With Brian Matusz coming back Wednesday and a few off days coming up, the Orioles shipped out both Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman on Sunday and will go with a four-man rotation for now.
Bergesen, who had the highest ERA of the Orioles’ five starters this year, was the obvious choice to go to make room for Matusz. He was 1-6 with a 5.36 ERA in nine starts and one relief appearance. He actually pitched his first career shutout against the Rays just two weeks ago, but the Orioles had lost his eight other starts this season.
Tillman’s departure is a surprise. He had a 1.33 ERA in his last four starts, though it’s worth noting that he pitched a total of 20 1/3 innings in those games. For the season, he was 2-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 starts.
The Orioles don’t have anyone in Triple-A worthy of an opportunity — Norfolk’s only starter with a sub-5.00 ERA is veteran lefty Chris George and he’s at 4.66 — so odds are that Tillman will return as soon as the team goes back to five starters.
The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement.
Saunders, of course, played for the Blue Jays in 2015 and 2016, putting up a line of .250/.336/.461 in 594 plate appearances. It was his good play in the first half of 2016, in fact, which earned him an All-Star spot and, presumably, made the Phillies think he was worth the $9 million deal they gave him over the offseason. That didn’t work out, as he hit .205/.257/.360 over 61 games and was released last week.
The Phillies will pay the rest of that $9 million. The Jays will see if he has anything in the tank to help them out.
The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a right pronator strain.
This is the same injury that sent him to the disabled list last month. He came back from that quickly, but it can’t be great that this is happening again. You have to assume he’ll miss more time given the recurrence of trouble. He’s going to get an MRI too. Sam Dyson is expected to serve as the Giants’ closer while Melancon is sidelined.
Melancon has a 4.35 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances this year. He signed a four-year, $62 million deal with San Francisco last December.