With Wieters questionable, Orioles needed catching depth

With Wieters questionable, Orioles needed catching depth
May 24, 2014, 1:15 pm
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(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

BALTIMORE – The Orioles are obviously worried about Matt Wieters. Wieters is on the disabled list with a right elbow injury and if the elbow doesn’t get better soon, he’ll have to undergo surgery.

The Orioles are protecting themselves in case Wieters misses the rest of the season by acquiring veteran catcher Nick Hundley from San Diego in exchange for left-handed pitcher Troy Patton.

Hundley batted .271 with a home run and three RBIs in 33 games for the Padres this season. Last year, he hit 13 home runs and drove in 44 runs. In seven seasons, all with San Diego, the 30-year-old Hundley has a .238 average.

In his career, Hundley has thrown out 28 percent of baserunners trying to steal. This year, all nine to run on him have been successful.

Hundley will join Steve Clevenger, who has been a valuable addition, and played creditably in Wieters’ absence. The Orioles had been looking for another veteran in place of rookie Caleb Joseph, who was just 1-for-20.

Joseph had scant experience above Double-A before this year, and the Orioles were pleased with his progress, but needed a more experienced hand.

Patton fell out of favor after last December’s suspension when he tested positive for amphetamines. After missing the first 25 games of the season, Patton threw well at first, but allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings in his last two outings.

The Orioles have Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and now T.J. McFarland as left-handers in the bullpen.

Hundley’s was a pricey acquisition. He’s making $4 million with a $5 million team option for next season.

The Orioles had looked for catching depth during the spring, and talked to a number of teams since Wieters’ injury.

[RELATED: Orioles recall McFarland for third time this season]