DETROIT -- Orioles rookie right-hander David Hernandez's schooling at the major league level included another valuable lesson Thursday.
Learn to survive when you don't have your best pitching arsenal.
Making his 10th start in the majors, Hernandez lasted just three innings - the shortest outing of his career - in the Orioles' 7-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
His mid-90s fastball, his normal out pitch, sat at 90 mph.
"He didn't have anything," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He competed, but I had to get him out of there."
Hernandez labored throughout, throwing 81 pitches and only 48 for strikes while being tagged for five runs on seven hits and two walks.
"You're not always going to have your best stuff when you take the mound," said Hernandez, who is 3-4 with a 3.96 ERA. "On those days you don't have your best stuff, you've still got to go out there and battle and give your team the best effort you can."
It was a different story from May 28, when Hernandez, 24, held the Tigers to one run in his big league debut. Thursday was the second time he lost to a team he beat the first time around. His previous two starts were against the Boston Red Sox, whom he shut down July 26 before lasting just 4 1/3 innings Aug. 1.
Hernandez said he doesn't think the opposing club should have an advantage in the second meeting.
"They know what they've already seen, but you've also seen them," he said. "It's basically a game of adjustments, and they were able to adjust better than I was today."
Uehara's relief options
When Koji Uehara returns to the Orioles after recovering from a partially torn elbow tendon, Trembley said, the pitcher definitely will come back as a reliever.
"I would think that would be the logical move right now, I don't think we'll ever get him built up to be able to throw 100 pitches [this year]," Trembley said. "I think in the bullpen we could probably monitor and almost script when he pitches and when he doesn't. Kind of like what we are doing with Chris Ray right now."
When Uehara signed a two-year deal with the Orioles in January, it was largely because they wanted him as a starter.
However, with his injury and stamina issues it's possible Uehara is best suited for the bullpen. And with the recent trade of George Sherrill, it's also possible Ue-hara could assume a key relief role, perhaps even closer, in 2010. Uehara saved 32 games for the Yomiuri Giants in 2007 and pitched to a 1.74 ERA in 55 relief appearances.
"It's not for me to decide, so I cannot really tell you what I think," Uehara said through his interpreter, Jiwon Bang, recently. "Nobody has talked to me about that yet. If that ever comes up, I'll be open to talking about it."
Trembley said Uehara likely will begin a throwing program next week in Baltimore with a return to the club potentially coming in September.
Starter Jeremy Guthrie, who declined to speak to the media after pitching well but losing Wednesday night, apologized for his decision a day later.
"I'm apologetic for not making myself available when obviously it was a game in which I pitched and needed to make some comments, to talk about how well the team played," Guthrie said.
Guthrie, who had never previously skipped post-game interviews, said he was "hoping to take a night off," and there were no ulterior motives behind the move.
"Looking back on it, it was not the right decision, especially in this circumstance," Guthrie said. "I guess my regret is that I did it and it was kind of misinterpreted. Hopefully, going forward, I anticipate making myself available for all the standard times that we have to be available. I understand that's also part of the job."
Jones gets a day off
Center fielder Adam Jones was out of the starting lineup for the first time since July 1, a period of 29 games. And that doesn't include two days of baseball activity at the All-Star Game while his teammates were off.
So Trembley wanted his All-Star to get a breather before he heads to Toronto's Rogers Centre and its artificial turf.
Around the horn
Third base coach Juan Samuel will be away from the team tonight to participate in the Philadelphia Phillies' Wall of Fame festivities. Samuel was inducted into the Phillies' Wall last year and tonight will introduce the family of a 2009 inductee, the late broadcaster Harry Kalas. First base coach John Shelby will coach third and bench coach Dave Jauss will coach first tonight. ... Reliever Dennis Sarfate (circulation issue) allowed one run in one inning Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk. Trembley said his rehabilitation assignment is scheduled to end Thursday.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.