The Orioles originally signed veteran hitter Danny Valencia as injury insurance during spring training. They designated him for assignment Friday because they needed a roster spot for rookie center fielder Cedric Mullins.
In between, Valencia was one of the more consistent hitters on an inconsistent offensive team, but he never figured to be around long once the organization decided to embark on a major roster rebuild.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette informed Valencia he had been designated early Friday afternoon.
The move places Valencia in limbo while the Orioles decide what to do with him. They have seven days to trade or release him, but manager Buck Showalter seemed to think Duquette will be able to move him within the next few days.
“There was some interest in him during the trade deadline,” Showalter said, “so let’s see where that goes. You would think someone would like to add Danny, because he brings a real skill people are in need of. So I’d be surprised if he doesn’t land on a contending club sometime.”
The thing that Valencia, 33, is best known for is his ability to hit left-handed pitching, something he did quite well for the Orioles. His slash line against lefties this season is .303/.368/.505.
If the Orioles do not find a taker for his contract, he’ll likely be released, at which time another club can have him for the final weeks of the season for just the prorated portion of the minimum major league salary.
“It could be after the seven days, but I think Danny will, by the end of month, will be playing with somebody because they definitely need to add him before [the Aug. 31 deadline for playoff eligibility],’’ Showalter said. “He’s been down this road before. We’ve been talking some the last few days. I think he kind of knew there was that potential.”
Valencia was not available for comment.
The Orioles and Boston Red Sox will play a rain-makeup day-night doubleheader Saturday, with the first game starting at 1:05 and the nightcap starting at 7:05.
Right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis will come up from Triple-A Norfolk to start the first game against Red Sox left-hander David Price and Orioles rookie Yefry Ramírez will start the second game. The Red Sox have not named a starter for the second game.
Short-A Aberdeen is sending five players to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, which will be played Tuesday night. Heading to State College, Pa., are first baseman J.C. Escarra, left-hander Matthew Hammonds, outfielder Robbie Thorburn, catcher Cody Roberts and third baseman Willy Yahn.
Escarra entered Friday ranked second in the league with a .426 on-base percentage and leading the IronBirds with five homers. Hammonds is 2-2 and ranks seventh in the league with a 2.47 ERA. Thorburn batted .303 in his first 41 games. Roberts went into the weekend second among NYPL catchers batting .301. Yahn entered Friday leading the team in RBIs and stolen bases.
Around the horn
The fascinating dual saga of injured utility guys Craig Gentry and Steve Wilkerson continues. Showalter said Gentry (rib) was headed for a rehabilitation assignment with High-A Frederick and Wilkerson continues to work out the remaining soreness in his strained oblique. … Designated hitter Mark Trumbo entered the Red Sox series with 11 RBIs and four home runs in August. That gave him the third-most RBIs and homers in the AL this month.
Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.
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