As they hold their breath over the status of injured first baseman Chris Davis, the Orioles will reportedly recall infielder Jemile Weeks to fill the roster spot vacated by left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk Friday night.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Baltimore will promote Weeks and return to a 12-man pitching staff while continuing to wait on the health of Davis, who left Friday night’s game with a strained left oblique. Manager Buck Showalter and Davis expressed optimism that the injury may not be serious, but oblique strains typically take some time to fully heal.
Acquired from the Oakland Athletics in the Jim Johnson trade over the winter, Weeks is hitting .296 with four doubles, three triples, and seven runs batted in for the Tides this year.
While Weeks provides extra infield depth, the Orioles must still sort out the first base position in Davis’ absence after designating reserve outfielder and first baseman Steve Pearce for assignment earlier this week. Ryan Flaherty moved to first base in Friday’s 5-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals, but Showalter wouldn’t commit to the .179-hitting Flaherty handling that spot when asked about the possibility after the game.
Right fielder Nick Markakis has played first base in the major leagues, but is three career games enough to make Showalter comfortable with a position change that would also potentially weaken the outfield defense?
Norfolk first baseman Brett Wallace is currently hitting .167 in 72 at-bats at Triple A, so he wouldn’t appear to be a viable option.
Would executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette even entertain the possibility of promoting Double-A Bowie first baseman Christian Walker, who is off to a hot start with a .315 average, four home runs, and 18 runs batted in for the Baysox?
Or, will the Orioles get lucky and Davis only ends up missing a couple games?
Regardless of what happens, it’s an uneasy feeling for the Orioles as they were closer than ever to getting their full infield back with third baseman Manny Machado collecting two doubles and a triple Friday night to begin his minor league rehab assignment at Single-A Frederick.