Versatility earns Moore a call back to Baltimore

Learning shortstop in Norfolk made him valuable for series against Nationals

May 22, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON —

— When the Orioles sent Scott Moore to the minor leagues this spring, they told him they wanted him to play shortstop as a way to increase his versatility, which might improve his chances of contributing to the big league club.

On Friday, the Orioles purchased Moore's contract from Triple-A Norfolk, citing the need for that very versatility in their interleague series against the Washington Nationals.

"When you play the National League clubs, position players have to be ready for double switches," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "And one of the reasons he is here is because he can play more than one position."

Moore, 26, was hitting .276 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 34 games for the Tides this season. It's his third stint in Baltimore; he played four games with the Orioles in 2008 and 17 in 2007.

He missed most of last season with a thumb injury, but instead of choosing minor league free agency last offseason, he re-signed with the Orioles.

"I really like it here. I like the organization. They're familiar with me," Moore said. "They expressed that they wanted me back, and so I came back."

Moore has the ability to play all four infield positions, but Trembley said he wouldn't be at shortstop if a replacement for Cesar Izturis is needed. He likely will get most of his starts at first base.

To make room for Moore on the 25-man roster, the Orioles demoted left-hander Alberto Castillo to Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday night.

On Friday, they designated Triple-A Norfolk infielder Justin Turner for assignment, meaning they have 10 days to release, trade or request waivers on the 25-year-old infielder. Turner has had three hits in 31 at-bats for the Orioles in the past two seasons, including nine hitless at-bats in 2010. If he clears waivers, he cannot refuse an assignment to Norfolk.

"The spot had to be opened up," Trembley said. "The thought was that no one would take him, he would clear and he would get optioned to Norfolk."

Wieters sits with sore knee

Matt Wieters didn't start Friday after fouling a ball off his right kneecap in the third inning of Thursday's loss to the Texas Rangers.

X-rays were negative, but Wieters said the knee was still a bit sore and swollen Friday. Because of that, backup Craig Tatum started for the eighth time this season.

"We thought it would be best to give it a day and it'll be 100 percent [today]," Wieters said.

Uehara unavailable

After throwing 30 pitches Wednesday, reliever Koji Uehara was unavailable to pitch again Friday. Trembley said he has to pick his spots with the 35-year-old right-hander who was "absolutely spent" while pitching in the Texas heat Wednesday.

"I feel like you almost have to script it with him, to be honest with you," Trembley said. "I think we have to be careful with him."

Uehara made just 12 starts last season, was switched to relief and missed half of spring training and the first month of the regular season with a hamstring strain.

"When he pitched down in extended [spring training] on a rehab, he was throwing 12 pitches, 13 pitches, 14 pitches. And it wasn't really taxing on him," Trembley said.

Around the horn

Center fielder Adam Jones did not return for the fourth inning because of cramps in his right leg that he experienced during an at-bat in the third inning. His status is considered day-to-day. Lou Montanez replaced him in the lineup, and Corey Patterson moved from left field to center. … Brian Roberts (pneumonia) has been released from the hospital and is at home, according to Trembley. He will be re-evaluated by team doctor William Goldiner on Monday. Roberts, who is on the disabled list with a herniated disk in his back, was supposed to begin rehab in Sarasota on Wednesday before being hospitalized.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/danconnollysun

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