Tommy Hunter throws in the high 90s and has been a big part of the Orioles bullpen for the past three years. Junior Lake is a 4A outfielder who has not distinguished himself in parts of three major league seasons.

Tommy Hunter throws in the high 90s and has been a big part of the Orioles bullpen for the past three years. Junior Lake is an outfielder who has not distinguished himself in parts of three major league seasons.

So, why did the Orioles make this deal? Was it to save the approximately $1.6 million remaining of Hunter's salary for this year, which would offset some of the $2 million or so that they will have to pay newly acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra for the final two months of the season?

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That's the way it looks, but there's probably more to it than that. The Orioles shuffled the roster Friday, designating struggling Bud Norris for assignment and replacing him with promising Mychal Givens, then dealing Hunter and calling up Mike Wright to fill out the bullpen.

The club now has a lot more roster flexibility in the bullpen, which tends to come in handy when you run the kind of Triple-A shuttle the Orioles have devised to get more instant gratification out of the player-development system.

The outfield situation also is coming more into focus, but not because of Lake. He's a guy who provides some organizational outfield depth, but his so-so defensive stats don't exactly fit the picture.

The arrival of Parra, however, should help. He's having a very good season and he should add significant on-base potential and some pop to the lineup, something the club has not been getting enough of from Travis Snider.

Hunter will be missed in more ways than one. He was a solid reliever who had not allowed a run in his past five outings and who would have very good numbers if not for two bad appearances in which he allowed a total of seven earned runs over three innings. In his other 37 appearances, he had a 2.38 ERA.

He also was quite a character and a popular guy with his teammates and the media.

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