CHICAGO – The Orioles optioned designated hitter Danny Valencia to Triple-A Norfolk before Wednesday’s game to make room for new acquisition Scott Feldman, who made his debut with the team Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Valencia batted .230/.277/.508 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 61 at-bats with the Orioles, providing a right-handed bat with pop against left-handed pitching.
With the Orioles facing three left-handed starters in Chicago, Valencia seemed an option to remain on the roster. But Nolan Reimold’s return from the disabled list, and his ability to fill the designated hitter slot against lefties, made Valencia optionable. Also, the Orioles wanted to keep utility man Ryan Flaherty’s positional flexibility as Reimold and second baseman Brian Roberts have just returned from the DL.
“We wanted to get Danny some consistent at-bats [at Norfolk] and we want to keep the versatility of some other guys for the time being,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It could be short-term. Nobody’s going away. We like how Danny can help us. It’s just where we were at a certain time.”
“Until we get our arm around [the roster] — Nolan and Brian have played one and two games [entering Wednesday night] — we want to cover ourselves with someone who can play those two spots if there [are] any issues,” Showalter added.
Valencia made just four starts over the past two weeks and was hitless in his past 13 at-bats. Asked if he felt he showed what he could do with the Orioles, Valencia said it was difficult doing so while playing sporadically.
“I feel like I did and I didn’t,” Valencia said. “It’s hard when you don’t play sometimes for four or five days. It’s definitely challenging. But I felt like I had some good at-bats. Recently it’s been tough to get some at-bats. But I guess that’s part of being not an everyday player, being a guy that can come off the bench. So it was tough.”