Orioles' Salazar, Pie Could Be Traded Soon

July 08, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

SEATTLE - -Needing a roster spot with shortstop Cesar Izturis expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday, the Orioles are exploring trades for infielder Oscar Salazar and outfielder Felix Pie, who have garnered interest from other teams.

Salazar and Pie are out of options and would be likely lost through waivers, so it makes sense for the Orioles to get something in return rather than lose them for nothing.

"I think the market would indicate that they have greater value than just a waiver claim," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "I think it's one of those things that there's good news and bad news. The bad news is you have to make a roster decision and you have a limited amount of flexibility. The good news is that your extra players are getting to the point where they're attractive to a lot of teams.

"That is a sign of progress, that as opposed to guys that are just kind of, in baseball parlance, 'Four-A' guys, these are guys that other clubs have some interest in. So we'll see what evolves."

Pie, the 24-year-old outfielder who has started just three of the Orioles' past 21 games, is eight for his past 20 with four RBIs while getting limited at-bats with the emergence of rookie Nolan Reimold in left field. According to sources, the Orioles discussed Pie with the Chicago White Sox in a potential deal revolving around third baseman Josh Fields, but it's not known how much interest, if any, the White Sox still have in the outfielder.

Salazar, a key member of the Orioles' bench and a catalyst for a couple of their recent comeback victories, entered Tuesday's game 10-for-26 (.385) with a homer and five RBIs since his promotion from Triple-A Norfolk. Salazar, 31, has value to a number of teams, specifically those in the National League, because of the right-handed power he brings off the bench and his ability to play multiple positions.

Asked whether the roster decision will come down to either Pie or Salazar barring a trade, Orioles manager Dave Trembley said, "I would say those are some good names, good choices."

Trembley said losing either of them would be a loss for the club.

"It would be playing short," he said. "It's been good having the insurance of Pie. I think the last month, the at-bats that he's had, he's hit much better against right-handed pitching. Salazar has been a very productive guy off the bench. He was extremely valuable, especially against National League clubs during interleague. It would be hard to lose either guy."

As for Izturis, he went 2-for-3 on Tuesday with two runs scored and a stolen base for Double-A Bowie in his first game action since undergoing an appendectomy on June 5. He'll play again today, and if all goes well, he's expected to be back in the Orioles' lineup Friday.

Roberts sits with illness

Still struggling with an upper-respiratory infection that has dogged him for the past 10 days, Brian Roberts was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday and might not play in today's series finale, Trembley said.

"It's been frustrating, but ... I got some new medicine in me, [and] hopefully it will start to go in the right direction," Roberts said.

Roberts saw a Seattle Mariners team doctor before Monday's game and was prescribed a different antibiotic than the one he has been taking.

Hill to bullpen

The Orioles will skip left-hander Rich Hill's next scheduled start and use him in the bullpen until after the All-Star break. Thursday's day off gives the Orioles that luxury. They also could have skipped struggling right-hander Jason Berken, but Trembley decided to start him Friday and not Hill because the Toronto Blue Jays are loaded with tough right-handed hitters.

"The last game in Anaheim, I thought I threw the ball very well," said Hill, who has given up six runs or more in three straight starts and has a 7.43 ERA.

"It's just a few execution things here and there. I really don't think it's something where they think that I can't start. They just want to give me a rest and they told me I'd be starting against Chicago coming back in the second half. So I'm not too concerned about it."

Around the horn

Orioles pitching prospect Brian Matusz continued to dominate for Double-A Bowie, pitching eight shutout innings in a win over Harrisburg on Tuesday, allowing one hit and walking none while striking out 11. In four starts for the Baysox, he has allowed one run and 11 hits, and has walked six and struck out 32 in 26 1/3 innings. ... Koji Uehara (partially torn flexor tendon) got a second opinion on his right elbow by New York Mets director of medicine Dr. David Altchek, who confirmed that the pitcher needs rest and not surgery. ... Bowie left-hander Wilfrido Perez (sore left elbow) returned to the minor league disabled list. ... Shortstop Blake Davis was activated by Triple-A Norfolk after completing his injury rehabilitation assignment at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.

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