Orioles minor leaguer Givens likely will be converted to mound

SportsBaseballJ.J. HardyAdrian Marin

The Orioles placed Delmarva shortstop Mychal Givens on the inactive list Wednesday for an unspecified reason. Givens, who has also been dealing with some elbow soreness, could be back before the Shorebirds' season ends Sept. 3 in West Virginia.

But it's possible the second-round pick in the 2009 draft has played his last game as an infielder in the Orioles' organization.

Don't be surprised if he ends up as a pitcher next year. That's the plan for now.

Givens, now 22, consistently threw 96 mph as a high schooler in Tampa, but the Orioles selected him to play shortstop. And they gave him the opportunity for three seasons.

It hasn't gone particularly well. After hitting just .195 at Low-A Delmarva last year and getting a demotion to Short-A Aberdeen, Givens has spent the entire 2012 season back at Delmarva. He has hit .243 with a .330 on-base percentage and a .306 slugging percentage in 100 games.

He hasn't exhibited the ability to hit in pro ball, his defense has been spotty and the Orioles appear set at shortstop, with J.J. Hardy signed through 2014, 20-year-old Manny Machado already in the majors at third base and Jonathan Schoop and Adrian Marin as future possibilities.

So now the Orioles are looking to convert Givens to the mound. That process could begin as early as Sept. 12, when the instructional league begins in Sarasota. Although his transition could be delayed until the organization is convinced his elbow is 100 percent. Still, the Orioles want to see if he can regain his high school form.

In what were contentious negotiations that went into the 11th hour, the Orioles gave Givens, the 54th overall pick, an $800,000 signing bonus. It was the same draft in which they selected right-handed pitcher Matt Hobgood with the fifth overall pick and paid him $2.42 million. Hobgood struggled initially as a pro and then was lost for all of 2012 due to shoulder surgery.

No one from that Orioles' 2009 draft has made the majors; 13th rounder Ty Kelly, an infielder, has advanced the farthest, playing at Triple-A Norfolk briefly this year.

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