The Orioles announced Wednesday that right-hander Cesar Valdez has been designated for assignment for a second time this season. Baltimore also recalled second baseman Jahmai Jones and righty Konner Wade from Triple-A Norfolk, optioned right-hander Joey Krehbiel to Norfolk and placed infielder Ramon Urias on the 10-day injured list due to a right adductor strain.
Valdez, 36, only had his contract selected back to the big league roster yesterday. It’ll be a daylong stint on the MLB roster for the righty, who pitched two-thirds of an inning in last night’s game and surrendered two runs (one earned) on a hit and a walk. Valdez has now been scored upon in six of his past seven Major League appearances and 12 of his past 19 dating back to June 1.
Up to that point, Valdez had emerged as an unlikely closer in Baltimore. The journeyman right-hander notched eight saves for the O’s through the season’s first five weeks and carried a 1.23 ERA into mid-May before a swift collapse cost him the closer’s gig and eventually his spot on the roster. Dating back to May 11, Valdez has been tagged for 28 earned runs on 51 hits and 11 walks with 28 strikeouts through 31 1/3 innings. The O’s will either place him on outright waivers or release waivers within the next couple of days.
Given the timing of the Urias IL placement, it seems quite possible that this injury will end his season. He’s somewhat quietly had a nice run as a utility option with the O’s since making his MLB debut last summer, as the 27-year-old has batted .286/.365/.425 with eight home runs and 16 doubles in his first 323 big league plate appearances. A .376 average on balls in play has surely helped his cause, but Urias also owns an impressive 25 percent line-drive rate and a 42.9 percent hard-hit rate.
Urias has split his time between second base, shortstop and third base, although he doesn’t have particularly strong grades. Still, his solid showing at the plate to date suggests he could be a bat-first utility option for the O’s moving forward.