ST. PETERSBURG -- Seeking to bolster their outfield -- while protecting against the risk of losing Nate McLouth -- the Orioles selected McLouth's contract prior to Saturday's 4-0 win over the Rays and started the 30-year-old veteran in left field.
"Nate's been doing well down there [at Triple-A Norfolk]," manager Buck Showalter said of the move, which also involved designating veteran Endy Chavez for assignment. "Endy will end up on his feet shortly. I know [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette] is going to explore some things with him, and we'll go from there.
"Nate, I think everybody was in agreement that we wanted to take a look at him up here and see if he could bring some things. He's been doing well down there. He's obviously an experienced guy and somewhat younger."
McLouth provided an immediate spark, doubling to right-center field in the second inning during his first at-bat with the O's. He scored Baltimore's second run of the game on Nick Markakis' two-out single and finished with a pair of hits in four at-bats.
McLouth signed with the Orioles on June 5, five days after he was let go by the Pirates, and the two sides agreed to push back the outfielder's original opt-out date to Friday at midnight ET. He hit .244 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 47 games at Norfolk and was informed of the promotion on Friday afternoon and joined the team in St. Petersburg later that evening.
"It's a great opportunity," said McLouth, an All-Star and National League Gold Glove Award winner with Pittsburgh in 2008. "I don't know what my role is going to be. Frankly, I'm just looking forward to whatever it's going to be. [I'm] thankful for the opportunity and excited to get started."
An eight-year veteran, McLouth had his best season in 2008, when he hit .276 with 46 doubles, 26 homers, 94 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. He played with Pittsburgh from 2005-09 and spent nearly three seasons with the Braves. He signed with the Pirates this past offseason and hit .140 in 57 at-bats before being designated for assignment and later released.
"I started off kind of rough," McLouth said of his time with Norfolk. "Rough in the sense that I just wasn't getting any hits. I felt comfortable; I have felt comfortable in my approach, especially the last month. ... I just got to a point where I detached my feelings from the result of the at-bat and just focused on the process of the at-bat. And I think that's the best way to go. I'm really comfortable with where I'm at."
"Nate McLouth was going to be in the big leagues today or tomorrow with somebody," added Showalter. "We had been asked about him. We feel like with [Triple-A manager] Ron Johnson down there and [bench coach] John Russell's knowledge of Nate and our knowledge where Endy was and what have you, we wanted to take a look at him."
Chavez batted just .190 with a .222 on-base percentage in 47 games this season with Baltimore, his fourth club since 2008. The 34-year-old tallied two home runs and eight RBIs in 121 at-bats and twice landed on the disabled list.
The Orioles are exploring potential trades for Chavez, given that if he clears waivers it's unlikely he would consent to playing at Triple-A.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.