07/28/12 11:15 PM ET
Socolovich optioned, Ford expected replacement
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Outfielder Lew Ford did not play in Triple-A Norfolk's game on Saturday and is expected to have his contract purchased prior to Sunday's game, giving the team another right-handed hitting option against A's lefty Travis Blackley.
The 35-year-old Ford is batting .331 with 14 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 62 games at Norfolk. He last played in the Majors with the Minnesota Twins in 2007 and was signed out of independent ball earlier this year. With a struggling Orioles offense, and Jim Thome (neck spasms) and catcher Matt Wieteres (right bicep soreness) banged up, it makes sense to add another position player given that the team's next off-day isn't until Thursday.
Socolovich allowed an earned run in a career-high 2 2/3 innings pitched in Saturday's game. In two stints with the Orioles, he pitched to a 9.00 ERA, allowing seven runs in seven innings over four games.
Wieters rests sore biceps for second straight day
BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters was out of the Orioles' lineup for the second consecutive game on Saturday, but the 26-year-old catcher was optimistic he would be back starting on Sunday.
"With the way I improved today, if we can keep it here and get it a little better, I feel good to go," Wieters said of the right bicep soreness that kept him out of Friday's lineup and started during an at-bat on Thursday.
"I think the big thing is miss one [more] game here as opposed to having that doubt in your mind where it might set you back two or three weeks."
Wieters did not swing on Friday, just getting treatment, but said he would test his swing during Saturday's pregame batting practice. He does not feel the soreness when throwing or catching, just when extending his left-handed swing.
"If I wanted to really push the envelope, I could probably play him," manager Buck Showalter said. "I don't think anybody wants to think about not having him right physically, especially 60-something games left. So, [we will] back off him."
Showalter wasn't willing to commit to definitely starting Wieters on Sunday, and Taylor Teagarden made his second consecutive start Saturday in Wieters' place. A two-time All-Star, Wieters is hitting .238 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 90 games, but has struggled recently. He is batting .197 (14-for-71) in 19 games in July with three extra-base hits.
Thome out of lineup due to neck spasms
BALTIMORE -- Jim Thome was not in Saturday's starting lineup, as the Orioles' designated hitter woke up with neck spasms that the team will try to calm down with anti-inflammatory medication and rest.
"I occasionally get stiff here and there, but what I woke up with today was more than I ever experienced," said Thome, who did not feel any discomfort during Friday night's game. "So I wanted to bring it to their attention."
Thome was seen by team doctors prior to Saturday's game and said the spasms are not related to the lower back injury that he dealt with earlier this year. The veteran was optimistic that the spasms wouldn't sideline him long, although he acknowledged it's tough to say for certain.
"I hope not," Thome said of a possible prolonged absence. "You can never predict those things. When you have a spasm, typically I don't know what the time frame is on that, but hopefully it will be a day or two."
Acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Phillies, Thome has hit .261 with two homers and six RBIs in 18 games with the Orioles. Chris Davis served as the O's DH in his place on Saturday.
Improving Andino could return to O's on Tuesday
BALTIMORE -- Robert Andino could return to the Orioles as early as Tuesday, with the infielder -- who has been working out with the team the last few days -- set to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday.
Andino, who had never been on the disabled list until this stint, admitted he didn't know what to do with himself and has been fortunate he's been progressing well ahead of the initial timeline of three to four weeks. Andino was placed on the DL July 17 (retroactive to July 16) and has moved quickly with no soreness in his shoulder since starting to swing.
"Every day, it really got better," Andino said of the injury, which occurred when diving for a ball at second base. "[I've been] moving it around, stretching it every day. I didn't keep it still, maybe that's why."
The Orioles' starting second baseman with Brian Roberts on the DL with a hip injury, Andino batted .230 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 79 games. In his absence, the Orioles traded for infielder Omar Quintanilla and has used him primarily at second base.
The plan is for Andino to play Sunday and Monday with Norfolk and possibly Tuesday, though he could join the big league club after two games. Asked what tests he still needs to pass Andino said: "[Getting my] timing back and see how the shoulder is in game speed. Right now, I don't feel it."
Pearce claimed by Astros
BALTIMORE -- The Astros have claimed infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce off waivers from Baltimore.
The 29-year-old Pearce played in 28 games this year for the Orioles, hitting .254 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 71 at-bats. Pearce was flying to Houston on Saturday night and could be activated prior to Sunday's game against the Pirates.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.