BALTIMORE -- The Orioles officially reinstated catcher Taylor Teagarden from the 60-day disabled list prior to Saturday's game, outrighting Ronny Paulino to Triple-A Norfolk to clear room on the roster, and he came up big with a two-run, game-winning homer in the Orioles' 8-6 13-inning win on Saturday.
"It was a nice way to come back," Teagarden said. "I was doing everything I could in the month of June to get back here. Had no timetable, going all the way back to March in terms of what I was dealing with with my back. Obviously things are working out, and I just wanted to come back and contribute and help this team in any way."
Paulino, who already cleared waivers, can elect free agency instead of the assignment and he said he would take a few days to talk things over with his agent before deciding what avenue to take. According to baseball's rules, he will have a 72-hour window to make that decision.
"Ronny had a late start [this Spring]," said manager Buck Showalter. "He's really grasped the [effort required], he takes four at-bats and makes 130 decisions back there. Some nights its 200. I think catching more consistently will help him, too. With Teagarden, the good news is he's healthy and active finally."
Considered a defensive upgrade, the Orioles traded for Teagarden in the offseason with the Texas Rangers and the plan was for him to serve as the backup to Matt Wieters. But Teargarden was slowed with a back injury this Spring that put him on the DL and he was transferred to the 60-day on May 9. He batted .250/.424/.375 in nine rehab games with Gulf Coast, Class A Delmarva and Double-A Bowie -- three games each -- and made his season debut in the 11th inning.
Teagarden struck out in his first at-bat, before connecting for a two-out, two-run shot off Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit in the 13th inning. He is expected to make his first start at catcher in Sunday's series finale against the Tigers.
"I was just excited to be playing in front of this stadium, these fans," Teagarden said of his first game as an Oriole and first Major-League action since August 20. "I've been thinking about this day for a while. It has been somewhat of a grind for me this year, just being in this clubhouse and amongst these guys it means the world right now."
Showalter said the team is hopeful Paulino will accept his assignment and remain in the organization with Norfolk.
"It's tough because you want to be here, you want to be in the big leagues," said Paulino, who hit .254 in 20 games with the Orioles. "But also, you know, I am not playing much here, so to have to go down somewhere and play and get more at-bats and get more opportunities is something I have to think about."