BOSTON — In their ongoing pursuit of adding a hitter to a potential postseason roster, the Orioles have claimed Seattle Mariners outfielder-first baseman Michael Morse off trade waivers — which comes on the heels of the news that the Orioles also had claimed Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.
That doesn’t mean the Orioles have landed either right-handed power hitter — at least not yet. Once a player is claimed on revocable trade waivers, the clubs have 48 hours to work out a deal; there should be a resolution involving both Friday afternoon.
If a trade cannot be agreed upon, the original team can revoke waivers and pull the player back. If they attempt to put him on waivers again, and he is claimed a second time, then that player automatically will go to the claiming team. That scenario does not occur often, unless the original team is looking for a straight salary dump.
The Orioles have been seeking another bat — preferably a right-hander for designated hitting duties — for months. They inquired about Morse and the switch-hitting Kendrys Morales from the Mariners in July but could not agree to a deal. It’s believed the Orioles put in a claim for Morales this month, but he was pulled back. The Orioles also have been linked in various reports to left-handed hitting outfielder Jason Kubel, who was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday and could soon become a free agent.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette does not discuss potential roster moves with the media. Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who speaks with Duquette fairly often about the club’s plans, said Thursday, “I have had nothing happen between the time I talked to Dan [Wednesday] about some of the things he was looking at and [Thursday] to make me feel like anything is ahead or behind.”
In an injury-marred season, the 31-year-old Morse is hitting just .226 with a .286 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 283 at-bats. A free agent at season’s end, the Orioles would only be responsible for roughly $1.25 million remaining on his contract.
He is more attainable than Willingham, who is signed through 2014 — and has roughly $8.2 million remaining on a $21 million contract he signed in 2012. Willingham, 34, also has been limited by injuries this year, batting .215 with 12 home runs after bashing 35 homers in 2012.
Because he is signed through next season and his trade value took a hit this year due to a knee injury, the Twins do not appear motivated to deal Willingham unless they can get a significant return. They’d be more apt to trade former MVP Justin Morneau, who is a pending free agent.
Showalter said he is progressing as if the team he has now is the one he’ll have in September — and he likes what he has, despite the club’s mediocre play over the past two months.
“I like our guys. I do. I'm telling you, 30-whatever games [remaining] is an eternity,” Showalter said. “I like that people are counting us out. … What's not to like about them? I've been with them for a while. I know them. I know what they're made of. Just go ahead and count them out. It's all right. These guys have got a lot of piss and vinegar in their blood.”
Betemit 'relieved' after first start
Wilson Betemit went hitless in three at-bats Wednesday and is 0-for-4 since returning from a March knee injury that nearly cost him this season.
As much as he’d like to get a hit and contribute to a team win, the 31-year-old designated hitter said he is content right now that he is pain-free.
“Oh yeah, it was a relief for me,” Betemit said. “I was just really excited to be in the game. I’m now just excited to help the team any way they need me.”
Around the horn
Showalter said left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who has been lost for most of two seasons because of an elbow injury that required surgery in May 2012, is a possibility to be called up when rosters expand Sept. 1. However, Showalter said the club is also considering sending him to Sarasota, Fla., when Triple-A Norfolk’s season ends to keep Wada fresh in case he is needed in Baltimore. … Double-A Bowie catcher-infielder Caleb Joseph was named to the Eastern League’s season-ending All-Star team as the utility player. Joseph, who led the league in total bases, also played in the league’s All-Star game in July. … High-A Frederick catcher Michael Ohlman was named to the Carolina League’s season-ending All-Star team.