To make room for outfielder Xavier Avery on their 25- and 40-man rosters, the Orioles have optioned reliever Stu Pomeranz back to Triple-A Norfolk and designated infielder Matt Antonelli for assignment.
Pomeranz is somewhat of a surprise, especially since he's thrown four scoreless innings in two relief appearances -- and seemed a natural fit for the bullpen's absent long-relief role -- since his arrival a week ago.
Antonelli, a former first-round draft pick of the Padres in 2006, has been struggling at Norfolk, hitting .204/.357/.280 with four doubles, one homer and seven RBIs in 29 games. He was signed by the Orioles on November 21 to try out for the club's utility bench position, which went to Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty.
Avery is making his major league debut today, hitting leadoff and playing left field.