Orioles claim first baseman/outfielder Russ Canzler off waivers

February 05, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles have claimed first baseman/outfielder Russ Canzler off waivers and designated catcher Luis Martinez for assignment to make room for him on the team’s 40-man roster, the club announced Tuesday.

The organization had interest in claiming the 26-year-old Canzler earlier this offseason – this was the fourth time he was placed on waivers since the end of last season – but the Orioles were never previously high enough on the waivers list to snag him. The Yankees designated Canzler for assignment Friday to make room for Travis Hafner.

The right-handed hitting Canzler has just 102 major league at-bats with the Rays and Indians, but owns a .400/.419/.667 line against left-handed pitching.

"Canzler is an experienced right-handed batter with power who can compete for time at first base, outfield and DH who is especially good against left-handed pitching," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said by text message.

He was the International League MVP in 2011 with the Rays’ Triple-A team in Durham, hitting .314/.401/.530 with 40 doubles, 18 homers and 83 RBIs. Last season with the Indians’ Triple-A team in Columbus, he hit a career-high 22 homers. He's also recorded at least 128 strikeouts in his past two minor league seasons.

Other than providing a steady bat against left-handed pitching, where he could spot left-handed hitting Chris Davis, Canzler also offers some defensive flexibility. He played four different positions – first, third, left and right – throughout his minor league career.

Martinez was claimed off waivers Jan. 4 from the Rangers, giving the Orioles four catchers on their 40-man along with Matt Wieters, Taylor Teagarden and Luis Exposito. It seemed obvious that the Orioles would have to remove one catcher with their next 40-man move.

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