David Hernandez got to Camden Yards early Saturday to play catch and settle back into his locker, but he had to wait another day before his return to the rotation was official.
Hernandez will be recalled in time to start today's series finale against the Washington Nationals with Koji Uehara going to the disabled list because of a right elbow strain. It will be the third major league start and fourth appearance for Hernandez, who is 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 11 starts with Triple-A Norfolk.
Hernandez was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts for Norfolk since his demotion June 11, when Uehara was activated after recovering from a strained left hamstring. In his three appearances for the Orioles, Hernandez is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA, beating the Detroit Tigers in his major league debut before falling to the Seattle Mariners.
Uehara isn't eligible to return from the DL until July 10, three days before the All-Star break. It's possible that the Orioles might just wait until the second half to activate him.
"I talked to Koji today, and I know it's difficult to have a dialogue with him unless you get through his interpreter, but this guy feels like he's let me down, feels like he's let us down. And I had to tell him that's not the case," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "There is a lot of baseball to be played. What we want to do is get him 100 percent healthy and get him out there to pitch. He feels better today physically, and I hope that continues so we'll get him back as soon as possible."
Trembley said the plan remains for Uehara to come off the DL as a starter, but that will obviously depend on his health and possibly Hernandez's performance.
"I don't like to sit here and have to talk about something like Koji not being able to pitch because he brings a lot to the team," Trembley said. "It's neat when he pitches. There's a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation. When he's on his game, he's as good as anybody, and he hasn't been able to be on his game because he hasn't been 100 percent."
Townsend agrees to terms
While much of the attention Saturday was focused on the signing of top pick Matt Hobgood to a $2.42 million bonus, the Orioles also agreed to terms with their third-round pick, first baseman Tyler Townsend. The Lewes, Del., native hit .434 with 24 homers and 77 RBIs as a junior at Florida International University. His signing means that the Orioles have come to terms with 15 of their 50 picks, including three of their top 10.
Getting extra work
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters was given the night off Saturday but was on the field early to work on his throwing with the organization's roving catching instructor Don Werner. Wieters is just 1-for-12 throwing out base stealers with his one successful attempt coming May 30 in a failed squeeze play by the Detroit Tigers.
"Sometimes, I think he tries to be too quick," Trembley said. "The other times, I think it's mechanical. He doesn't use his legs. He just wants to throw the ball as hard as he can. ... I look at the whole thing in baseball now, too. That seems to be a lost art, throwing people out. You look at the percentages of the guys who are at the top of their game - not very good. Wieters will be fine."
Trembley backs Ray
Trembley said he was not discouraged by Chris Ray's outing on Thursday, in which he allowed five earned runs and seven hits - including a grand slam by Florida Marlins star shortstop Hanley Ramirez - over 1 2/3 innings. In fact, Trembley took the blame for keeping Ray in the game too long. The Orioles' former closer threw 42 pitches Thursday, his second outing since rejoining the club after a stint at Triple-A Norfolk.
"That was my fault," Trembley said. "I shouldn't have put him out there for the second inning, but we got strapped. I told him that. He hung a slider. He made two bad pitches in that second inning out there. He threw a whirlybird to Ramirez that was his backup slider that he hit, and he threw a bad pitch to [Emilio] Bonifacio.
"He's done OK. The velocity is better, the delivery is better. He'll be fine. I just won't stretch him out again like that unless you get caught. That happens sometimes."