SEATTLE - The Orioles conceded one failure in their free-agent shopping over the winter, designating reliever Steve Reed for assignment yesterday and activating Jason Grimsley from the 60-day disabled list.
Reed, 40, was 1-2 with a 6.61 ERA in 30 games. He allowed 41 hits in 32 2/3 innings.
The Orioles informed Reed of the roster move before yesterday's 2 p.m. workout. He left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed inside.
"We had a good chat," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He brought a lot to the team. I think, personally, he's a little disappointed with his performance, which shows me a lot when someone says that. But he brought a lot to the table with our bullpen and our young guys. It was a tough decision. You've got to decide which way you want to go."
Mazzilli said Reed didn't ask for an explanation. "There were no 'whys.' He handled it like a true professional," Mazzilli said.
Reed allowed three or more runs on six occasions during the first half, pitching one inning or fewer each time. He led Colorado relievers with a 3.68 ERA last season and ranks as the Rockies' all-time leader in ERA (3.63) and appearances (461), but his stay with the Orioles was brief and largely ineffective.
"He had trouble getting the ball down. We talked about it and worked on it all the time," pitching coach Ray Miller said. "The ball was always from the belt to the top of the thigh, instead of the top of the thigh to the knees."
The Orioles have 10 days to trade or release Reed, who had a career 3.51 ERA before this season, or to pass him through waivers.
"He was very professional about it," Miller said. "I'm sure he'll end up with some National League club."
Grimsley, 37, was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in eight injury rehabilitation games at Double-A Bowie. He threw one inning in each appearance.
"I didn't have any setbacks anywhere," he said. "That's what I was looking for and that's what they were looking for."
Only nine months have passed since Grimsley underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. He did most of his rehabbing at home in Kansas before the Orioles sent him to the minors.
"I couldn't have done this without the help of a boatload of people," said Grimsley, who was 2-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 41 games after being acquired from Kansas City last season for minor league pitcher Denny Bautista.
"Every day is a bonus day from here on out. It's going to be a lot of fun. I've gotten a second chance. I get another chance to wear a big league uniform, and the fact that we're in a pennant race adds to it."
Grimsley will be used in the later innings, and Mazzilli didn't seem hesitant to bring him into pressure situations. "We'll see where it goes the first couple of outings," Mazzilli said.
By designating Reed, the Orioles created room for Grimsley on the 40-man roster. Earlier this week, pitcher Rick Bauer cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Ottawa.
Sosa moves to No. 2
The changes keep coming for Sammy Sosa in his first season with the Orioles.
Given regular duty as the designated hitter after starting out as the right fielder, Sosa batted second last night for the first time since May 23, 1993.
"I've thought about it for a little bit," said Mazzilli, who ran the idea past Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada before making it official. "I think his second half is going to be big for us. Putting him in the two hole is going to give him some protection. He's not in a spot where he needs to hit home runs or drive runs in. I just want him to go out and hit."
Mazzilli didn't indicate that the latest switch is permanent.
"This is not written in stone," he said. "It could be a week, two weeks or whatever."
Asked if the move was made for Sosa or the team, Mazzilli said, "This move's for the team. There's no one guy here on this team."
Sosa won't be a prototypical No. 2 hitter. He won't be asked to move up runners.
"You're not going to ask a guy like him to bunt," Mazzilli said. "We just want him to go up there and swing the bat."
Sosa said he was willing to make any sacrifices for the team to continue winning.
"I think batting second is a good idea right now. Maybe I'll see some good pitches."
Night game July 31
The Orioles' home game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, July 31, has been moved to 8 p.m. to accommodate ESPN.