The Orioles have designated reliever Dennis Sarfate for assignment, a move made to create room on the 40-man roster for third baseman Miguel Tejada, who signed a one-year, $6 million contract yesterday after passing his physical.
The club is expected to make the announcement later today, but Sarfate's agent already has informed him of the move.
Sarfate was 0-1 with a 5.09 ERA in 20 appearances last season. He spent almost four months on the disabled list with a circulatory condition in his right hand, though he probably could have returned sooner if the Orioles didn't wait until rosters expanded in September.
Sarfate's velocity took a noticeable dip, but he reportedly was hitting 97 mph with his fastball in the Mexican Winter League.
The Orioles are heavy in right-handed relievers and Sarfate is out of minor league options, so his roster spot has been in jeopardy since summer turned to fall. He could remain in the organization if he passes through waivers, but pitchers who throw in the upper 90s usually get claimed.
Coincidentally, Sarfate came to the Orioles in the Dec. 12, 2007 trade that sent Tejada to the Astros.
I understand that Sarfate would have difficulty making the Opening Day roster, but Armando Gabino will have to show me why he deserves a spot on the 40-man roster. And the Orioles' desire to sign one or two left-handed relievers before spring training indicates that Alberto Castillo doesn't fit into their immediate plans.