Huff clears waivers

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Move enables possible deal

Sherrill to stay

August 15, 2008|By Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec | Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporters

CLEVELAND - Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff could still be traded to a contender this month, but All-Star closer George Sherrill can't be.

According to two baseball sources, Huff, who is having a resurgent season, passed through revocable "trade" waivers and can be dealt until midnight Aug. 31 and still be eligible for a contender's postseason roster. Sherrill, however, was claimed by at least one unnamed American League team and was pulled back by the Orioles.

They now have lost revocable waivers on Sherrill, meaning he cannot be placed on waivers again without the risk of losing him with no compensation in return. So the left-hander, 31, will remain an Oriole for the rest of the 2008 season.

"I guess they do it to everybody," Sherrill said of being put through waivers. He has said repeatedly that he wants to remain in Baltimore. "It's nothing you can control, and it's going to happen, so there's no real reason to get all huffy about it."

In addition, one source confirmed that a trio of Orioles veterans - outfielder Jay Payton, first baseman Kevin Millar and reliever Jamie Walker - also passed through waivers and could be traded this month.

Despite hitting .301 with 25 homers, 79 RBIs and a .553 slugging percentage, Huff presumably passed through waivers because any claiming team would be responsible for paying more than $10 million remaining on his contract, including $8 million in 2009.

If the Orioles trade Huff, 31, they likely would have to absorb some of his contract in order to receive a suitable haul of prospects in return.

"I enjoy the staff, the players, the organization," Huff said. "I've had a great time this year. I see a lot of future in this team. I left an organization in Tampa that has gotten good. I'd hate to leave this place and see them get good as well."

There was no confirmation as to whether second baseman Brian Roberts cleared waivers, but, as one of the best leadoff men in baseball, it was a near certainty that he would be claimed and then pulled back by the Orioles.

Like most teams, the Orioles run the majority of their players through revocable waivers in early August to either gauge trade interest or serve as decoys.

Last week, reliever Chad Bradford was claimed by the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Orioles agreed not to revoke the waivers in return for a player to be named.

Penn shut down

It appears that Hayden Penn will again have to wait until next year to make his return to the Orioles. The Triple-A Norfolk right-hander had his right shoulder examined yesterday by team physician Dr. John Wilckens. Though no structural damage was found, Penn will be shut down for several weeks, likely ending his 2008 season.

"The preliminary stuff I got is they just want to shut him down for a while," Orioles president Andy MacPhail said. "He just needs to rest."

Penn (6-7, 4.79), who was one of the Orioles' top prospects but has struggled with injuries and inconsistency, hasn't pitched since Aug. 5. He had been a candidate to join the Orioles' rotation for the final couple of months, but that probably won't happen now.

Around the horn

Orioles manager Dave Trembley confirmed today that struggling right-hander Dennis Sarfate will remain in the rotation and start tomorrow night at Detroit. In three starts since joining the rotation from the bullpen, Sarfate is 0-1 with an 11.45 ERA. Over 11 innings, he has allowed 17 runs (14 earned), 13 hits and 11 walks. ... A day after his back tightened up during his first start against his former team, Jeremy Guthrie said he expects to make his next start.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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