BALTIMORE — Only one game into the second half of the season, the Orioles have made more roster changes as catcher Taylor Teagarden was activated from the 60-day disabled list and Triple-A Norfolk reliever Miguel Socolovich had his contract selected prior to Saturday’s game.
To clear room for both players on the 40-man roster, the Orioles have outrighted catcher Ronny Paulino to Norfolk and designated pitcher Dana Eveland for assignment. Paulino has three days to accept the assignment to Triple A or he can become a free agent. Eveland must pass through waivers and would be outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday if he clears.
Teagarden was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury on April 4 and transferred to the 60-day DL on May 9. He batted .250 in nine rehab games with Gulf Coast, Single-A Delmarva, and Double-A Bowie — playing three games for each affiliate. He was acquired by the Orioles from Texas on December 1, 2011.
Socolovich has been one of Norfolk’s best pitchers this season, going 3-0 with a 1.77 earned run average in 45 2/3 innings of work. He walked only 11 and struck out 50 in 24 games with the Tides. Selected to the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 11, he tossed a perfect inning and struck out two.
He was signed as a minor-league free agent on November 22, 2011. How long Socolovich stays with the Orioles remains to be seen as the club will need to make a roster move to recall pitcher Chris Tillman for Monday’s start — Miguel Gonzalez will now start on Sunday. Baltimore will likely recall pitcher Zach Britton to start on Tuesday and is still waiting word on the status of starter Jason Hammel, who left Friday’s start early with a right knee injury.
“He arguably has been [their] best pitcher,” said Showalter about Socolovich. “All year long, we have been trying to find a way to get him here. It could be tough to keep him here, too.”
Serving as the club’s backup catcher for most of the season, Paulino was batting .254 with no home runs and five runs batted in in 20 games with the Orioles this season.
After passing through waivers following spring training and starting the season at Norfolk, Eveland went 0-1 with a 4.73 earned run average in 32 1/3 innings over 14 appearances (two starts) with Baltimore this season. In Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Tigers, Eveland allowed a three-run homer to Jhonny Peralta.
“Theres no tougher job to stay sharp than the long reliever,” Showalter said. “We think to get him right and to get him back to where he was when we took him, he needs to get the ball every fifth day. And it’s not going to happen here.”
NOTES: Showalter revealed Tillman experienced a back spasm on Thursday, so the Orioles have decided to push his start back to Monday. The move also allows the club to get Gonzalez back to the mound a day sooner, which Showalter preferred anyway. … Left-hander Brian Matusz appears to be a strong candidate to take Jason Hammel’s place in the starting rotation if he is forced to miss a start. Matusz threw a shutout in his first start for Triple-A Norfolk on July 6 and is scheduled to start for the Tides on Sunday as of now.