The Orioles are designating Rule 5 pick Andrew Politi for assignment, reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). If the right-hander goes unclaimed on waivers, he’ll be offered back to the Red Sox organization. Politi’s DFA, presumably, is the corresponding 40-man move for Baltimore’s previously reported acquisition of left-handed reliever Danny Coulombe.
Politi, 26, appeared in nine spring games with the O’s but was tagged for six runs on nine hits, three walks and a hit batter in 8 2/3 frames. He fanned eight of his 38 opponents along the way (21.1%). As a Rule 5 pick, Politi was required to remain on the active roster or Major League injured list all season and could not be optioned to Triple-A by the Orioles. If another team claims him, he’ll retain that Rule 5 status. If he goes unclaimed and is returned to the Sox, they will not need to place him on their 40-man roster.
A former 15th-round pick, Politi has routinely posted big strikeout numbers but shaky walk rates in the minor leagues — at least until last season, when he walked a career-low 8.0% of his opponents while posting a 2.34 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A. Walks weren’t an issue this spring, but he allowed a pair of homers and was hit relatively hard overall. The Orioles apparently felt their in-house options were stronger and that the added bullpen flexibility of not carrying a Rule 5 reliever was too beneficial as they look to build on last year’s impressive showing and take strides toward competing for a postseason spot.