About two weeks after losing his spot in the rotation, Steve Trachsel officially lost his place on the Orioles' roster as the veteran right-hander was designated for assignment yesterday. The Orioles selected the contract of Triple-A Norfolk infielder Oscar Salazar to replace him.
The Orioles now have 10 days to trade Trachsel, release him or outright him to the minors. It's unlikely Trachsel would accept a minor league assignment, meaning his days as an Oriole are probably numbered. Trachsel, 37, who was 2-5 with an 8.39 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) for the Orioles this season, left the visiting clubhouse yesterday at Fenway Park before reporters were allowed in.
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Trachsel wasn't surprised by the move because it had been speculated about since he lost his spot in the Orioles' rotation.
"He didn't pitch good enough, bottom line," Trembley said. "To be honest with you, I don't think he was ever comfortable pitching out of the bullpen. We have to move on, and we did. ... Everybody saw the way he pitched; let that all speak for itself. I'm not going to address anything in particular. You know, we made the move, and that should be self-explanatory. Now we go on to something else."
Trachsel signed with the Orioles as a free agent before the 2007 season and went 6-8 with a respectable 4.48 ERA before they traded him to the Chicago Cubs. Seeking to add a veteran presence and an innings-eater to their staff, the Orioles re-signed him this offseason. However, in four of his eight starts, Trachsel couldn't go more than three innings. In two relief outings, he allowed four earned runs in six innings.
It was expected Trachsel would be the odd man out when the Orioles added another hitter to their bench when they play at National League ballparks this month. However, Trachsel's last outing, in which he gave up four runs (two earned) in an inning of relief against the Toronto Blue Jays, accelerated the Orioles' decision.
After impressing team officials in spring training, Salazar, 29, batted .311 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs for Norfolk. He hadn't been in the major leagues since appearing in eight games for the Detroit Tigers in 2002. Trembley plans to use him mostly as a right-handed hitter off the bench. The Orioles will face a left-handed starter in four of the next five games.
"It feels like a really long time," said Salazar, who played mostly first base at Norfolk but can also play second, third and the outfield in an emergency. "I played in Mexico in '05, Italy in '06. It was kind of like you're out of baseball. I think it's a great comeback."
Taking it all in
About four hours before last night's game, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones walked out of the dugout to get a look at a ballpark he had never seen before in person. Before yesterday, Jones had seen Fenway Park only on television.
"Being a baseball fan, you want to go to the places where a lot of history has been accomplished," Jones said. "I just wanted to see the park. I've never seen it. Seeing it on television really doesn't tell you anything. It's pretty sweet. It's as old as it gets, but it's still pretty sweet."
Around the horn
Brian Burres, who was originally scheduled to start in tomorrow's series finale, will be back on the mound in Friday's series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... Former Orioles great Eddie Murray was on hand for pre-game ceremonies to honor his former teammate Manny Ramirez, who hit his 500th home run May 31 against the Orioles at Camden Yards. ... Single-A Frederick will be represented in the California/Carolina League All-Star Game on June 24 by catcher Matt Wieters, outfielder Brandon Tripp and pitcher Jake Arrieta. ... The Orioles signed left-handed pitcher Randy Keisler to a minor league contract and assigned him to Norfolk.