SARASOTA, Fla. - With third baseman Manny Machado set to begin the season on the disabled list, the Orioles made a move this morning to bring in another infielder who can play multiple positions and perhaps start at second on opening day.
Lombardozzi, a Fulton native who attended Atholton High School, has played second base, shortstop, third and the outfield. He’s a career .264/.297/.342 hitter in three seasons with the Nationals, who selected him in the 19th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Primarily a second baseman, the switch-hitting Lombardozzi is a candidate to start at second while Ryan Flaherty moves to third base as Machado’s replacement.
Lombardozzi was 9-for-39 with five RBIs in 14 games with the Tigers this spring. He also was 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts.
The Orioles will have to make a corresponding 40-man roster move for Lombardozzi, who batted .259/.278/.338 with 15 doubles, two homers and 22 RBIs in 118 games with the Nats last season. He’s the son of Steve Lombardozzi Sr., a member of the Twins’ 1987 world championship team.
Gonzalez, signed to a minor league deal on Feb. 1., was 12-for-28 with two homers and six RBIs in 12 games this spring. The Tigers are looking for a replacement for shortstop Jose Iglesias, who’s expected to miss four to six months with stress fractures in both legs.
The Baltimore Sun first reported that Gonzalez was dealt to the Tigers.
Update: The Orioles just confirmed the trade.
To make room for Lombardozzi on the 40-man roster, catcher Johnny Monell has been designated for assignment.
Monell was 5-for-18 with one home run and six RBIs in 11 spring games. He was competing with Steve Clevenger for the backup job before the Orioles optioned him.
Lombardozzi has made 102 major league appearances at second base, 64 in left field, 20 at third base and two at shortstop.