BALTIMORE -- It took no time at all for Cedric Mullins -- who at veteran Adam Jones' behest led the team out from the dugout -- to fit in on Friday night at Camden Yards. After being called up earlier in the day, the rookie doubled in a run in
BALTIMORE -- It took no time at all for Cedric Mullins -- who at veteran Adam Jones' behest led the team out from the dugout -- to fit in on Friday night at Camden Yards. After being called up earlier in the day, the rookie doubled in a run in his first big league at-bat and came around to score on Jones' two-run single in the Orioles' run-filled 19-12 loss to the Red Sox.
The 23-year-old Mullins showcased his speed in center field, his smile in the dugout as he high-fived new teammates and his energy as he gave a last-place Baltimore club -- and its fans -- a jolt of good in what has been a season filled with frustration.
"It's hard to explain," Mullins said of what it felt like when Jones -- who has now moved over to right field -- told him to lead the team. "It kind of felt like a pass-the-torch situation. Just being able to feel like you're taking charge of your debut. That's the only way I can describe it."
Yes, the future -- which saw Mullins become the first player in Orioles history to record three hits in his debut -- is now, even if the present still looks less than desirable.
The kids are coming, with Mullins' debut -- a 3-for-4 night which included two doubles and two RBIs -- the next phase of the rebuild. That may or may not include Jones, a free agent after next season who had his own standout night -- going 3-for-5 with two RBIs -- in his first time in a decade playing a new position.
"This is one of the greatest center fielders in Orioles history. When you look at where he ranks, not only with the Orioles but the game itself," manager Buck Showalter said of Jones, who has exclusively played center field since 2008, winning four American League Gold Glove Awards at the position. "I'm so happy [Mullins] has got someone like Adam to be there for him. It had to be the right guy. We think Cedric may be the right guy."
So does Jones. The 33-year-old had already been talking with Mullins -- ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Orioles' No. 9 prospect -- encouraging him and offering advice while he was in the Minors. He even took to his Twitter account Friday to give his blessing.
"That's what center fielders do, the last time I checked," Jones said of having the rookie lead the team out of the dugout.
Mullins thought he was joking. "And [then] all the players were saying, 'Hey go, you're leading it.' So I took their word for it, went out on the field," Mullins said. "And then I took the scenic route. The long way around."
Mullins was a big part of the Orioles' back-to-back four-run frames in the second and third innings of Friday's game, the latter of which drove Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi from the game. Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Timothy Beckham each hit solo homers for Baltimore, which saw a five-run lead dissipate as the team's bullpen coughed up the lead for the fourth consecutive game.
Orioles starter Dylan Bundy went five innings and allowed eight runs (seven earned) including a pair of homers. Righty Miguel Castro issued three walks in the sixth and was charged with three of Boston's six runs in that frame. Lefty Donnie Hart gave up a three-run homer to Andrew Benintendi in the seventh with Evan Phillips allowing another four runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walkin' away with it: Castro entered the game tasked to protect a two-run lead, but instead he struggled with his command and -- after Mitch Moreland's sacrifice fly -- walked in the tying run. He was replaced by Hart, who issued a free pass to Rafael Devers to give Boston a 9-8 lead it would never relinquish. The Orioles walked 10 batters total on the night.
"We're going to use those opportunities to try to see if some people can come forward and present themselves," Showalter said of all his young relievers. "Sometimes you're trying to keep them out of harm's way and expose them as much as you can, but they've got to take advantage of the opportunity along the way because it's a very competitive business for all of them."
Jones stole his 86th base as a member of the O's in the fourth inning, which passes Don Buford for sole possession of 10th place in Orioles history.
HE SAID IT
"This is something we've had our fair share of talks about. [Jones] sent me a text today that made an old man tear up. He's got a grip on reality and he's engaged. I think Adam is going to play as long as he wants to. People are always going to want the type of energy that he brings." -- Showalter, on Jones moving to right field
To make room for Mullins on the roster, Danny Valencia was designated for assignment. The 33-year-old hit .263/.316/.408 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in 78 games this season and garnered some trade interest around last month's Deadline.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
Jimmy Yacabonis will get the promotion from Triple-A Norfolk for Game 1 of a split doubleheader against the Red Sox on Saturday at Camden Yards. Yacabonis, who has a 7.15 ERA in four MLB outings (two starts) this season, will be opposed by Sox lefty David Price. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.