Free agent reliever Troy Patton, who spent this season with the Orioles and Padres, has been suspended 80 games by MLB following a positive amphetamine test.
That length of suspension means this is the third such positive test for Patton, because the first test is a warning and the second test is a 25-game suspension which he served at the beginning of the year.
He had a nice three-year run in the Orioles’ bullpen from 2011-2013, throwing 142 innings with a 3.05 ERA and 113/33 K/BB ratio, but Patton struggled this season and was traded to the Padres in May for Nick Hundley. San Diego dropped him from the 40-man roster in September.
His previous positive test was for Adderall, which many players use thanks to exemptions granted by MLB. Orioles slugger Chris Davis was suspended after failing to renew his exemption.
The Orioles declined their $5 million club option on catcher Nick Hundley on Thursday, but they are still interested in bringing him back, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports. They didn’t like the $5 million price tag for a back-up catcher, so they’ll work to re-sign Hundley at a lower price.
In the event the Orioles and Hundley can’t reach an agreement, they will still have Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger as options to back up Matt Wieters in 2015.
The Orioles acquired Hundley in a May trade, sending reliever Troy Patton to the Padres in return. In 174 plate appearances with the O’s, Hundley hit .233/.273/.352 with five home runs and 19 RBI.
Per the Padres official Twitter, the team has recalled IF/OF Tommy Medica from Triple-A El Paso and designated pitchers Blaine Boyer and Billy Buckner for assignment. The Padres recently acquired lefty reliever Troy Patton from the Orioles in the Nick Hundley trade, so they needed to clear up a roster spot.
Medica, 26, posted a .734 OPS in 101 plate appearances in the minors. He has already spent some time with the Padres at the big league level, slashing .161/.212/.290 in 33 plate appearances.
Boyer, 32, tossed a pair of scoreless innings in the majors while compiling a 3.32 ERA with a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings with El Paso.
Buckner, 30, allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in Saturday’s spot start against the Cubs and posted a 2.89 ERA in five starts spanning 28 innings with El Paso.
Boyer and Buckner can each become free agents if they pass through waivers.
With Matt Wieters a lingering question mark due to an elbow injury, the Orioles have acquired catcher Nick Hundley and cash considerations from the Padres in exchange for left-hander Troy Patton.
Hundley was hitting .271 (16-for-59) with one home run and three RBI in 33 games with the Padres this season while serving as Yasmani Grandal’s backup. The 30-year-old owns a .238/.296/.389 batting line in the majors and figures to get the bulk of the playing time over Steve Clevenger in Baltimore. He’s being paid $4 million this season and his contract includes a $5 million club option for next year.
Patton, 28, sat out the first 25 games this season while serving a suspension for Adderall use. He has a 3.28 ERA over 161 2/3 innings in the majors and will presumably function as a left-handed specialist with his new club.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Orioles are actively listening to offers on left-handed reliever Troy Patton. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Orioles are also aggressively pursuing a back-up catcher.
Matt Wieters has been dealing with an elbow issue and figures to continue serving as the team’s DH as long as that issue takes to clear up. Steve Clevenger and Caleb Joseph have split the time behind the dish but the Orioles would like a more reliable back-up in the mix.
Patton, 28, has posted a 3.05 ERA with 115 strikeouts and 34 walks in 144 2/3 innings since joining the Orioles’ bullpen in 2010.