The Baltimore Orioles made a pair of roster moves ahead of their game on Saturday against the Texas Rangers, optioning rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez to Triple-A Norfolk and recalling lefty Keegan Akin.
Rodriguez, 23, fared poorly in his Friday night start against the Rangers. In 3 1/3 innings, he surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on six hits (three home runs) and three walks. That disastrous outing pushed Rodriguez's ERA to 7.35 (59 ERA+) over his first 10 starts in the majors. He's yielded 13 home runs in 45 innings.
Rodriguez has struggled with his command and the effectiveness of his fastball. The opposition has batted .382 with a .737 slugging percentage against his heater so far in his big-league career. Comparatively, they've hit .230 or worse against both his changeup and his slider, or his two other most commonly thrown pitches.
Rodriguez entered the season ranked by CBS Sports as the seventh best prospect in the minors. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Rodriguez would have debuted at some point last season had he not been sidelined in June by a right lat strain. (He returned in September for a series of minor-league appearances.) Rodriguez has a power pitcher's frame and an impressive arsenal that includes three well-above-average or better pitches: an upper-90s fastball, a slider, and a changeup. That trio empowered him to strike out 37 percent of the batters he faced last season, all the while amassing a 2.62 ERA in 75 innings. The Orioles will likely look to limit his workload, as he's never thrown more than 103 innings in a season. He should debut early in the year with an eye on becoming a frontliner starter.
Akin, 28, has already made 13 appearances with the big-league club this season. He's compiled a 5.91 ERA (75 ERA+) and a 2.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those appearances, all in relief. He figures to provide the Orioles with a fresh bullpen arm for at least the next few days as they sort out who will take Rodriguez's rotation spot.
The Orioles enter Saturday with a 33-18 record on the year, putting them second in the American League East. They trail the Tampa Bay Rays by four games.