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Orioles Claim Anthony Castro, Designate Phoenix Sanders

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The Orioles announced that right-hander Anthony Castro has been claimed off waivers from the Guardians, and subsequently optioned to Triple-A. Right-hander Phoenix Sanders was designated for assignment in a corresponding move. In addition, Baltimore outrighted infielder Richie Martin to Triple-A, as Martin cleared waivers after being designated earlier this week.

Castro has pitched in each of the last three MLB seasons, all with different teams — the Tigers in 2020, the Blue Jays in 2021, and the Guardians in 2022. Cleveland acquired Castro from Toronto for Bradley Zimmer back in April, and Castro ended up posting a 7.43 ERA over 13 1/3 relief innings in the majors.

Within that small sample size, Castro issued 10 walks and allowed five home runs. Control has been a persistent problem for Castro throughout his nine pro seasons, although at least at the minor league level, Castro has been able to mitigate a lot of those free passes due to some solid strikeout rates and grounder rates that routinely sit above the 50 %threshold. Over 596 1/3 minor league innings, Castro has a 3.47 ERA.

Between these decent numbers and a mid-90s fastball, Castro drew the Orioles’ interest, and he’ll now provide some extra bullpen depth for the surprise contenders. He’ll take the place of Sanders, who was himself a waiver claim off the Rays roster less than two weeks ago.

Sanders has yet to see any Major League action with the Orioles, so his big league resume consists of the 14 2/3 innings he tossed for Tampa Bay earlier this season. The 27-year-old’s first taste of the Show resulted in a very respectable 3.07 ERA. Pitching mostly as a reliever during his career, Sanders posted a 3.46 ERA and a 29.55% strikeout rate over 260 innings in the minor leagues.

However, his work at Triple-A this year has been a struggle, with Sanders delivering only a 6.19 ERA over 32 frames. Some back problems could be partially responsible, or perhaps Sanders had trouble adjusting to his first time being shuttled up and down between the minors and the Rays’ roster. Given his past track record, it would seem possible that another club might grab Sanders in yet another waiver claim.