The Norfolk Tides will add a few new faces to their team photo come Monday afternoon. One new player to note is Joe Saunders. Yes, that Joe Saunders; the same one who pitched for the Orioles in 2012 and led them to the first playoff win in 14 years.
The Orioles signed Joe Saunders to a minor league contract Friday afternoon. Despite all of his major league experience as a starter, the Orioles and Tides plan to use him as a reliever.
“We discussed with him that it might be time to transition into that role,” Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette told reporters of Saunders. “And he agreed to it.”
This season has not been the greatest for Saunders. In eight starts with the Texas Rangers, Saunders had an 0-5 record with a whopping 6.13 ERA.
He was released by the Rangers and then signed with the Royals on a minor league deal. In four starts at Triple-A Omaha, Saunders went 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
With the addition of relief pitcher Andrew Miller Thursday, the Orioles needed to clear a spot for him on their 25-man roster. The Orioles designated Ryan Webb off the 25-man roster and sent him to Triple-A. The Orioles did not designate Webb for assignment; they just took him off the 25-man roster which means he will be able to go straight to Norfolk.
The Orioles also sent down Preston Guilmet on Wednesday night when T.J. McFarland was taken off the bereavement list. The Tides activated Suk-Min Yoon off the disabled list as well. With the addition of Yoon, Norfolk’s roster is now full at 25.
Norfolk will have to make another roster move both Sunday and Monday. Sunday, Ubaldo Jimenez is making his second rehab start, recovering from an ankle sprain. On Monday, Joe Saunders will be activated meaning someone will have to be demoted.