This will be the second stint in Baltimore for the 30-year-old Hunter, whom the Orioles first acquired from the Rangers in the Chris Davis/Koji Uehara deal in 2011 and then traded to the Cubs last summer for Junior Lake. Hunter signed a one-year, $2MM contract with the Indians during the offseason, but they released him Thursday. A non-displaced fracture in Hunter’s back, which he suffered in a fall at his home over the All-Star break, has kept him out since early July. Hunter had embarked on a minor league rehab assignment with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate in Columbus prior to earning his release, though, and the fact that he’s now on the Orioles seems to signal that he has recovered.
Hunter, who recorded a 3.74 ERA, 7.06 K/9, 2.08 BB/9 and 52.3 percent ground-ball rate in 21 2/3 innings with the Indians, could now provide a useful arm to the Orioles’ bullpen. Since making a full-time transition to a relief role in 2013, Hunter has tossed 229 frames and compiled a 3.30 ERA, 6.96 K/9, 1.77 BB/9 and 45 percent grounder rate.