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Orioles select Johnny Giavotella from Norfolk

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The Orioles added another infielder who doesn’t hit much on Thursday. Why? Who knows? They also optioned Jayson Aquino and designated David Washington for assignment.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

How many light-hitting infielders can you fit on one baseball team at a time? The Orioles seem to be determined to find out the answer. They added another unexpectedly on Thursday afternoon, selecting infielder Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Norfolk.

The move required corresponding action on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters. Jayson Aquino, who started Wednesday’s game, was optioned back down to Norfolk for the first. For the second, the Orioles designated David Washington, the Triple-A strikeout king, for assignment.

Given that Aquino was only present on the roster due to Chris Tillman being placed on the paternity list, another move will have to be made in another day. Perhaps the Orioles are tiring of the tandem of Paul Janish and Ruben Tejada.

It’s also possible that the Orioles are just desperate for anyone who appears to be able to hit. While Giavotella, 29, is just a .256/.295/.361 batter in his six year MLB career, he’s been hitting much better for Norfolk - generally regarded as a pitcher-friendly park - in 83 games this season. Giavotella’s Triple-A line is a .306/.368/.441.

The obvious possibility there is that Giavotella is good enough to hit Triple-A pitchers regularly but not enough to hit MLB ones. He would not be the first or the last to fit in that category.

Perhaps the Orioles, surprisingly one of the worst-hitting AL teams this season, are simply desperate enough to grasp at any straw they can. The oft-invoked analogy of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic comes to mind.

Worth noting that while Giavotella is another infielder, he’s not another shortstop, so he might not be supplanting either Janish or Tejada. In a professional career that dates back to 2008, when Giavotella was selected by the Royals in the second round, he has played exactly one inning at short. The bulk of his time has been spent at second base, with some sporadic time at third base and left field.

The O’s calling up someone for one day already knowing they will designate him for assignment tomorrow is not beyond them, either, so don’t rush out and buy a Giavotella jersey tonight.