny Machado, as expected, was the most asked about player, but we also received some interesting questions as well. Several people asked the same type of question, so we just answered them all under one question.
With Machado beginning his rehab assignment, when do we expect his return to the big league club?
Machado began his rehab assignment this weekend with the Frederick Keys, and what our sources are informing us are that they anticipate, barring any setbacks or need for more at bats, that Machado could return as early as next weekend when the Orioles will be in Minnesota to take on the Twins beginning on May 2. An exact date however, will depend on how the rehab assignments go, but the Twins series would make sense since Baltimore will have an off day after the three game series, that would kind of ease Machado in.
With Machado's return in the very near future, who get's sent down when he returns?
This was the most popular question this week, and rightfully so. Right now, if we had to guess, we anticipate that Ryan Flaherty would be the one sent down as he has the worst numbers at the plate among the three candidates of he, Jonathan Schoop and Steve Lombardozzi. Schoop has shown that he is much better defensively at second base than he is at third base, which raises his stock for sticking around after Machado returns and the power he brings to the lineup in the bottom of the order is big as well. Lombardozzi has arguably been the best of the three at the plate, and defensively he has shown he can hold his own as well.
How long will the Orioles go with a short bench and keep eight relievers?
This is an excellent question, and the answer is a lot of "it depends". The Orioles starting pitchers are still struggling to get deep into games, and the eighth reliever is valuable to help save innings of the other seven. Now, the O's could elect to drop back to seven relievers when Machado returns and keep Schoop, Flaherty and Lombardozzi with the big league club as both Flaherty and Lombardozzi can also play in the outfield if needed.
Does Troy Patton's pending return mean the Orioles will keep eight relievers even longer?
We kept this question because the focus was Patton and not the eight relievers question, although the answer is similar. Patton will be eligible to return next week after serving his 25-game suspension, and we do anticipate that he will replace McFarland, so that T.J. can get back to Norfolk and continue working as a starting pitcher. The question is whether or not Baltimore will keep eight relievers or possibly DFA a Josh Stinson or try to work out a trade involving one of their relievers.
These were just a portion of the questions we have been asked since our last mailbag and we will continue to do these as long as our readers enjoy them. Please send any and all questions to us via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or comments on articles!
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