The Orioles needed a long man for their bullpen last night. They needed to figure out why Steve Trachsel has been struggling lately in the rotation.
Solutions came at them during batting practice, with Trachsel going on the disabled list with a strained gluteus muscle and left-handed reliever Kurt Birkins being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.
Trachsel allowed five runs and nine hits over 1 2/3 innings in Friday night's 9-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, his shortest outing since July 10, 2003, against the Philadelphia Phillies. He surrendered four runs or more in five of his six starts in June and has a 13.06 ERA in his past three outings. Overall, he's 5-6 with a 4.95 ERA in 17 starts.
"I know Steve has been having some discomfort with that, and he felt like it affected the way he threw last night and his preparation between starts," interim manager Dave Trembley said. "He's a very regimented, routine-oriented guy."
Trachsel's next turn was to be Wednesday in Chicago, and the Orioles are considering left-hander Garrett Olson, who threw seven scoreless innings, striking out 10, in his most recent start for Norfolk. Rob Bell, who tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Trachsel, also is a candidate.
"Steve gets one more start before the break and I think everyone's feelings were to back away from that, let him get the chance to get some treatment; he'll get a break from the All-Star situation, and go from there," Trembley said. "I haven't been told what we will do with his start the next time it comes around."
Trachsel apparently has been bothered by the injury since his previous start in Arizona, when he allowed five earned runs in four innings. He was surprised to hear from reporters that the Orioles were putting him on the DL, adding, "I haven't even seen a doctor yet."
Birkins is making his third tour with the Orioles this season. He was 0-1 with a 15.75 ERA in two appearances, allowing 10 hits, walking three and hitting a batter in four innings.
Williamson banged up
Reliever Scott Williamson limped to his locker yesterday with his left foot and ankle taped after being hit on his instep Friday night by Chone Figgins' bouncer in the seventh inning.
X-rays taken after the game were negative, but he was examined yesterday by team orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cosgarea.
"It's got swelling, a big bruise," Williamson said. "The day after is always the sorest. I'll probably just ice it and try to get all this swelling out, wrap it and go.
"Hopefully it's just one of those day-to-day things. It's not a major thing. I got hit in a bad spot, right in the middle where all the bones and nerves are. Not much padding. If it hit me anywhere else, I'd probably be all right. But they're not acting like it's a big deal. It's nothing to keep me out too long."
Williamson got the out after being hit and faced two more batters. Orlando Cabrera homered off him before he retired Vladimir Guerrero.
"You try to be a competitor and go out there after something like that happens," he said. "The foot was numb. The two sliders I threw were kind of hangers, but after that home run, you get really mad and you just want to go at them, and I threw a lot better pitches to Vladimir than I did to Cabrera."
Guthrie not expecting All-Star bid
The Orioles will find out today whether they'll have more than one representative at the All-Star Game. Their top candidates are second baseman Brian Roberts and pitchers Erik Bedard and Jeremy Guthrie.
"I hadn't thought about it until you guys [reporters] started asking about it, because it never really felt like close to a reality," said Guthrie, who's 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA that ranks second in the American League.
"Brian and Erik are as deserving as anybody on this team, with the amount of years they have playing in the big leagues. It's a proven track record. My track record is three months. But it would be a huge honor. If it happened, it would be an exciting time for me. Is it something I'm banking on? No. There aren't a whole lot of rookies I can remember that make the team."
Sun reporter Alexander Pyles contributed to this article.