Trade to Padres a boon for Salazar

Trade to Padres a boon for Salazar

SAN DIEGO -- It was exactly 11 months ago when then-Orioles infielder Oscar Salazar was given the news: Baltimore had traded him in exchange for Padres sidearmer Cla Meredith. While he admitted there was a multitude of emotions at the time, Salazar -- speaking prior to Saturday's game -- could only remember one: excitement.

"I was happy for myself [and] happy for [the Orioles], because they made the right move," Salazar said.

"It was the best move for myself that they traded me to the National League. We've been playing good baseball lately [in San Diego]. It's kind of all for a reason. It's been good."

A utility man, Salazar has proved to be a productive bat off the bench for the Padres. He entered Saturday batting .288 (17-for-59) over his last 31 games and drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the 10th inning of the June 6 game at Philadelphia. Salazar blasted a pinch-hit, three-run homer in a June 12 game against Seattle and said he's grateful for the opportunity afforded to him in San Diego.

"I have more of a chance to play in the National League," Salazar said. "So, I just keep trying to do what I can do to help out and stay in the big leagues."

Salazar keeps in frequent contact with Orioles shortstop Cesar Izturis and is aware of the struggles his former club is dealing with. The O's entered Saturday with losses in 18 of their previous 21 games and were a Major League-worst 18-49.

"[Izturis] says they have to put everything together, they have to do all the right things at once," Salazar said. "He knows they need to play good baseball in their situation. And it's tough right now."

It's been equally tough for Salazar's trade counterpart, Meredith. The right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk following the May 28 game and has continued to struggle in the Minor Leagues. In his first four appearances with the Tides, Meredith has allowed seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings, giving way to a 17.18 ERA.