Lost in the shuffle: Steve Lombardozzi
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Throughout the entirety of any given baseball season, a Major League ball club will see players brought up from the Minors, sent down to the Minors, traded, put on waivers, claimed off waivers and everything in between. The Baltimore Orioles organization is no exception to that. And unfortunately, Steve Lombardozzi was one of those players who got lost in the shuffle during the 2014 season.
Just a few days before Opening Day of the 2014 season, the Tigers traded Lombardozzi to the Orioles in exchange for infielder, Alex Gonzalez.
On April 3rd, Lombardozzi suited up as an Oriole for the first time as he got the start at second base for Baltimore. He went 1-3 with a single as the Birds dropped the game to the Red Sox by a score of 6-2.
He proceeded to bat .292/.301/.333 with two RBI in 19 games played. In a time when the Orioles were having a rough time stringing multiple wins together, Lombardozzi seemed to string hitting streaks together with easy.
Given the duty to be the Orioles’ big league second baseman, Lombardozzi was not spectacular with his glove, but he did make all the routine plays. In 160 2/3 innings, Lombardozzi turned 14 double plays and only committed one error.
However, when Manny Machado was ready to make his 2014 debut after rehabbing from a horrific knee injury the season prior, Lombardozzi got the boot as he was sent down to Triple-A ball to make room on the roster for the returning Machado.
Everyone thought the move of sending Lombardozzi down to the Minors was only going to be temporary until another roster spot opened up. Yet, as the season wore on, he remained with the Norfolk Tides in Triple-A.
This was his first time in the Minors since 2011. He played well though. In 78 games with the Minor League team, he batted .270/.307/.311 with 30 RBI and 10 extra-base hits. Later in the summer, Lombardozzi was moved from playing second base to the outfield defensively. Rumors that this move was made because the Orioles wanted to bring him back up to the Majors as an outfielder swirled around the Internet.
However, that never happened and Lombardozzi never rejoined the team after his final game in 2014 as an Oriole on May 24th. He will have much to prove come this spring in order to ensure a spot on the 2015 Orioles’ roster.