The Orioles added another candidate for center field yesterday, buying the contract of outfielder Chris Roberson from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Roberson, 28, is a speedy switch-hitter with little power who spent most of 2007 with the Phillies' Triple-A team in Ottawa, where he hit .266 with four homers and 19 stolen bases in 113 games.
Roberson batted .286 (eight hits in 28 at-bats) in two major league call-ups spanning 28 games with the Phillies last season and is a career .232 hitter in 69 big league at-bats. The Phillies designated him for assignment last month.
Roberson, a ninth-round pick in 2001, had his best minor league season in 2005, when he was named the Phillies' organizational Player of the Year after hitting .311 with 15 homers and 34 stolen bases at Double-A Reading. He likely will have a chance to compete for the Orioles' center-field job this spring with Tike Redman and Jay Payton.
To make room for Roberson, the Orioles designated outfielder Jeff Fiorentino for assignment. Fiorentino, 24, played 32 games with the Orioles in 2005 and 2006 and had 15 homers for Double-A Bowie last year.