The Orioles officially placed Tim Beckham on the disabled list today with a strained left groin and added Jace Peterson to the 25-man roster.
Peterson is in Wednesday’s starting lineup, batting ninth and playing second base against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Beckham, 28, left Monday’s game in the eighth for a pinch-runner because he was struggling to run the bases. He’s reportedly considering his options, including potential surgery, which would put him on the shelf well beyond 10 days.
Beckham was only hitting .179 this season and had played unevenly at third base in his transition from shortstop this season.
But, with starting second baseman Jonathan Schoop (oblique) on the disabled list, Beckham’s flexibility across the infield was important.
Peterson, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees on Tuesday, likely will have to fill a starting role temporarily, probably at second base for now.
The left-handed-hitting Peterson, who turns 28 in May, is a career .234 hitter with a .319 on-base percentage in parts of five big league seasons (386 games) with the San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves and Yankees.
The former first-round supplemental pick (58th overall) by the Padres in 2011, Peterson is a former highly regarded prospect who has a career minor league average of .279 and was a key component of the Padres-Braves’ Justin Upton trade in 2014.
Here’s my take on today’s moves: The Orioles got lucky here despite the unfortunate situation of losing Beckham.
Peterson’s ceiling may be as a mediocre-hitting utility infielder who can also play some outfield. He has a little pop, a little speed and has started at every defensive position in the majors but catcher.
He is what they’ve been looking for since not re-signing long-time utility man Ryan Flaherty, whose absence has loomed large with the injuries to Schoop and Beckham and the ineffectiveness of utility candidates Luis Sardinas, Engelb Vielma and Ruben Tejada.
Utility was supposed to be a hole the Orioles were going to address in the offseason, and they threw Band-Aids at it. They also bumbled the chance to re-sign Flaherty or add Ryan Goins, two players that aren’t flashy, but are useful.
The same can be said of Peterson.
And if the Yankees hadn’t waived him at the same time the Orioles were reeling from the Beckham injury, the Orioles would have had a chasm at second base, given what we’ve seen so far from the potential replacements.
The timing here was crucial — and fortunate for the Orioles.
Who knows what Peterson will be? Chances are he’s a stop-gap find who may help strengthen the bench with his positional versatility when he’s not forced to temporarily start.
Given their situation, the Orioles will take that, no doubt.