PHOENIX — A little over a year after the Orioles said goodbye to Jorge López, the right-handed reliever returns.

Baltimore claimed López off waivers from the Miami Marlins on Saturday, creating an odd symmetry of roster moves since the Orioles traded López to the Minnesota Twins at the 2022 deadline. With that deal, right-hander Félix Bautista took over López’s closer role. Now that Bautista is out with an ulnar collateral ligament injury, López returns — although his exact role is yet to be known.

To make room for López on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated right-hander Logan Gillaspie for assignment. As López has yet to report to the Orioles, no 28-man roster move has been made.

And, because López was added to the 40-man roster after the Aug. 31 deadline, he’s ineligible to play for Baltimore in the postseason. But he could offer a lift to get the Orioles there.

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In hindsight, the trade that sent López to the Twins looks more one-sided than ever. Baltimore acquired right-hander Yennier Cano as part of the deal, and Cano has blossomed into an All-Star relief pitcher. López struggled in Minnesota and required a stint on the injured list to address his mental health before he was traded to Miami.

Now, the Orioles have each piece of the initial trade in their system: López, Cano and minor league pitchers Juan Nuñez, Juan Rojas and Cade Povich.

López was an All-Star for Baltimore in 2022, recording 19 saves with a 1.68 ERA before he was dealt. For Minnesota, his 2022 ERA increased to 4.37, and this year between the Twins and Marlins he holds a 6.13 ERA.

There’s no guarantee López returns to the form he had while with the Orioles, but in a push toward the postseason bullpen reinforcements are always welcome. And, as a known commodity, López is even more welcome.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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