O's send Zaun to Rays, call up Moeller

O's send Zaun to Rays, call up Moeller

TORONTO -- The Orioles announced Friday that catcher Gregg Zaun has been traded to the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later. Chad Moeller has been called up from Triple-A Norfolk to take Zaun's place.

"Zaun did a very nice job in his tenure here," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "I thought it was very well laid out for him what his role was when he came in. He came in to mentor [rookie catcher Matt] Wieters and also a lot of the young pitchers that we have here."

After signing a one-year contract with Baltimore with a team option for 2010, Zaun batted .244 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 56 games for the Orioles this season.

The Rays claimed Zaun off waivers, and the teams worked out a deal to send him to Tampa Bay.

"I think this does a couple of things," Trembley said. "It allows Zaun to go to a contending team and to help them, and I think it also signals and signifies the progress and the emergence of Wieters. It will allow him to play maybe more as we go down the last couple of months of the season. Now everybody feels he's ready for it."

Moeller, who will replace Zaun as the team's backup catcher, began the season with the Orioles, batting .200 in 15 games before being sent down to Triple-A Norfolk at the end of May, when Wieters was called up.

"We all know what Moeller can do," Trembley said. "Moeller is a guy that has been a professional, takes a lot of pride in working with young pitchers [and] young catchers, so he'll fill that role that Zaun had."

Zaun, who also played for the Orioles in 1995-96, spent five seasons with Toronto before signing with Baltimore in the offseason. Moeller spent last season with the Yankees, and Trembley appreciates that he still has a catcher with experience playing in the American League East.

"[Zaun had] been in this division, so he knew the other teams and knew the other hitters," Trembley said. "Moeller's very similar. Being with the Yankees last year, he's been in this division and he's been in the American League. He's worked with some very good pitchers when he was in Arizona [and] with New York.

"His demeanor is a little bit different than Zaunie's, but kind of the same approach -- very much a student of the game, very much a mentor. I think he'll be somebody that Wieters leans on for the rest of the season."

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.