Independent Analysis Leads Orioles To Boleska





BALTIMORE—The Orioles' increased scouting presence in the independent leagues led them to righthander Tom Boleska, signed in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft during the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

Boleska, 26, was selected by the Pirates in the 35th round of the 2007 draft out of High Point. The Orioles scouted him in 2012 while he pitched for Fargo-Moorhead of the American Association, where he went 2-1, 1.76 in 46 relief innings. Boleska allowed 37 hits, walked 11 and struck out 58 over his 46 appearances. That was good enough for the Orioles, who grabbed him from the Twins.

"We've seen him in independent ball," Orioles assistant director of scouting and player development Mike Snyder said. "This continues our pursuit in the independent leagues. We also saw him at Germany at the (World Baseball Classic) qualifiers. Little bit of our international program showing through there, too.

"(His) fastball is 90 to 95 miles an hour, sitting somewhere in the low 90s. Also throws a curveball and slider. Has a good repertoire and we like his stuff."
With the Pirates, Boleska reached Double-A Altoona and went 9-9, 2.73 with 12 saves in five seasons. He added 154 strikeouts and 48 walks in 191 innings.

The Twins signed Boleska out of Fargo but left him unprotected in the Rule 5. The Orioles will decide whether to assign him to Double-A Bowie or Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles have been mining the independent Atlantic League, American Association and Frontier League, hoping to unearth a gem.

"It's a bit of an untapped market and we're really just trying to pursue any avenue we can to pursue every player possible," Snyder said.

BIRD SEED

• The Orioles signed outfielder Adam Greenberg to a minor league contract that does not include a spring training invitation. Greenberg signed a one-day contract with the Marlins on Oct. 2 and struck out as a pinch-hitter in his first at-bat since being beaned on the first pitch thrown to him in the majors while playing for the Cubs in 2005.

• The Orioles also signed first baseman Travis Ishikawa and lefthanders Daniel Schlereth and Zach Braddock to minor league deals. Ishikawa, 29, hit .257/.329/.428 in 94 games with the Brewers in 2012. Schlereth, 26, posted a 10.29 ERA in seven innings with the Tigers. Braddock, 25, went 1-3, 4.41 in 51 innings for Milwaukee in 2010-11.