O's rotation revisited: Olson, Sarfate are out

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

August 19, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,Sun reporter

The Orioles' rotation is getting a face-lift, but it could end up looking a lot like it did in July.

Manager Dave Trembley said converted reliever Dennis Sarfate and left-handed starter Garrett Olson have been sent to the bullpen, creating an immediate opening for a starter Friday against the New York Yankees.

"I think I had to do something to be fair to the team and to be fair to Olson," Trembley said.

"Olson needs to get some success and be put in a situation that's not as stressful and pressure-packed as it would appear it's been for him his last three starts."

Replacements weren't announced, but the leading candidates to join the rotation appear to be Triple-A Norfolk starters Radhames Liz and Brian Burres, who are on the 40-man roster and have started for the Orioles this season. Liz has allowed one run in his past 14 innings with the Tides, and Burres has allowed one run in his past 11 innings.

An additional option could Brad Bergesen, who is excelling at Double-A Bowie. The Orioles will not move a current big league reliever into that starting spot. Sarfate (4-3, 5.35 ERA) has spent the majority of the season in the bullpen, pitching in relief in 45 of his 49 games this year. But Olson (8-6, 6.38 ERA) has made 28 appearances in his brief big league career - all starts. He hasn't pitched out of the bullpen since playing for Single-A Aberdeen in 2005, the year he was drafted.

"I'm going to keep the same approach, just make quality pitches," said Olson, who has allowed four runs or more in 10 of his past 13 starts.

"It may be a little different coming in in the middle of an inning, but once you're out there and get the ball, I think it's the same thing."

Olson said he was relieved Trembley and pitching coach Rick Kranitz decided to keep him in the majors for now.

"For me, anytime a manager or somebody shows they have confidence in you whether you have been struggling or not, that means a lot," Olson said.

It's possible Olson could be sent to Norfolk this week once a starter is recalled.

"I have no idea," Olson said. "I just know what I'm doing the next couple of days."

Trembley said there are scouts who believe Olson would fare better as a reliever, and Kranitz said he could see the 24-year-old having success in relief.

"I would hope so, yeah. You don't have to pitch to as many guys," Kranitz said.

"If he comes in to face [David] Ortiz, he may only have to get Ortiz out. We all know what kind of breaking ball he has. It's not like he has to keep repeating it over and over again."

Jones recuperating

Center fielder Adam Jones, who broke his left foot this month, is walking around without crutches or a boot. He played catch today for several minutes. Jones is expected to have a CT scan within the next few days, Trembley said, and might begin baseball activities by Friday.

Sept. 7 game changed

Because of the Ravens' season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium, the Orioles have moved their Sept. 7 game against the Oakland Athletics to Sept. 6 at 1:05 p.m.

It will now be part of a day-night doubleheader with the regularly scheduled Saturday night game at 7:05. Fans with tickets to the Sunday game must use them for Saturday afternoon.

Around the horn

Melvin Mora was named American League Co-Player of the Week with Chicago White Sox pitcher Javier Vazquez. ... Right-handed pitching prospect Jake Arrieta pitched six shutout innings and struck out seven yesterday as Team USA beat China in an Olympic baseball game. ... Pitcher Matt Albers (right shoulder) is expected to throw soon from a mound in Sarasota, Fla.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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