What do you do if you have a designated hitter who's recovering from a torn PCL, you just traded a right-handed reliever, and another right-handed reliever with a minor league option becomes available on waivers? Because we watched him in action last season, we already know what is the answer for Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette. Claim him on waivers, send him to Norfolk, and hope you never need him.
The player in question is Alex Burnett, who was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays when they claimed Towson University product Casper Wells. Burnett had been sent to the great DFA in the sky by the Twins at the end of spring training, so he's got to be feeling a little unwanted by now. Duquette wants him, though, at least for a little while. I wouldn't look into any long-term leases.
Wilson Betemit has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make a spot on the 40-man roster.
Sometimes, I can tell what is the rationale for these random roster moves based on the content of the press release the Orioles send out about them. For instance, when a lefty pitcher is claimed, they will often mention his splits against lefty batters. In the case of Burnett, here is what they said: he's 25 with a 4.61 ERA (170 IP, 87 ER) in 174 major league games with the Twins, has a 3.40 ERA (522 IP, 197 ER) in eight minor league seasons, mostly all with the Twins, and was a 12th round pick in 2005.
Should Duquette address the media about this claim, he'll probably string together some phrases from his book of stock phrases. Maybe a little something like this: "Alex Burnett is a qualified major league pitcher, a dependable reliever with years of big league service who has excelled in retiring right-handed batters from the bullpen. We had the opportunity to add him to our organization and we believe he will provide depth to our ball club by pitching out of the Norfolk bullpen."
He may surprise us all and say something else, or he may say nothing at all, because all the beat reporters are on the road in New York and they don't have time to write about the latest random waiver claim in any sort of detail.