Orioles designate Steve Pearce for assignment to make room for Quintanilla

Orioles outfielder Steve Pearce became the odd man out Saturday when the club added newly acquired infielder Omar Quintanilla to the 25-man roster.

Pearce, who hit .254 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 28 games with the Orioles this season, was designated for assignment, meaning the club has 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers on him.


If he clears waivers, Pearce can deny an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk and become a free agent, but he said he’d prefer to stay with the Orioles if he is not claimed by another big league club.

“Definitely, I see myself as part of this team,” said Pearce, whose contract was purchased from the New York Yankees on June 2. “I built a chemistry with these guys. We just have to wait and see what happens, but I would like to be a part of this team in the future.”


Pearce had some big hits for the Orioles, including a homer and five RBIs against his original club, the Pittsburgh Pirates, on June 14, and a three-run homer against Los Angeles Angels lefty C.J. Wilson on July 6 that accounted for all of the O’s runs in a 3-2 victory.

But he got caught in a roster crunch when the Orioles acquired designated hitter Jim Thome on July 1. Thome’s presence pushed Chris Davis into the outfield mix, and when outfielders Nick Markakis and Endy Chavez returned from injuries, playing time for Pearce dried up. He started in just five games in July.

“I was starting to get into a spot and then we ended up getting Thome and I lost playing time,” Pearce said. “I did the best with what I had to work with. I thought I had some pretty good at-bats and played solid defense when they needed me to play. It’s just one of those situations that is unfortunate for me.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said designating Pearce was not an easy decision. Infielders Steve Tolleson and Ryan Flaherty also seemed to be vulnerable, but ultimately the club decided it needed the infielders more than another outfielder.

“I tossed and turned it over last night like I do all of [the roster decisions],” Showalter said. “But he’s in a good position because he is going to either be in the big leagues or be with a team that will probably bring him back to the big leagues. … I hope it is ‘See you later’ and not ‘Goodbye’ with Stevie.”

Quintanilla joins Orioles

Showalter is not saying right now that Quintanilla will be his primary second baseman, but with both Robert Andino (shoulder) and Brian Roberts (hip) on the disabled list with no set return, he looks like the obvious choice.

“He is going to take most of his work in the middle of the infield. He can play some third base, but he comes very highly recommended by a lot of people,” Showalter said. “And he’ll play some. We’ll see where he is today. It’s been a few days before he has been in a game.”


The 30-year-old infielder came into the visiting clubhouse Saturday carrying his New York Mets equipment bag and an attitude that he’ll do whatever is needed.

“I’m kind of like a scrappy player,” said Quintanilla, who was acquired Friday for an undisclosed amount of cash from the Mets. “I’ll go out there and give it my all. And try to do anything to help the team win.”

Quintanilla is a career .218 hitter with a .278 on-base percentage in parts of seven big league seasons, but he was hitting .257 with a .350 on-base percentage in 29 games. Why the sudden increase?

“I think it’s just the repetition. Playing every day helps a lot,” said Quintanilla, who was starting for the Mets before Ruben Tejada returned from injury. “Whereas in the past I was pinch-hitting here and there and that was a little tougher for me. So getting out there, the repetition, seeing different pitches, helps you a lot.”

Showalter said he knows what Quintanilla can bring defensively, but he hopes he can keep it up offensively as well.

“Recently he’s been better [with getting on base]. I don’t know. Ask me after I’ve seen him play a few games,” Showalter said. “He’s a good little scrappy player, that’s what we want to be about.”


Around the horn

Jake Arrieta allowed one run on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday night. Pitching at Syracuse, the right-hander struck out four and walked two. ... Quintanilla has made just two errors in 297 chances in his career at second base, a .993 fielding percentage. … Quintanilla and Orioles catcher Taylor Teagarden were college teammates at Texas. … Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen turned 27 on Saturday. MASN broadcaster Mike Bordick turned 47.