BALTIMORE -- The Orioles officially reinstated catcher Taylor Teagarden from the 60-day disabled list prior to Saturday's game, outrighting Ronny Paulino to Triple-A Norfolk to clear room on the roster, and he came up big with a two-run, game-winning homer in the Orioles' 8-6 13-inning win on Saturday.
"It was a nice way to come back," Teagarden said. "I was doing everything I could in the month of June to get back here. Had no timetable, going all the way back to March in terms of what I was dealing with with my back. Obviously things are working out, and I just wanted to come back and contribute and help this team in any way."
Paulino, who already cleared waivers, can elect free agency instead of the assignment and he said he would take a few days to talk things over with his agent before deciding what avenue to take. According to baseball's rules, he will have a 72-hour window to make that decision.
"Ronny had a late start [this Spring]," said manager Buck Showalter. "He's really grasped the [effort required], he takes four at-bats and makes 130 decisions back there. Some nights its 200. I think catching more consistently will help him, too. With Teagarden, the good news is he's healthy and active finally."
Considered a defensive upgrade, the Orioles traded for Teagarden in the offseason with the Texas Rangers and the plan was for him to serve as the backup to Matt Wieters. But Teargarden was slowed with a back injury this Spring that put him on the DL and he was transferred to the 60-day on May 9. He batted .250/.424/.375 in nine rehab games with Gulf Coast, Class A Delmarva and Double-A Bowie -- three games each -- and made his season debut in the 11th inning.
Teagarden struck out in his first at-bat, before connecting for a two-out, two-run shot off Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit in the 13th inning. He is expected to make his first start at catcher in Sunday's series finale against the Tigers.
"I was just excited to be playing in front of this stadium, these fans," Teagarden said of his first game as an Oriole and first Major-League action since August 20. "I've been thinking about this day for a while. It has been somewhat of a grind for me this year, just being in this clubhouse and amongst these guys it means the world right now."
Showalter said the team is hopeful Paulino will accept his assignment and remain in the organization with Norfolk.
"It's tough because you want to be here, you want to be in the big leagues," said Paulino, who hit .254 in 20 games with the Orioles. "But also, you know, I am not playing much here, so to have to go down somewhere and play and get more at-bats and get more opportunities is something I have to think about."
Hammel considering surgery on injured knee
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are expected to place right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel on the disabled list on Sunday, with the 29-year-old saying following Saturday's game against the Tigers that he is "leaning toward" surgery on his right knee that would likely sideline him until September.
"Honestly, I just want my knee to feel normal again," said Hammel, who exited Friday's start in the fourth inning and had an MRI on Saturday. "So, I'm kind of leaning toward surgery, but I haven't made that decision yet.
"[The decision has] got to be soon because I don't want to miss too much time. It's a pretty simple procedure to go in there and just let it be scoped. I could let it rest, and it could be fine that way, but it would be better just to get it taken care of."
Hammel said the MRI showed no further damage, but cartilage -- which would be removed in a procedure -- has moved to an area that is up against the joint and is causing him discomfort every time his bends his knee.
Losing Hammel for any length of time would be devastating for the Orioles and their already-shaky rotation. A Final Vote All-Star candidate, Hammel has been the team's best starter, entering Friday's game 8-5 with a 3.47 ERA, and has been one of two dependable rotation arms, along with Wei-Yin Chen.
"I feel like I am letting the guys down if I miss starts," said Hammel, who has been a pleasant surprise in his first season with Baltimore. "I want to be part of this. It's tough, because my body is letting me down right now and I feel so good. A lot of hard work to get where we are right now. It is what it is.
"If something does happen [surgically], the other guys are going to step up. It'll be an opportunity for somebody else. And as soon as I can come back and help the team, I am going to do that."
The leading candidate to take Hammel's next turn on Wednesday is lefty Brian Matusz, who is fresh off a complete-game shutout for Triple-A Norfolk. Matusz, who is currently scheduled to pitch Sunday for the Tides, went 5-10 with a 5.42 ERA in 16 starts for the Orioles before being sent to the Minors.
"We'll probably make a decision tomorrow, especially if we have to bring up an arm," manager Buck Showalter said of putting Hammel on the DL.
Gonzalez to start Sunday, giving Tillman extra day
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have decided to flip starters Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman, with Gonzalez pitching Sunday's series finale to give Tillman, who had a back spasm on Thursday, an extra day.
"He can probably pitch the [original] day," manager Buck Showalter said of Tillman, who threw for Double-A Bowie on Monday. "But it also keeps the ball in Gonzalez's hand instead of waiting another day, just to be on the safe side."
Gonzalez last pitched Friday, July 6, making his first Major League start in memorable fashion. The 28-year-old tossed seven dominant innings against the Angels to earn a spot in the rotation and will now face Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
Tillman also fared well in his season debut, holding the Mariners to two unearned runs on two hits over 8 1/3 innings. He also struck out seven and is expected to be recalled from the Minors for Monday's start in Minnesota.
Orioles designate Eveland for assignment
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles designated pitcher Dana Eveland for assignment prior to Saturday's game, selecting the contract of right-hander Miguel Socolovich, who made his Major League debut in the 10th inning, in his place.
The move ensured lefty Zach Britton will make Tuesday's start -- Eveland had been the only other option -- and added a fresh arm to the bullpen in Socolovich, who allowed a run over 1 2/3 innings in the O's 8-6 13-inning win.
"He's arguably been [Triple-A manager Ron Johnson's] best pitcher all year long," manager Buck Showalter said of Socolovich, who pitched to a 1.77 ERA in 24 games at Triple-A Norfolk and had a 1-2-3 10th against Detroit. "We've been trying to figure out a way to get him here. It could be tough to keep him here, too. We've got so many [roster] moves we have to make."
Socolovich has allowed 11 runs (nine earned) on 29 hits and 11 walks over 45 2/3 innings, totaling 50 strikeouts in an impressive run for the Tides. He could be used as the team's long reliever for now, although Showalter hasn't really been one to have defined roles for most of his bullpen.
As for Eveland, he has been placed on waivers and the team will find out on Monday if he clears. He has already cleared waivers once this year, at the end of Spring Training. He is expected to accept an assignment to Norfolk if he is not claimed by another team. Eveland could refuse, but would forfeit a pretty significant chunk of his salary in doing so.
"The team's been scuffling a little bit and they feel like they've got to make some moves. Unfortunately, I was the odd man out," said Eveland, who went 0-1 with a 4.73 ERA in 14 games. "I don't feel like I really threw the ball poorly, obviously last night wasn't my best effort, unfortunately. Other than that, I feel like I've done a pretty decent job up here, not really filling in the role I expected to. And didn't get used in as much length as I thought I would be out of the bullpen, but I don't know. Who knows what's going to happen now."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.