First Baseman Aubrey Recalled From Norfolk

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Left-handed Hitter Assumes Huff's Roster Spot

August 19, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - -Michael Aubrey's 2009 was already a whirlwind.

Now it could become a season of redemption, with a second chance for the former first-rounder to play in the majors.

"It's a good feeling," said Aubrey, 27, a left-handed-hitting first baseman who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday. "This is what you play for. You play to play in the big leagues."

Aubrey, who came to the Orioles from the Cleveland Indians for future considerations June 24, batted .290 with eight homers, 29 doubles and 52 RBIs in 101 games for the Tides and Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers.

This is Aubrey's second stint in the majors; he had nine hits in 45 at-bats last year with the Indians, the team that selected him 11th overall in the 2003 amateur draft.

"Now that you are in the big leagues, you have to do what you can do to stay," said Aubrey, whose promising career had been stunted before 2008 by various injuries. "Make people believe that you belong."

Aubrey takes the roster spot of first baseman Aubrey Huff, who was traded to the Detroit Tigers for a minor league pitcher Monday. How much Aubrey will play for the Orioles hasn't been determined, manager Dave Trembley said.

"I don't know what his role is," Trembley said. "He is a left-handed hitter, he plays first base and he [is a designated hitter]. We'll have to get him in the lineup accordingly and kind of go from there a little bit. I don't know if he will be an everyday player."

With left-hander David Price starting for the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, right-hander Ty Wigginton played first and Luke Scott was the DH.

Trembley said Aubrey will start tonight but didn't reveal whether it would be at first or DH.

Draft recap

The amateur signing period for draft picks ended at midnight Monday with the Orioles coming to terms with 29 of their 50 picks; nine of their top 10; 21 of their top 25; and 25 of their top 30.

Second-round pick Mychal Givens, a high school shortstop from Tampa, was the last to sign, inking an $800,000 deal late Monday night. Givens will take his team physical in Tampa either today or Thursday and will attend Thursday's game at Tropicana Field as a guest of the Orioles.

The club spent just under $8.8 million on its picks, believed to be the second highest in franchise history behind 2007's allocation, which included a total of $7.1 million to two players - Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta.

"We all like our drafts right now, but I just think there is athleticism, there are some bats, some real young quality pitching," amateur scouting director Joe Jordan said. "It's a good mix."

The four in the top 25 who didn't sign were: eighth-rounder Devin Harris, who chose to stay at East Carolina University; 15th-rounder Garrett Bush, who enrolled at Auburn University; 17th-rounder Jeffrey Walters, who stayed at the University of Georgia; and 25th-rounder Jay Johnson, who failed his physical and will attend Texas Tech.

Mickolio back again

Rookie Kam Mickolio is back with the Orioles for the third time this season, taking the roster spot of Matt Albers, who was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday.

The right-handed reliever has thrown 4 2/3 scoreless innings in four appearances for the Orioles, but he has been caught in the minor-major league shuttle.

"You'd like to stay up here and stick, and be up here the whole time," Mickolio said. "But that's not reality for someone in my situation."

With rosters expanding Sept. 1, Mickolio likely will stay this time.

"It's a learning experience, that's for sure," he said. "Learning how to stay packed at all times or knowing not to unpack everything you have."

Johnson leaves team

Closer Jim Johnson boarded the team plane late Monday night but spent just three hours in Florida before flying back to Baltimore at 5:30 a.m. He joined his pregnant wife, Liz, who delivered the couple's first child, Abigail Grace, at 6:43 p.m. Tuesday.

"I don't know when he'll be back," Trembley said. "We cannot fill his roster spot. There's no list you can put him on."

Danys Baez, who has 114 career saves, will act as closer in Johnson's absence.

Around the horn

With Huff gone, right fielder Nick Markakis batted cleanup for the second consecutive game and 11th time this year, but Trembley said he still will tinker with his lineup. ... With a second-inning single, Markakis has reached base in 38 consecutive games, the majors' longest active streak.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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