John Smoltz closing in on Red Sox debut

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John Smoltz’s minor-league rehab outing last week at Double-A drew mixed reviews, as scouts in attendance were far from impressed with his post-surgery stuff despite 3.1 innings of one-run ball.

He took the mound again yesterday at high Single-A and allowed one run
over five innings. While there’s no scouting report on his outing, it’s
safe to assume that Smoltz looked pretty decent while striking out six, walking zero, allowing just four hits, and throwing 52 of 73 pitches for strikes.

“I felt really good,” Smoltz said.
“I think I’m going to get a little more complete each time. For the
most part, I’m really pleased with today’s effort. I felt really fresh
in the fifth inning, even though it’s the longest stint I’ve had.”

Smoltz has a 1.59 ERA and 10/0 K/BB ratio through three rehab
outings and will now move up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he’s
scheduled to make two starts before potentially being cleared to join
the Red Sox’s rotation.

Orioles signed Tommy Hunter to a major league contract

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 12:  Pitcher Tommy Hunter #48 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the ninth inning during the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 12, 2016 in Anaheim, California. The Indians defeated the Angels 8-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
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The Orioles announced, prior to Sunday’s game against the Yankees, that the club signed pitcher Tommy Hunter to a major league contract. In related roster moves, the club recalled pitcher Oliver Drake from Triple-A Norfolk and designated pitcher T.J. McFarland and outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment.

The Indians released Hunter on Thursday after he struggled in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. Hunter was recovering from a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. The right-hander put up a respectable 3.74 ERA with a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings for the Indians.

This will be Hunter’s second stint with the Orioles. The O’s had acquired him along with first baseman Chris Davis at the trade deadline from the Rangers in 2011 in the Koji Uehara trade.

The Orioles are only responsible for paying Hunter the prorated major league minimum.

Orioles’ Mark Trumbo becomes the first to 40 home runs this season

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a home run during the eighth inning of a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Orioles DH Mark Trumbo drilled a two-run home run to left-center field off of reliever Ben Heller in the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Yankees. In doing so, he became the first player to reach the 40-homer plateau this season.

Trumbo finished 1-for-4 on the afternoon. Along with the 40 dingers, he’s hitting .257/.317/.541 with 96 RBI. He has already set a career-high in homers and is four RBI away from tying his career high in that regard.

Trumbo is eligible for free agency after the season. Needless to say, his performance in 2016 bodes well for his ability to secure a hefty contract.