First baseman-outfielder Steve Pearce was claimed on unconditional release waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, according to an industry source, but he rejected the claim, became a free agent and re-signed with the Orioles.
Pearce now will re-join the club after being designated for assignment last Tuesday and put on release waivers Sunday. He could play for the Orioles on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Camden Yards, if rain doesn’t force a postponement for a second straight day.
It has been a whirlwind week for Pearce, but it had to be.
The Orioles needed to make the move with Pearce quickly, because they were utilizing a rule that allowed them to bypass a 30-day waiting period to re-sign a released player.
By not filling first baseman Chris Davis’ roster spot when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, the Orioles had the option to re-sign Pearce and add him to the active roster after he became a free agent, but before they went back to a full complement of players.
Normally, a player would have to wait 30 days after being released to re-join the releasing team’s active roster.
Pearce, 31, was considered the Orioles’ primary backup to Davis, but he had only seven at-bats before being designated for assignment. Once Davis was injured, the Orioles didn’t have a true backup first baseman, and infielder Ryan Flaherty and right fielder Nick Markakis filled in at the position while Pearce was in limbo.
Pearce is 1-for-7 with a double in three games so far this season, but he hit .261 with a .362 on-base percentage in 44 games with the Orioles last year.
The juggling of the roster could have been even trickier Tuesday because the Orioles also were about to activate third baseman Manny Machado from the disabled list before the game was rained out.
Machado, weather permitting, now is expected to be activated before Wednesday’s game, and the Orioles will have to make a corresponding move to make room for him. It’s likely that one of the club’s infielders — Jemile Weeks, Steve Lombardozzi, Jonathan Schoop or Flaherty — will be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles also will have to make an additional move after playing one more game this week.
Left-handed reliever Troy Patton, who tested positive for amphetamines (Adderall), last year, was suspended for 25 games to start the season. The club’s next game will be its 25th, and Patton will have to be added before the 26th game. That means another player then will have to come off the roster.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had so many moving parts,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s a lot of scenarios here.”
Patton left Norfolk on Tuesday for Baltimore after pitching a scoreless inning in the first game of the Tides’ doubleheader. In 42/3 innings through four games with the Tides, Patton posted a 3.86 ERA, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out two batters.