Padres add Tejada to infield mix

The San Diego Padres acquired veteran infielder Miguel Tejada(notes) from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league pitcher Wynn Pelzer on Thursday, sources said, adding a veteran with decent pop to a lineup that lacks experience and power yet has produced enough runs to keep the team atop the National League West.

Tejada, a shortstop most of his 14-year career, has played mostly third base the last two seasons. He could play third in San Diego, enabling Chase Headley(notes) to move from third to left field, where light-hitting Oscar Salazar(notes) has been getting playing time. Tejada, 36, also could spell shortstop Everth Cabrera(notes), a slick fielder whose bat has regressed after a productive rookie season in 2009.

Although Tejada has only seven home runs and a .362 slugging percentage – his lowest since his rookie season – he has 292 liftetime homers and could add a power threat to a Padres lineup centered around first baseman Adrian Gonzalez(notes). San Diego is near the bottom of the league in power categories and only Gonzalez has more than nine homers.

Tejada is in the midst of a one-year, $6 million contract that includes a $150,000 assignment bonus if he is traded. He will become the highest-paid player on the Padres’ 25-man roster. Pitcher Chris Young makes $6.25 million this season, but he has been on the disabled list since early April with a shoulder injury. The Orioles are expected to pay a portion of Tejada’s remaining salary.

Before the season, the Padres expected to be sellers at the trading deadline and early on were entertaining offers for Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell(notes). But they have spent the season in first place, boast the NL’s best record, and lead the second-place San Francisco Giants by 2.5 games in the West.

The Orioles, who hired Buck Showalter as manager on Wednesday, will promote top prospect Josh Bell(notes) to play third base on an everyday basis. Pelzer, 24 and a ninth-round pick in 2007, is a well-regarded prospect who is 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA in Double A.

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