Orioles add first baseman Aubrey
Former first-round Draft pick surprised by opportunity
ST. PETERSBURG -- Michael Aubrey arrived in the Orioles' visiting clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon looking as conspicuously as a new callup could be.
He was trying to get acquainted with his new teammates and get his uniform set before batting practice began at Tropicana Field. All the while, he was taking personal items out of an equipment bag with a Cleveland Indians logo on it.
Same level, wrong team. Aubrey will get a new one shortly.
Less than two months after the former first-round Draft pick was traded from the Indians to the Orioles, Aubrey was called up from Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday. The first baseman fills the roster spot vacated by Aubrey Huff, who was traded to Detroit on Monday.
The 27-year-old Aubrey, the No. 11 pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft by Cleveland, was hitting .290 with 29 doubles and 52 RBIs combined between Norfolk and Triple-A Columbus. He was acquired by the Orioles on June 24 for a player to be named later.
"It was a surprise," Aubrey said of his promotion. "I think any time you get an opportunity like this, it comes as a surprise. I guess, initially, you get mixed feelings, but at the same time, you're excited to get out there and play and see what you can do."
Aubrey was not in the starting lineup on Tuesday, but Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said he expects Aubrey to be in the mix at first base. His scouting report describes him as a good defensive player and a strong contact hitter who hits left-handed pitching well.
"He's here, he's a left-handed hitter, he plays first base and he DHs," Trembley said. "We'll have to get him the lineup accordingly, and go from there."
With the Huff trade, an opening is left at first base for some young players, like Aubrey, to get an opportunity to show what they can do. Trembley said he will give Luke Scott a look at the position. On Tuesday, Ty Wigginton got the nod. Aubrey could see significant playing time if he performs.
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters played against Aubrey in different stints while in the Minor Leagues.
"He's a big, strong guy," Wieters said. "He's got a lot of power from the left side, which, in this league, you can hit some home runs as a left-handed hitter. I think I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do."
Aubrey was informed of the promotion before batting practice while his Norfolk team was in Charlotte on Monday. He immediately flew to meet his new teammates at Tropicana Field.
Aubrey played in 15 games for the Indians last year, said this season has been a whirlwind, flipping through different clubhouses at various pro levels. But to be back in the big leagues, with an opportunity to play, is a great feeling for him.
"This is what you play for," Aubrey said. "You play to play in the big leagues, and you do everything you can to get to the big leagues. Now that you're in, you have to do what you can to stay and make people believe you belong."
Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.