In one move yesterday, the Orioles bolstered the left side of their bullpen and removed the wraps that hid pitcher Sean Douglass.
The Orioles optioned Douglass to Triple-A Rochester and called up reliever Yorkis Perez, 34, who hadn't stepped inside a major-league clubhouse since the 2000 season.
Perez was signed to a minor-league contract on March 27. He joins Buddy Groom and B.J. Ryan as left-handers available to manager Mike Hargrove.
Groom remains his usual reliable self, with a 2.05 ERA and eight walks issued against 22 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. But Ryan has been wildly inconsistent. He's had trouble locating the strike zone and also allowed four home runs in his last seven innings.
"We'll be able to work [Ryan] more on the side and in the bullpen, which I think he needs," Hargrove said. " ... We're hoping by bringing in Yorkis, it takes a little pressure off him and allows us more time to work with him."
The current plan calls for Ryan to pitch more in long and middle relief rather than being limited to one batter or one inning. Perez will assume Ryan's former role, with Groom remaining an eighth-inning setup man and occasional closer.
"This gives us a little bit better opportunity to match up," Hargrove said.
The Arizona Diamondbacks released Perez this spring after signing left-hander Mike Myers.
"I feel great. It's something I've been waiting for," said Perez, who was 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA in 40 1/3 innings at Rochester. "I'll try to do my best and convince the Orioles I can still pitch."
Perez has pitched in the majors for five clubs, most recently appearing in 33 games with the Houston Astros in 2000.
His life changed forever on Nov. 12. Perez's mother and sister were aboard American Airlines flight 587 that crashed in Queens. Perez was supposed to be on that flight, but his mother talked him into staying behind to pursue a job.
"Everything I do is for her," he said.
Douglass, who was 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in seven games, will return to a starting role, and an active professional life, with the Red Wings. He appeared in only one of the Orioles' last 19 games.
To make room for Perez on the 40-man roster, the Orioles transferred Calvin Maduro to the 60-day disabled list.
Leon gets start, collar
Jose Leon made his second major-league start since the Orioles purchased his contract from Rochester on June 16 when Jeff Conine went on the DL.
Leon, who started at first base, had hit safely in three straight games before striking out as a pinch hitter on Saturday. He was batting .364 before an 0-for-4 last night dropped him to .267.
"He's shown us he's the same player he was in spring training, a steady guy who can make all the plays and has a little pop in his bat," Hargrove said.
New York closer Mariano Rivera was activated from the disabled list before last night's game, fortifying a bullpen that held together long enough for the Yankees to overtake Boston for first place. He has converted 13 straight save opportunities.
The news of Rivera's return would rattle most teams, but he has trouble shaking the Orioles. Rivera is 1-7 with a 4.47 ERA against them. No other club has beaten him more than twice.