Armando Benitez changed his locker at Camden Yards for the third time yesterday. It's not that the right-handed reliever is finicky, he's just well-traveled.
Benitez was recalled from Triple-A yesterday for his third stint in Baltimore this season. Benitez has seven saves and a 1.31 ERA in Rochester, but he has one save and a 5.46 ERA with Baltimore.
The Orioles also placed third baseman Leo Gomez on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 31) with a strained left ankle. Gomez could return as soon as Aug. 14.
"[Thursday] night after the game I felt great, but today the swelling is back and I don't feel so good," Gomez said before last night's game. "It's something to help the team. We need pitching right now and I haven't been able to play in five days."
With the Orioles in need of arms in the bullpen, Benitez was a logical choice to get called up.
"I think we need another right-hander in the bullpen," manager Phil Regan said. "We've tried to extend him to a point where he can pitch two innings. I told him it's a good experience for him to learn all phases of the bullpen. It will help him later in his career."
Regan said he will look to Benitez in the seventh inning and later. His arrival couldn't come at a better time, since reliever Terry Clark pitched three innings Thursday and has pitched seven times in the past 10 days, and Jesse Orosco has pitched seven times in the past 14 days.
Last night, Benitez pitched a scoreless eighth inning and gave up up one hit.
Regan said he will strongly consider carrying an extra reliever down the stretch, even if Benitez falters. But if Benitez isn't the man for the job, then who is?
MA "I don't think that far ahead," general manager Roland Hemond
said. "It was a plus for us that we had a guy like Armando in Rochester. We're glad to have him available to come here."
Ben McDonald is back in town but most likely won't be back on the mound until September. The starting pitcher went to California and Alabama to get his injured right shoulder checked out, but he returned to Baltimore yesterday for rehabilitation.
McDonald was placed on the disabled list on July 25 with recurring tendinitis. He went to California for a second opinion, then to Alabama to begin rehabbing with specialist Dr. James Andrews.
"I picked up some different exercises and my arm feels stronger," McDonald said. "He worked me pretty doggone hard down there, but I feel stronger now than when I got there."
McDonald said Andrews worked him nearly seven hours a day, '' and he is ready to begin throwing lightly. However, the hardest work for Andrews might have been persuading the stubborn pitcher not to rush his way back into action.
"It would be suicide if I try to press like I did last time," McDonald said. "Dr. Andrews said I should start off tossing lightly. I'll stay on his program. He said I have to hold back."
McDonald still has to progress to throwing off a mound before throwing a simulated game or making a minor-league stint. He estimates he will not be ready to pitch until late August or the first week of September.
Rick Krivda, the rookie pitcher who took McDonald's spot in the rotation, has made a good first impression on his manager. Krivda went six innings on Thursday giving up two runs in only his third major-league start and Regan said the right-hander will remain in the rotation.
"He's pitched three very good games for us," Regan said. "He's gotten better as he's gone along. He's got good poise, he's got a pretty god changeup, and a good curve he can get in on right-handed hitters. He has a good presence on the mound."
Krivda said he is not yet at home in the majors, but his confidence is growing with each start.
"I haven't gotten totally comfortable yet," Krivda said. "I was kind of thrown in here at a tough time. We're right in the middle of the pennant race and I'm still trying to get a few things straight and get myself comfortable."
For three of the past four games, the Orioles have allowed six or more runs in one inning. A breakdown of the three innings:
Date Opp. Runs Inn. .. Result
8/1 .Tor. 6 ...9th .. .L, 12-10
8/3 .Tor. 6 ...10th .. L, 8-2
8/4 .Mil. 8 ...4th .. .L, 12-4