CHICAGO -- Saying the timing was right, Orioles interim manager Dave Trembley announced yesterday that Garrett Olson will start tonight and make his major league debut.
Olson, a 23-year-old left-hander and one of the organization's top pitching prospects, will have his contract selected today from Triple-A Norfolk, where he is 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 17 starts. Olson will be starting in place of Steve Trachsel, who went on the disabled list Saturday with a strained gluteus muscle.
Trachsel is expected to miss only one start, so it could be a short stint for Olson, but team officials are anxious to see how the pitcher responds. Olson was expected at U.S. Cellular Field during last night's game.
"He's coming off some real good outings," Trembley said. "He's gotten better. He went through a point in time where he might have been ready earlier this season, but I think we did the right thing and didn't bring him up. He took his lumps a little bit and had to make some adjustments and learn how to pitch. He's rebounded. A lot of people think he's the real deal."
Olson, a sandwich pick in the 2005 draft, was winless in his first seven starts for the Tides this year, but he went 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA in six June starts and struck out 40 while giving up only 21 hits. In his most recent start, Olson pitched seven shutout innings against Pawtucket, allowing two hits and four walks while striking out 10. He leads the International League with 104 innings pitched and his 94 strikeouts were second in the league entering last night.
Melvin Mora, who is nursing a bruised left foot, didn't start for a second straight day, but he took batting and fielding practice and could be in the lineup tonight. Trembley also didn't rule out calling on Mora as a pinch hitter last night if the situation called for it.
Reliever Scott Williamson, who got hit in the left foot by a come-backer Friday and hasn't pitched since, threw before the game and said he'd likely be ready to pitch either last night or tonight.
Win `satisfying feeling' for Bell
When he returned to the clubhouse Monday night after celebrating the Orioles' comeback victory, Rob Bell was presented with the game ball. On it, Jamie Walker wrote, "Congratulations on your first win, rookie."
Bell, who joked that Walker needed help spelling the message, has actually won 31 career games, but last night marked his first since beating the Orioles on April 14, 2005, while with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
"You don't understand, because of where I was in my career at that point," Bell said when asked about the gap between victories. "To be back in the big leagues now and somebody who can contribute ... I felt like that even when I got sent out in April. I felt I had a legitimate opportunity to make the club, and whether that was the case or not I don't know. To come back, win a game here and contribute, it's so far from where I was. It's a satisfying feeling."
Bell pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two of the three hitters he faced and holding the Orioles' deficit at one run. Used primarily as the Orioles' long reliever, Bell has given up just one hit in 5 1/3 innings since taking the loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 23, when he allowed three runs (two earned) in one inning.