Cubs claim Socolovich, Orioles change plans with Berken (and note)

The Orioles announced this afternoon that the Chicago Cubs claimed reliever Miguel Socolovich off waivers. They designated him for assignment nine days ago to make room for left-hander J.C. Romero on the 40-man roster.

The Cubs optioned Socolovich to Triple-A Iowa.

Socolovich posted a 1.90 ERA in 28 games at Triple-A Norfolk and was named to the International League All-Star team. However, he registered a 6.97 ERA in six appearances and 10 1/3 innings with the Orioles during two stints with the club.

Not long ago, manager Buck Showalter told reporters that Jason Berken was being moved to the bullpen at Norfolk to limit his innings in case the Orioles called him up in September. He wouldn’t be much use to them if he showed up with nothing left in the tank.

Berken was, indeed, removed from the Tides’ rotation, but he never made a relief appearance and he’s again listed as one of their five starters. He’s scheduled to take the mound Friday night in Durham.

Norfolk has used 25 different starters this season. Zach Petersime allowed them to tie the International League record on Saturday, and he’s on the hill again tonight.

Petersime is a 45th-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft who made 17 relief appearances last summer with short-season Single-A Aberdeen. He hadn’t started since 2010 with rookie-league Bluefield, which no longer is an Orioles affiliate.

Manager Ron Johnson is challenged to piece together a rotation with Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Steve Johnson in Baltimore and Brian Matusz converting to a reliever. He’s using Petersime tonight, Berken on Friday, Zach Clark (UMBC) on Saturday, Dana Eveland on Sunday and Jake Arrieta on Monday.

Berken has allowed seven earned runs over his last four starts covering 25 innings. He’s 4-5 with a 3.45 ERA in 24 starts, walking 38 and striking out 93 in 133 innings.

Berken threw 62 1/3 relief innings with the Orioles in 2010 and a combined 65 innings with the Orioles and Norfolk last season.

NOTE: Ryan Flaherty isn’t in Norfolk’s lineup tonight. He could be getting a night off or the Orioles could be ready to activate him from the disabled list and return to a four-man bench.

Since starting his rehab assignment 0-for-15, Flaherty has batted .478 (11-for-23) with two home
runs, three RBIs and five runs scored. He’s played first base, second base, third base, left field and right field in nine games.

LJ Hoes also is out of the lineup. My colleague, Steve Melewski, wrote yesterday that Hoes was dealing with a family situation and would miss a few games.

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