Cubs claim RHP Miguel Socolovich from Baltimore

The Chicago Cubs today claimed right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. To make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Blake Lalli was designated for assignment.

Socolovich, 26, has spent a majority of this season with Triple-A Norfolk, going 4-0 with two saves and a 1.90 ERA (11 ER/52.0 IP) in 28 relief appearances. He struck out 52 hitters in 52.0 innings of work, compared to 14 walks, and limited the opposition to a .179 batting average (33-for-184). Socolovich was named an International League mid-season All-Star, having posted a 1.77 ERA (9 ER/45.2 IP) in 24 games prior to the Triple-A All-Star break.

Socolovich was a non-roster invitee to major league Spring Training this season, and had his contract purchased by the Orioles, July 14. In three stints with Baltimore, he had no record with a 6.97 ERA (8 ER/10.1 IP) in six relief appearances. He was designated for assignment, August 14.

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Socolovich is 36-27 with a 3.71 ERA (204 ER/494.2 IP) in 223 career minor league games (44 starts) since he was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Boston Red Sox in January of 2004. He has struck out 427 batters and issued just 205 walks in 494.2 innings pitched.

Acquired by the White Sox from Boston in a three-player deal, January 28, 2008, Socolovich was named a Southern League mid-season All-Star in 2010 for Double-A Birmingham. That year, he produced a 3.33 ERA (29 ER/78.1 IP) in 51 games between Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.

Socolovich spent the majority of last season with Charlotte, going 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA (21 ER/48.0 IP) in 29 games, including two starts. He struck out 63 hitters in 48.0 innings, good for an average of 11.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.

Lalli, 29, made his major league debut with the Cubs this season, hitting .133 (2-for-15) with two RBI in six games. Originally signed by Chicago as a non-drafted free agent, May 22, 2006, Lalli is batting .257 (76-for-296) with 19 doubles, seven home runs and 40 RBI in 91 games for Triple-A Iowa this year.