Orioles Make Trade to Add Depth at Catcher

By Andrew R. Koch

The Baltimore Orioles have traded one of their top relief pitchers in a move to add depth at catcher with one of their All Stars on the disabled list for the foreseeable future.

The Orioles traded left-hander Troy Patton to the San Diego Padres for catcher Nick Hundley on May 24. Hundley is expected to be added to the 25-man roster in time for Sunday’s series finale against the Cleveland Indians. Caleb Joseph, who’d been called up from Triple-A Norfolk to serve as the backup catcher, appears likely to be heading back to Norfolk. Prior to trading Patton for Hundley, the Orioles had called up infielder Steve Lombardozzi from Norfolk.

Since coming off the restricted list on May 1 after serving a 25-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, Patton was 0-1 with an 8.10 earned-run average in nine games. His playing time was limited because the Orioles have three other lefties in their bullpen. In 40 games over the last five seasons with Baltimore, Patton was 5-2 with a 3.26 ERA.

In 33 games with San Diego this season, Hundley has hit .271 with a home run and driven in three runs. Hundley is in the final year of his contract. He’s scheduled to make $4 million this year, and he has a club option for $5 million with no buyout clause for next season.

In another roster move, right-hander Preston Guilmet is expected to be recalled from Norfolk with first baseman Chris Davis going on the paternity list. Davis will be by his wife Jill’s side as they welcome their first child into the world. In addition to the series finale against Cleveland, Davis might also miss the start of the Orioles’ three-game series in Milwaukee, which will begin on Memorial Day.

Wieters to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Miss Rest of 2014 Season

The unusually high number of Tommy John surgeries that have wreaked havoc on pitching staffs already this season has now claimed a new victim: a catcher.

The Baltimore Orioles announced before the start of their series at Tampa Bay on June 16 that All-Star and Gold Glove catcher Matt Wieters will undergo ulnar collateral ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery on his right elbow. Well-known orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure at his office in north Florida. It’s expected that Wieters will need nine months of recovery time in order to be ready for the start of next season. Baltimore had set a July 1 deadline for deciding whether or not Wieters needed surgery.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Wieters had been trying to avoid surgery by going with the rest-and-rehab route. However, after having a good day of throwing, Showalter says Wieters’ elbow was sore the next day, and that was the indication to Orioles trainers that the injury was to the UCL. Wieters hadn’t played in a game since May 10, and hadn’t caught in a game since May 4. He’s been on the disabled list since May 11. Wieters believes he originally suffered the injury while making a throw to second base during a game in Boston in April. He was off to a great start prior to the injury, hitting .308 with five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI.

The Orioles traded reliever Troy Patton to San Diego on May 24 for catcher Nick Hundley to add depth at catcher in case Wieters was going to be out for any significant length of time. Caleb Joseph is the backup catcher, and Steve Clevenger is also available at Triple-A Norfolk.

Dylan Bundy Makes First Rehab Start With Aberdeen

Dylan Bundy threw in a professional game for the first time since 2012.

Bundy allowed just a run in five innings on Father’s Day as the Aberdeen Ironbirds hosted the Hudson Valley Renegades in New York-Penn League action. After the game, Bundy wrote on his Twitter account “First outing in the books! Felt great!”

Bundy underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2012 season.

Gonzalez Set to Return From DL

Right-handed starter Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to be activated from the DL and start the middle game of the series in Tampa Bay. When he’s activated, the Orioles will go to a six-man starting rotation. Showalter says any of the other starters could be asked to occasionally serve as long relievers out of the bullpen. He added that the rotation will be worked out in the coming days, and could be helped by the result of Manny Machado’s appeal of his five-game suspension. The appeal will be heard prior to the start of the Orioles’ series against the Yankees in New York.