Not long after the Orioles announced they had traded Brian Matusz to Atlanta, congratulatory Twitter messages from teammates began surfacing for the minor-league pitcher who will take the open spot on the 25-man roster.
Despite never having pitched above Double-A Bowie, left-hander Ashur Tolliver will join the Orioles in Houston and could finally make his major league debut seven years after being drafted in the fifth round out of Oklahoma City University. The 28-year-old began garnering more attention in the Baltimore system last season after dealing with injuries earlier in his career.
Baltimore made the move official on Tuesday afternoon.
Using an unorthodox three-quarters delivery and a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, Tolliver pitched to a 2.91 ERA for the Baysox in 2015 and has followed that successful campaign with a 2.42 mark and 25 strikeouts in 26 innings so far this season. It remains unclear how long he will be with the Orioles — lefty T.J. McFarland has been hampered by a minor knee injury but isn’t expected to miss much time — but Tolliver’s promotion is a feel-good story for someone who’s spent seven years in the minors.
And he’ll have the first opportunity to stake a claim to the vacant lefty specialist job in the Orioles bullpen.