Orioles Add Hoffmann For Triple-A Depth





BALTIMORE—Always looking to add depth to their farm system, the Orioles signed outfielder Jamie Hoffmann to a minor league deal during the final week of spring training and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk.

The 27-year-old elected free agency after the Rockies designated him for assignment this spring.

"I was looking for teams for about a week and then decided to sign here," he said. "It's a great spot and a good opportunity, and I'm excited to be in camp.

"I've been working out every day. I just haven't seen any live pitching for a week, a week and a half now. But I'm feeling pretty good. Well rested. Let's just put it that way.

"Usually, you're not well rested in spring training, but that's where I am right now."
Hoffmann, who signed with the Dodgers in 2003 as the rare nondrafted free agent out of high school, received cups of coffee with Los Angeles in 2009 and '11, going 4-for-26 (.154) with two doubles.

He batted .297/.356/.497 in 133 games for Triple-A Albuquerque last year, then played in the Venezuelan League before being bed-ridden for three weeks with a stomach virus.

"It caused a lot of stuff in my body, like some arthritis," he said. "I went to camp a couple weeks early and rehabbed, and (the Rockies) got it to where I could run and do things"

Hoffmann and righthander Chris Tillman had an amusing reunion in the Orioles' Sarasota spring-training clubhouse. Their respective high Class A California League teams were involved in a lengthy on-field brawl back in 2007, and Tillman remembered the incident as soon as he introduced himself.

It lasted so long that Tillman said fans stole the players' gloves and caused the game to be postponed.

"We had a little scuffle on the field but nothing really came out of it," Hoffmann said, "except good stories to tell in the clubhouse, tell your buddies, give them a hard time."

BIRD SEED

• High Class A Frederick catcher Brian Ward earned a 50-game suspension after a second violation for a drug of abuse. Last year Ward batted .254/.339/.382 in 104 games.

• The Orioles released righthander Josh Banks, a 2003 second-round pick by the Blue Jays. A native of Severna Park, Md., Banks signed a minor league deal during spring training.