Right-hander Nate Karns cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Orioles and was sent outright to Triple-A Norfolk, per the International League’s transaction log. Karns does have enough service time to reject the assignment in favor of free agency, but doing so would mean surrendering the remainder of this season’s $800K salary, so he’ll likely remain with the organization.
Karns, 31, was the Orioles’ only Major League signing of the 2018-19 offseason, but he hasn’t been healthy enough to factor into the team’s plans in the Majors. A forearm strain landed Karns on the injured list in early April and has proved difficult to move past. He’s tallied just 5 1/3 innings in the Majors this season, with another 10 1/3 innings pitched on a minor league rehab assignment. Karns didn’t allow a run in his tiny stretch of MLB work, but he’s yielded 10 runs on 10 hit and 10 walks with five strikeouts during his rehab efforts.
Back in 2015, Karns tossed 147 innings of 3.67 ERA ball for the Rays and looked to be an interesting, controllable piece of their staff. He was traded to the Mariners in the Logan Morrison deal, however, and then flipped to the Royals for Jarrod Dyson after struggling in his lone Seattle season. Karns pitched 45 1/3 innings with Kansas City before undergoing thoracic outlet surgery and missing the entire 2018 season. At this point, he’s spent time on the 60-day IL in each of the past four big league seasons.