BOSTON — More than 16 years after he left Baltimore and joined the Dan Duquette-led Boston Red Sox, ageless left-hander Jamie Moyer is back in the Orioles organization.
Duquette, now the Orioles' executive vice president, signed Moyer to a minor-league deal Wednesday. The 49-year-old will start for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday against Buffalo. There is no guarantee that Moyer will return to the Orioles, for whom he pitched from 1993 to 1995.
"He is committed to two or three starts down there and we'll see where he is at," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Moyer has played for eight teams in 25 years, compiling a 269-209 record and 4.25 ERA in 696 major-league games. He was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts with the Colorado Rockies this season before getting his release.
"He is not that far removed from [Tommy John] surgery, so there is a chance he could regain his previous form by continuing to pitch," Duquette said. "A lot of veteran pitchers, sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get into the length of the season until they come around. We'll see if that is the case. But Jamie has won a lot of games. He's a good role model and has had some success."
In his three years with the Orioles, Moyer was 25-22 with a 4.41 ERA in 75 appearances. He was granted free agency and was signed by Duquette and the Red Sox. He won seven of eight decisions for Boston in 1996 before Duquette traded him to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Darren Bragg.
In Seattle, the soft-tossing Moyer flourished, winning 145 games in 11 seasons. He turns 50 in November.
Orioles draft John Russell's son
There was a nice moment in the Orioles clubhouse Wednesday when William "Steel" Russell, son of Orioles bench coach and former Pirates manager, John Russell, learned that the Orioles had taken him in the 32nd round of the amateur draft.
A left-handed hitting catcher from Midland Junior College in Texas, Steel joined his father on this trip, and both were hoping he would be drafted so they could celebrate together. Although he had worked out for Orioles scouts — and had been tutored all his life by the man who is now the team's catching instructor — Steel didn't expect the call would come from his dad's employers.
"It's been a stressful couple days but definitely worth the stress, definitely worth staying at my phone the last 72 hours," he said. "I'm excited, to be able to share it with my dad, to be a part of his organization now. It's something I never really thought about as a kid, but as you get older you realize it might be a possibility down the road. To actually have that happen is amazing."
John Russell was a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1982.
"I am very proud. For your son to be drafted, especially with the team that I'm with right now, it is something that I'll cherish forever," John said. "To see the look on his face when he saw his name, that's something I'll never forget. And now it is up to him."
When the news came out, Showalter walked out of his office and shook Steel's hand.
"I'm fortunate enough for my dad to be who he is that I was able to share it with him in the clubhouse," Steel said. "Buck came out and congratulated me. … Not many kids that get drafted have the manager of the big league club come out and say congratulations, so that was outstanding. That is something I'll never forget."
Britton optioned; Pomeranz to 60-day DL
The Orioles moved lefty Zach Britton off the 60-day disabled list Wednesday and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. It is more of a procedural move, but it means Britton will not be able to be recalled to the Orioles for the next 10 days unless there is an injury.
Britton, 24, has been on the disabled list since March with a left shoulder impingement. He made his third rehab start, and first at Triple-A, on Tuesday, allowing four earned runs in six innings.
"He's ready to be optioned to a team and ready to start his season," Showalter said.
To reinstate Britton on the 40-man roster, the Orioles transferred reliever Stu Pomeranz from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL with a left oblique tear.
Angel testifies at Clemens trial
Orioles radio play-by-play announcer Joe Angel was back with the team Wednesday after missing a day to testify at the Roger Clemens perjury trial in Washington, D.C. Angel was a defense witness because he saw Clemens at a South Florida golf course on the morning of Jose Canseco's infamous party in 1998, which Clemens denies attending. Angel, then a TV announcer with the Florida Marlins, mentioned during a Marlins-Toronto Blue Jays game that he had seen Clemens playing golf that morning.
The video of the broadcast was not allowed to be shown to jurors, but Angel was asked to give his testimony. He said he was in the courtroom for two hours Tuesday, but testified for about nine minutes.
"I would rather not have been involved, but it is a big story, it's a national story and I guess it is kind of interesting," he said.
Orioles complete draft
Wednesday marked the end of the Orioles' first draft under new scouting director Gary Rajsich. Of the 40 players selected, 20 of them were pitchers, including 13 out of college. Six were from high school, and one, 35th-round left-hander Charles Porter, had no school listed. He apparently had graduated high school but instead of college had been pursuing a mixed martial arts career.
Rajsich went college-heavy, with 28 of his 40 selections from either a four-year school or a junior college. The position breakdown is this: 13 right-handed pitchers, seven left-handers, six outfielders, six catchers, three shortstops, two first basemen, two second basemen and one third baseman.
The Orioles have until July 13 at 5 p.m. to sign their draft picks.
More draft notes
Jose Mesa Jr., a high school pitcher out of a Florida and the son of former Orioles' pitcher Jose Mesa, was taken in the 24th round by the New York Yankees. … The Minnesota Twins selected University of Connecticut second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, the son of former Orioles' manager Lee, in the ninth round. … The University of Maryland had four players selected: Shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez of Oak Hill, Va., 17th round, Milwaukee Brewers; LHP Jimmy Reed of Gaithersburg, 21st round, Yankees; RHP Charlie Haslup of Easton, 26th round, Yankees; RHP Mike Boyden of La Plata, 31st round, Washington Nationals. … Naval Academy RHP James Gainey went in the 11th round to the Brewers. … St. Paul's graduate John Kuchno, an Ohio State RHP, was selected in the 18th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. … The Nationals took catcher Max Ungar in the 36th round out of Rockville's Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. … The Orioles selected catcher Jack Graham, the nephew of Brian Graham, the Orioles' coordinator of minor league instruction, in the 38th round out of Kenyon College in Ohio.
Around the horn
Right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom threw at 120 feet on Wednesday in Sarasota but has not thrown off a mound since going on the disabled list on May 11. The Orioles want him to be cautious with the ligament tear in his right middle finger, because if it tore completely it could be career-threatening. So they are progressing slowly and there is no set timetable for his return. … Duquette said veterans Joel Pineiro and Dontrelle Willis are currently pitching in extended spring training. He said Pineiro (shoulder) threw a couple innings this week. Willis is getting close to rejoining Triple-A Norfolk. "The D-Train is back on track," Duquette said. He is down there pitching … and is just about ready to go up." ... Right-hander Mike Wright, the Orioles' third-round pick in 2011, was placed on the disabled list at Double-A Bowie with a hamstring strain. … Outfielder Nolan Reimold has stepped up exercises and seems to be pain-free, but he is still dealing with some numbness and tingling, Showalter said. There is no set timetable for his return.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun