Brandon Hyde’s first priority is winning. That comes before anything else for the Orioles manager, even before ensuring a major league debut for Terrin Vavra, the organization’s 12th-ranked prospect according to Baseball America.
“If the opportunity presents itself, then it does,” Hyde said. “But we’re trying to win every night’s game.”
Whenever Vavra does appear, it’ll be his first time in the majors. The only question is when. By the time Hyde spoke before Tuesday night’s home game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Vavra was still en route to Baltimore (48-48) from Triple-A Norfolk and wasn’t in the starting lineup.
No matter when he takes the field in his No. 77 jersey, Vavra is the latest highly ranked Orioles prospect to receive a call-up — and the first since outfielder Kyle Stowers made a brief cameo as a replacement player last month in Toronto.
Vavra, who plays all over the field but features primarily as a second baseman, earned the opportunity at the expense of shortstop Jonathan Araúz, who was added to the 10-day injured list Tuesday. Araúz recorded his first hit since July 4 off the right field fence in Monday night’s 5-1 win over the Rays but jammed his finger into second base as he tried to stretch the knock into a double.
He was thrown out and left with an injury, which was diagnosed as an avulsion fracture in a finger on his right hand. According to the Cleveland Clinic, an avulsion fracture means “a piece of bone attached to a ligament or tendon breaks away from the main part of the bone,” and the recovery time could take up to 12 weeks.
Vavra, a third-round draft pick in 2018 who was acquired from the Colorado Rockies at the 2020 trade deadline as part of the package for reliever Mychal Givens, is hitting .324 with an .886 OPS in 45 games for Triple-A Norfolk, playing mainly second base or center field. Hyde pointed out that he used Vavra in the corner outfield in spring training, and “it’s nice having another athletic guy who can run and be able to play multiple positions.”
The Menomonie, Wisconsin, native has two home runs this season, as power isn’t his main selling point. Instead, Baltimore calls up a 25-year-old with strong plate discipline and contact skills, leading to his .435 on-base percentage in Triple-A.
“He’s been swinging the bat well all year in Norfolk and he’s a guy who’s played a few positions,” Hyde said. “We’re so right-handed that adding a left-handed bat is nice for us, and good to see a young guy playing well in Triple-A get rewarded with getting called up to the big leagues.”