Orioles claim Osich, Escobar reports to camp

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles made another waiver claim this afternoon, selecting Josh Osich from the Giants, while also adding a fifth left-handed reliever to their 40-man roster.

Osich, 30, joins Richard Bleier, Tanner Scott, Paul Fry and Donnie Hart. Non-roster southpaws Sean Gilmartin and Chris Lee also are in camp.

Infielder Hanser Alberto has been designated for assignment to make room for Osich on the 40-man roster. The Orioles claimed Alberto off waivers from the Yankees last month.

Osich-Pitch-Giants-sidebar.jpgThe Giants selected Osich in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of Oregon State University and he’s registered a 5.01 ERA and 1.529 WHIP in 160 relief appearances spread over four seasons. Left-handers have posted a .228 average against him and right-handers have hit .294.

Osich allowed 11 runs and 20 hits with seven walks last summer in 12 innings. He had a 6.15 ERA and 1.632 WHIP in 37 games with Triple-A Sacramento.

Possessing a mid-90s fastball and three secondary pitches, Osich posted a 2.20 ERA as a rookie in 35 appearances. However, it’s climbed to 4.71, 6.23 and 8.25 over the past three seasons.

Infielder Alcides Escobar reported to camp today and took his physical. He should be ready for workouts Wednesday morning, making Alberto expendable in a camp that also includes Rule 5 shortstops Richie Martin and Drew Jackson.

Escobar, 32, agreed to a minor league deal that pays $700,000 if he’s in the majors.

“I’m happy to be here,” he said. “This is a new opportunity. This is a young team. I’m coming here to compete for a spot. I can play every position on the infield.

“It was very difficult to pick one team first, because I’m looking for the team that has more chances to play, and the Orioles were the best team.”

Escobar spent the past eight seasons with the Royals and was on the 2014 team that swept the Orioles in the American League Championship Series. Chris Davis is the only Oriole remaining from the division winner and he didn’t play against the Royals while serving his suspension.

“I remember that year like it was yesterday,” Escobar said. “Davis is the only guy they have right now. And that was the best I played in my life.

“Playing in the World Series is the best for any player. Every player in the big leagues wants to play in the World Series. And last year I played on a rebuilding team in Kansas City. That was a different team, and now I’ve come to a new team.”

Escobar brings durability and versatility to the Orioles. He appeared in 162 games in three of the past five seasons and last year made 104 starts at shortstop, 27 at third base, two at second base and six in center field.

“If they give me an opportunity to play a lot on this team,” he said, “I’m ready to play 162 games.”

The 11-year veteran said he’s fine with serving in a utility role if that’s how the Orioles use him, though he’s also competing for a starting job in the infield. He had no issues with bouncing around last season.

“For me, that’s normal,” he said. “I never played center field and I played there last year and I felt comfortable. And I played second base and third base and it was the same thing.”

Escobar also can provide leadership to an inexperienced team. And with a sense of humor.

“Yeah, I can teach younger players and help everybody in here,” he said. “I’m young, too. I’m only 32.”

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