When David Lough was sent home following the end of Triple-A Norfolk's postseason series, he thought his season was over. But after spending a week back home in Akron, Ohio, he received an unexpected call from the Orioles telling him join the major league club Thursday in Washington.
The past six weeks have been a roller-coaster ride for the Orioles outfielder. He was designated for assignment on Aug. 14, had to accept an outright assignment to Norfolk and then didn't receive a September call-up or join the club's taxi squad of potential reserves in Sarasota, Fla.
But with center fielder Adam Jones battling a back injury and Gerardo Parra tweaking a muscle in his right shoulder Wednesday, the Orioles needed some additional depth and selected Lough's contract.
"I think everybody, once you go home and you don't really hear anything, you think the season has come to an end," Lough said. "But it seemed like some guys were banged up here and they felt like they should bring me back and try to help the team win games and make that playoff push."
The Orioles face two more left-handed starters in Boston, so Lough isn't likely to start this series -- Nolan Reimold started in center for the second straight game Saturday -- but could get an opportunity over the team's final week. Lough;s speed and ability to play all three outfield positions also makes him an asset off the bench.
"I'm just glad to be on the diamond to be honest with you," Lough said. "I didn't want to stop playing. I love baseball, and I'll play it as long as I can for the full season. When I got that phone call, I was happy and excited to be back in the clubhouse with all the guys. It's a good feeling."
Lough hit just .202/.243/.318 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 77 games before being designated for assignment last month. He was one of several outfielders the Orioles tried in the corner-outfield spots this season. He hit .259/.290/.310 in 14 games with Norfolk, battling an ailing foot and being hit in the hand by a pitch during the International League playoffs.
"Not fun, not fun at all," Lough said. "When you get sent down and go to Triple-A, it's more of getting over it mentally than it is physically. Just getting through that point, that transition, because the big leagues is so much different than being in Triple-A. There's a lot of things you have to get through, but I persevered through it and I put together what I could down there and I feel like I'm more than capable of playing up here at the major league level."
Even though he thought his season was over, Lough -- known for being one of the most in-shape players in the organization -- kept working out at home.
"I go home and I start working out and staying shape and always stay ready," Lough said. "I was in my basement taking dry cuts and stuff in my gym. I always stay ready, I always stay locked in, so when I got the call I'm ready to go. … I always stay ready, so I think they know that. They know what type of work ethic that I put in. I think it made it a little bit easier, I'd say. I don't know."
The Orioles placed Lough back on the 40-man roster, which means he can decline another outright assignment to the minors. But he said he's looking forward to using this unexpected opportunity to show he belongs in the majors.
"I'd like to. I like this organization. I like everything about it, but whenever that comes around I'll focus on that," he said. "I'm just here to play baseball and help this team win and make that wild-card playoff spot."