Infielder Matt Antonelli passed his physical today, signed a major league contract and was officially added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster.
The Padres made Antonelli, 26, the 17th overall selection in the 2006 First Year Player Draft. He spent 2011 with Double-A Harrisburg (four games) and Triple-A Syracuse (86), batting a combined .298/.390/.457 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. He finished in the Top 10 of the International League in on-base percentage.
Antonelli is a career .264/.373/.406 hitter in 469 career minor league games over six seasons. He made his major league debut with the Padres in 2008, batting .193/.292/.281 in 21 games.
“We are pleased to bring Matt to the organization,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a statement. “He is a versatile major league player who has a good offensive approach and strong defensive skills at both third and second base.”
Antonelli will compete for a utility role in spring training, with an outside chance of starting at second base if Brian Roberts can’t play. So much depends on Roberts’ health, the Orioles’ plans for Robert Andino and whether they sign another middle infielder.
Meanwhile, the Orioles apparently are close to signing Korean reliever Chong Tae-Hyon, who turns 33 in December, but it’s not official. The speculation and rumors are amped up, but he’s not an Oriole yet. They’re working on it, however, and it looks like it’s just a matter of time.
The right-hander would be the first Korean player to go directly from its top professional league to the majors.
By the way, it’s been explained that Chong Tae-hyon is how it’s spelled in international competitions, but another unofficial spelling variation of his name is Jung Dae-hyun.