SARASOTA, Fla. — The Orioles have designated left-hander Dana Eveland for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster for infielder Zelous Wheeler, whom they claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wheeler, a 25-year-old infielder, was sent directly to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles have 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers on Eveland, who allowed three runs in four innings during an exhibition game Wednesday and was 1-2 with a 3.46 ERA and 17 hits allowed in 13 innings this spring.
“I know my life is in limbo for a few days. I don’t know what is going to happen now, but we’ll see,” Eveland said. “It kind of [stinks], obviously. I really wanted to make this team, but things don’t always go your way.”
The Orioles acquired Eveland, 28, during the winter meetings in December for two minor leaguers, pitcher Jarret Martin and outfielder Tyler Henson. At the time, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette trumpeted Eveland’s ability to eat innings and said he likely would have a spot in the club’s starting rotation.
After that, however, the Orioles signed two lefty starters who had pitched in Japan, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada.
“They got me and then they went and signed more guys after me, which kind of lowered me on the totem pole. I think when they first got me, they saw me in a different role and then they got Wada and Chen after me, so that kind of changed things a little bit,” Eveland said. “I don’t know how Dan really feels about me, hopefully he likes me. I know he’s got to make some tough decisions, and unfortunately, I was on the wrong end of one.”
Eveland signed a $750,000 deal with the Orioles this winter to avoid arbitration and therefore would likely remain with the club if no one else claims him.
“If I do clear waivers, I think I would accept my assignment, as long as they’ll still have me and not release me,” said Eveland, who is 19-24 with a 5.52 ERA in 100 big league games over seven seasons with six clubs. “I need to talk to my agent and see what he thinks I should do, but I’m not going to walk away from my contract here.”
A 19th-round pick in 2007 by the Brewers who can play third, shortstop and second base, Wheeler is a .271 career minor league hitter with a .371 on-base percentage in parts of five seasons. He had three hits and three stolen bases in 11 at-bats this spring for the Brewers.
Baseball America did not list Wheeler as a top-30 prospect in the Brewers' organization, which is listed by the magazine as the 25th best of 30 systems in baseball.