Zach Britton pitched maybe the best game of his career Thursday afternoon -- striking out 10, allowing one run and walking nobody in the Orioles' 5-3 win over the White Sox -- and was rewarded by getting optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
This is a procedural move. The Orioles will add Randy Wolf to the 25-man roster, making him eligible for the postseason roster, should the Orioles get there. Since Norfolk didn't make the playoffs, Britton won't even need to stay down for the required 10 days; in his postgame media session, Buck Showalter hinted that Britton is still likely to start Sept. 4 against the Blue Jays.
Keep an eye on the transactions wire over the next two days as teams maneuver to get players on the 25-man roster before the Aug. 31 postseason deadline. The official rules state that to be eligible for the postseason, as of midnight Aug. 31, a player must be (A) on the 25-man roster; (B) on the disabled list; (C) on the bereavement or suspended list. A player on the 60-day DL can be replaced by another player from the 40-man roster, but only at the same position (pitcher for pitcher or position player for position player).
In Wolf's case, since he wasn't already on the 40-man roster, he needed to be added to the active roster to be eligible for the postseason. This doesn't mean Britton won't be a postseason option for the Orioles. Right now they have Tsuyoshi Wada and Stu Pomeranz on the 60-day DL, so in theory Wada could be "added" to the playoff roster with Britton then replacing him.
In looking at other teams, there has been speculation the Reds may recall minor league speedster Billy Hamilton, to use as a pinch-runner in the postseason. But Hamilton isn't on the 40-man roster yet and GM Walt Jocketty indicated Hamilton won't get called up. "We haven't made a final determination," he said. "I'm going to go watch him this weekend, but probably not." For the Orioles, Dylan Bundy signed a major league contract out of high school so he's already on the 40-man roster so doesn't have to be called up to get maneuvered onto the postseason roster.
Jurickson Profar, the top prospect in the minors, is an interesting recall candidate, since the Rangers currently don't have a utility infielder on their 40-man roster. The only position player the Rangers currently have on the DL is Mike Napoli, so Profar would have to be recalled before Aug. 31 to be postseason eligible.
Cardinals pitching prospect Shelby Miller is another recall candidate as he's been dominant of late in Triple-A. He would also needed to be added to the 40-man roster but not necessarily recalled before Aug. 31, since Kyle McClellan and Chris Carpenter are 60-day DL guys who could be replaced (although there is speculation Carpenter could return).