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Orioles swap utility infielders as Ruben Tejada replaces Paul Janish

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You might have forgotten Paul Janish was still with the Orioles since he’s played three games in three weeks. He was DFA’d on Tuesday and replaced with Ruben Tejada.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles have a new utility infielder. In a bit of a surprising move on Tuesday afternoon, the team designated veteran Paul Janish for assignment and purchased the contract of infielder Ruben Tejada from Triple-A Norfolk.

Tejada, 27, had only been with the organization for about a week after they acquired him for a player to be named later or cash from the Yankees, where he’d been playing for their Triple-A team.

Does it even matter who the utility infielder is? Probably not that much. The Orioles, as you’ve probably noticed, don’t play their reserves very often. Tejada, who has a career .252/.327/.320 batting line, isn’t the kind of guy who’s going to be pressing for a lot of playing time.

Janish has appeared in three games for the Orioles since his call-up and collected a total of five plate appearances in nearly three weeks. If that’s as frequently as Tejada plays, this is really a small thing.

It’s worth pointing out that’s 100 points of OPS better than what J.J. Hardy is hitting in 2017, and significantly better than Janish’s career OPS of .570 as well. Maybe that’s the simple explanation - a slightly better-hitting backup who is also much younger. Janish is 34 years old.

Tejada may not even be sticking around for very long, depending on when Ryan Flaherty is supposed to make his return to the disabled list. This could also be a sign that return is not going to be happening as soon as might have been initially estimated.

At the time Flaherty went on the DL, on May 21, manager Buck Showalter gave the standard, “Hopefully it’ll be just 10 days,” line. We’re nearly a week past that already.

It’s also possible that Dan Duquette was bored, didn’t have a pitcher roster move to make today, and decided to do something to alleviate that boredom. I don’t actually think that Duquette makes roster moves because he’s bored. It just feels that way sometimes.

Maybe it’s a grudge against people named Paul. The Orioles recently outrighted reliever Paul Fry from the 40-man roster. Now Janish is gone as well. With this move, the Orioles still have one open space on the 40-man roster.