The Baltimore Orioles announced a flurry of minor league signings on Thursday, which included 40-year old knuckleballer Tomo Ohka.
Ohka last pitched in the independent Atlantic League for the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2014. Guess what? He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2009 with the Cleveland Indians.
Ohka was signed by Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette back in 1998. This was when Duquette was the general manager of the Boston Red Sox. Ohka also tried out for the Orioles back in 2013, when he first became a knuckleballer.
Duquette has gotten a few other Orioles to convert to the knuckleball, most notably Eddie Gamboa and Zach Clark. When he was with the Red Sox, the organization had one of the greatest knuckleballers of all-time in Tim Wakefield. The hope seems to be that Ohka may be able to replicate some of that success on the cheap.
Ohka has a career ERA of 4.26 and a record of 51-68.
Rosa slashed .293/.315/.393, hitting nine homers and driving in 65 runs between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk in 2016. As a side note, Rosa is the record holder for games played at Bowie, with 249.
Coyle,24, (by the Boston Red Sox in the 3rd round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft) played for three different minor league teams last year, starting his season in Double-A Arkansas (40 games), then heading back to his original organization (Boston Red Sox). He would go on to play 40 more games with Double-A Portland, then he was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. Coyle batted .181/.269/.293 last season.
Chris Dickerson is a name that rings a bell with Orioles fans. He had a cup of coffee with the organization in 2013, playing in 56 games for Baltimore. He rejoined the organization last season, batting .322/.385/.610 with three home runs, 10 RBI, in 15 games for Bowie.
Dickerson is probably best known by Orioles fans by his celebration with star center fielder, Adam Jones:
It’s about to be a fun year for Baltimore if Dickerson can make it to the Majors.