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De Aza excited to join O's, pennant race

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BALTIMORE -- The beginning of Alejandro De Aza's tenure with the Orioles didn't go quite as planned. The outfielder missed his flight from Chicago to Baltimore on Sunday, which meant he wouldn't be able to start as expected. In fact, the O's didn't even plan on activating him until Monday after he missed the first flight.

But about half an hour before the Orioles began an eventual 12-8 win against the Twins, the O's changed their mind. De Aza was added to the active roster and he arrived at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the fourth inning. Baltimore opted not to use him -- manager Buck Showalter didn't make any offensive substitutions during the game -- so his debut will have to wait one more day.

"It's exciting," De Aza said. "And I'm glad to be here and I'm glad to be part of this team."

To make room for De Aza, the O's optioned relief pitcher T.J. McFarland to Class A Short-Season Aberdeen. McFarland can return on Tuesday once Aberdeen's season is complete and rosters have expanded to allow 40 players.

De Aza, who was acquired in a trade with the White Sox on Saturday, has a .276/.343/.404 line against right-handed pitchers this season, and the lefty has particularly good numbers against Minnesota, batting .340/.364/.528 in 14 games. He didn't have a chance to speak to Showalter during the game to get any more specific insight on his role in Baltimore.

"I'm just here to help the team win," De Aza said. "I can't describe what can I do. What I'm saying is I'm here to win."

De Aza's excited to join a first-place club and become teammates with a handful of players he knows, including Jonathan Schoop, Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez.

He knows it's an honor that a team with World Series aspirations finds him useful, but it's bittersweet to leave Chicago, where he played for more than four seasons.

"It's great," De Aza said. "At the same time, I got to know a lot of people there, but this is the game. This is part of the business. One day you're here, another day you can be somewhere else."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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