Hernandez heads to DL; Gabino called up


Hernandez hopes to miss just 15 days; his replacement will pitch in relief, but exact role undetermined

August 05, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Orioles right-handed reliever David Hernandez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a sprained left ankle, meaning that his lone appearance on the mound for new manager Buck Showalter was a rough one in which he could get only one out.

"I'm more disappointed more so just because we got a different manager and you kind of want to show him what you are able to do," said Hernandez, who allowed two hits, a walk, a wild pitch and a run in one-third of an inning Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels. "Obviously, [Wednesday] night wasn't a good start, so I look forward to being out there as soon as possible again."

Hernandez, who sprained the ankle while attempting to cover home plate on the wild pitch in the seventh, said he was told he would need seven to 10 days of recovery time and then he'll likely pitch a couple of times in Sarasota, Fla., before returning to the big leagues, he hopes, in the requisite 15days.

"They haven't told me where or when I am pitching," said Hernandez, who is 5-8 with a 4.52 ERA in 33 games (eight starts) overall but 4-3 with a 3.29 ERA and two saves in 25 games as a reliever. "I'll probably be here through the homestand, and I'll probably fly out either Monday or Tuesday."

Showalter said Hernandez doesn't need to worry about Wednesday's performance.

"It's not like he has one bad outing and we're going to write him off," Showalter said. "I'll make that aware to him."

Gabino called up

To replace Hernandez in the bullpen, the Orioles selected the contract of right-handed reliever Armando Gabino, who was 7-0 with two saves and a 2.12 ERA in 27games (seven starts) for Triple-A Norfolk.

"I'm so excited; I found out last night around 11:30 p.m.," said Gabino, who made his major league debut for the Minnesota Twins against the Orioles last August. "The manager called me and let me know. We were supposed to go to Louisville at 5 in the morning. He told me, 'You are going to Baltimore.'"

Gabino, 26, allowed seven runs in 32/3 innings (17.18 ERA) in his two games with the Twins last season. He was claimed off waivers in the offseason and was named the Orioles' organizational Pitcher of the Month for July after going 3-0 with a save and a 1.23ERA in eight games (two starts). He will be used out of the bullpen, Showalter said, but his exact role has not been decided.

"I am not real sure. He has done a little bit of everything down there, which makes it a good fit because that's what we will need him to do here," Showalter said. "He's got good stuff, he impressed the guys in the spring, from what I understand, and he certainly threw pretty consistent down there in Norfolk."

Because of July trades, the Orioles had an opening on their 40-man roster, so Gabino's inclusion did not force a corresponding move. The 40-man roster is now full.

Throwing out a drought

When Orioles catcher Matt Wieters threw out Los Angeles' Torii Hunter in the ninth inning Wednesday, it broke a streak of 26 consecutive successful steals against the Orioles dating to June 23.

"We're hot. We are on a roll. We are going to look at it half-full," Showalter joked. "That was really one of the first ones Matt had a real shot at, in fairness to him."

The Angels still stole four bases on the Orioles on Wednesday, and -- as in the past -- most could have been charged to the young pitchers, who have had trouble keeping runners close. Showalter said that's an area that needs to be worked on from the minors up.

"You've got to treat the ability to hold runners like teaching a secondary pitch. It's part of the finishing-off process. Guys come so quickly, you can't assume that anymore," Showalter said. "In the future, I hope when a guy spends two, three, four years in an organization, you are going to assume" that he can hold runners.

Uehara keeps rolling

Now healthy, Koji Uehara is settling into his relief role. The veteran right-hander has allowed one earned run in his past nine appearances, spanning 92/3 innings (0.93 ERA). On Wednesday, he retired four of the five batters he faced, including striking out the side in the eighth inning.

"My elbow feels excellent, so that's why," Uehara said through an interpreter.

Uehara, who has missed most of the year because of arm and hamstring injuries, is a free agent at the end of the season, so he might be pitching for his big league life. But he said that's not his concern.

"I am not thinking about that," he said. "Right now, it is not my decision, so we will see."

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