The Baltimore Orioles on Thursday morning selected the contract of first-baseman Ryan O'Hearn and designated third catcher Anthony Bemboom for assignment. O'Hearn is batting eighth and playing first base in the Orioles' Thursday matinee against the A's starting at 1:05 P.M.
The Orioles acquired O'Hearn back in January from Kansas City, where he joined the infamous spring training battle for the last bench spot/lefty power bat. That spot went to Terrin Vavra over O'Hearn, Franchy Cordero (who is now mashing for the Yankees), and Lewin Diaz.
Baltimore Orioles promote Ryan O'Hearn to major leagues
The move makes sense. Ryan Mountcastle has started each of the Orioles 12 games at first base this season. Perhaps the Orioles were not comfortable with Anthony Santander getting a start at first, or perhaps they just wanted a true first baseman available to give Mountcastle a day off when necessary (Mounty is DHing Thursday). Either way, this is a smart move, as the logic behind carrying three catchers over an actual useful bench bat was puzzling. (I liken carrying three catchers to carrying a backup punter or kicker in football.)
Bemboom's latest Orioles tenure ends after two games. He had two at bats this season, getting out both times while also drawing a walk. If he clears waivers, he'll most likely head back to Norfolk to play alongside Mark Koloszvary behind the plate.
I do wonder if some in the organization regret letting Franchy Cordero walk, however. While O'Hearn is a better defensive first baseman, O'Hearn and Cordero are comparable, and O'Hearn and Cordero's roles on the Orioles' bench as lefty power bats who will occasionally start at first are similar.
I wonder, had the Orioles planned better, Stowers could have started the year in Norfolk - where he is now - and Cordero could be launching home runs for the Orioles instead of the Yankees. But alas, Cordero is in New York and O'Hearn is now in Baltimore, starting today and making his Orioles' debut. Let's hope he sticks around and serves as a valued bench bat and Mountcastle backup for the season.