WASHINGTON -- Seeking versatility and in need of some fresh faces, the Orioles added infielder Steve Wilkerson and catcher Caleb Joseph prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Nationals. To clear a roster spot, the O's designated Pedro Alvarez for assignment.Alvarez is now off Baltimore's 40-man roster, and the Orioles
WASHINGTON -- Seeking versatility and in need of some fresh faces, the Orioles added infielder Steve Wilkerson and catcher Caleb Joseph prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Nationals. To clear a roster spot, the O's designated Pedro Alvarez for assignment.
Alvarez is now off Baltimore's 40-man roster, and the Orioles must either trade or place him on irrevocable waivers within the next seven days. If a team claims Alvarez off waivers, he will immediately be added to that team's 40-man roster. If Alvarez clears waivers, the O's are hoping he accepts an assignment to Norfolk.
"He's a good teammate and you know with the potential of some other people returning … there's some changes we're gonna have to make in the roster," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's always one of those guys you feel like he could part the water and you could run him out there every day, but with [Mark Trumbo] and [Chris Davis] being back with us here shortly, there just weren't gonna be the at-bats for him."
Alvarez, 31, has a .180/.283/.414 slash line and eight home runs this season. An All-Star with the Pirates in 2013, Alvarez was also the National League home-run champion that year with 36, to go along with 100 RBIs.
For Wilkerson, who has yet to make his Major League debut, Tuesday's promotion was a long time coming. Expected to compete for the utility infield spot this spring, Wilkerson instead was suspended 50 games this offseason for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Plan.
"This is a very special moment," said Wilkerson, who tested positive for an amphetamine. "Regardless of how my season started, I'm very happy and very fortunate to be here right now and I'm really looking forward to it."
Wilkerson has hit .290 and recorded an .862 OPS in 16 games for Norfolk and can play virtually anywhere on the diamond.
"It was a very difficult time," Wilkerson said of his suspension. "The last few months of the offseason and Spring Training, and the first few months of the season were difficult, and I made the decision at that time to try to put my best foot forward and go about it in a way that I was continuing to prepare myself as best I could for when I got the opportunity to play."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.