LeBlanc's season over with elbow injury

Harvey could make season debut soon; Showalter joins MLB Network as studio analyst

August 25th, 2020

's season is over. Two days after leaving in the first inning of Sunday’s 5-4 win with an apparent elbow injury, the Orioles placed the veteran lefty on the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction in his left elbow.

The Orioles recalled left-handed prospect Keegan Akin from their alternate training site in Bowie, Md., in a corresponding move. Manager Brandon Hyde said Tuesday the club had yet to decide how to fill the void in its rotation, citing Akin, right-hander Thomas Eshelman and righty Jorge López as potential options.

All are natural starters who have been used at points this season in long relief, including Eshleman for 4 1/3 innings in place of LeBlanc on Sunday. López has been used exclusively in long relief behind John Means since being acquired off waivers from Kansas City earlier this month.

The Orioles have not announced their pitching plans past Thursday, but if they keep everyone on regular rest, they would next need a starter on Saturday against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, N.Y.

“We’ll see how it goes later this week,” Hyde said.

The injury likely caps an abbreviated and disappointing tenure with the Orioles for LeBlanc, and it could be career-threatening. Signed to a Minor League deal last offseason, the 36-year-old made the rotation out of Summer Camp but struggled in a mid-rotation role, pitching to an 8.06 ERA in six starts. He had not lasted more than four innings in any of his previous three outings before exiting Sunday after two-thirds of an inning.

A veteran journeyman who has pitched in the big leagues for 12 seasons, LeBlanc has gone 46-47 with a 4.55 ERA while pitching in a variety of roles for eight teams.

Akin, the club’s No. 13 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was summoned to the big leagues on Aug. 8, and he debuted six days later in long relief during a blowout loss to the Nationals. The O’s former organizational Pitcher of the Year spent all of 2019 at Triple-A Norfolk, going 6-7 with a 4.73 ERA in the hitter-friendly International League.

From the trainer's room
Meanwhile, ’s season debut seems to be approaching. Sidelined since the end of Summer Camp with right elbow soreness, Harvey traveled with the Orioles to St. Petersburg this week in a rehab capacity. José Iglesias (left quad soreness) did the same, indicating that both players could be activated this week.

Harvey, 25, appeared poised to reprise a back-end bullpen role after his electric seven-game debut last summer. Imaging revealed no structural damage after he complained of arm soreness in July; the former top prospect had been on a throwing progression in Bowie since late July.

Iglesias is eligible to return from the IL on Wednesday.

Even more from the trainer’s room
• The outlook is less clear for center fielder Austin Hays, who has been sidelined since imaging revealed a non-displaced rib fracture last weekend. The Orioles originally said Hays would miss only the required 10 days; that time period expired Tuesday, when Hyde said there was “no timetable” for his return.

• Pedro Severino is a candidate to return to the starting lineup later this week, Hyde said. Severino was removed from Sunday’s win with right hip flexor tightness.

All hands on deck
The Orioles traveled on Tuesday with a four-player taxi squad: catcher Austin Wynns and righties Evan Phillips, Cesar Valdez and David Hess.

Buck back on the airwaves
Buck Showalter is returning to a living room near you. The former Orioles skipper and three-time American League Manager of the Year Award winner has joined MLB Network as a studio analyst, the network announced Tuesday.

Showalter is slated for a wide range of duties at the Network, where he will be a part of game coverage and contribute to in-studio shows, like MLB Tonight. He made his Network debut alongside Fran Charles and Billy Ripken on Tuesday afternoon.

Showalter worked previously as an analyst for ESPN in the early 2000s, and he had been a part of the YES Network’s Yankees coverage since early '19. He is the second-winningest manager in Orioles history, having compiled 669 wins between '10-18 and steering the O’s to three playoff appearances.