Orioles put in waiver claim on Willingham

BOSTON - In their continuing search for a right-handed hitter, the Orioles have put in a waiver claim on Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, an industry source confirmed late tonight.

The Orioles are attempting to work out a trade for Willingham, 34, who's batting .215/.347/.391 with 19 doubles, 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 88 games.

He's a career .257/.360/.475 hitter with 179 homers in 10 major league seasons with the Marlins, Nationals, Athletics and Twins.

Willingham is signed through the 2014 season, adding to his appeal. He wouldn't be a rental for the Orioles, who are attempting to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season after a 14-year drought.

The Orioles didn't express much interest in Willingham before he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Twins prior to the 2012 season. Now, they're trying to add him to their lineup.

The Orioles have 48 hours to complete a trade with the Twins, who can pull Willingham off waivers if talks break down.

Willingham will earn $7 million next season.

A right-handed bat has been a priority for the Orioles, and Willingham's ability to play the outfield is a bonus. Steve Pearce currently is the Orioles' fourth outfielder.

Willingham had a career-high 35 homers and 110 RBIs last season, but he's been bothered by a left knee injury this year that required arthroscopic surgery on July 3. He didn't rejoin the Twins until 37 days after the procedure.

The Orioles also have talked to the Twins about first baseman Justin Morneau, but he hits from the left side and hasn't been as high up on their list.

The Sun first reported the waiver claim on Willingham.

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