Orioles to give VandenHurk a start today

Showalter wants to see how former Marlin handles himself

September 25, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

TORONTO — — Rick VandenHurk's wait has come to an end. The 25-year-old right-hander finally will get his first start as an Oriole today after month-long speculation that the opportunity would come at some point in September.

"I've been (a starter) all my career," VandenHurk said. "But it's been almost two months I have been here and I have been in the bullpen, so you just go with it."

The Orioles acquired VandenHurk on July 31 from the Florida Marlins for lefty reliever Will Ohman. VandenHurk is 8-8 with a 5.92 ERA in 32 big-league starts with the Marlins from 2007-2009. He is 0-0 with a 4.38 ERA in six games this season for the Orioles.

"It's definitely been good for my experience to get bullpen experience," VandenHurk said. "Either way, I am in the big leagues. … So a starter, relief, I just want to pitch at this level."

Manager Buck Showalter wants to see how VandenHurk handles a late-season start.

"How he pitches [today], is it going to be exactly what he is going to do the rest of his career? Of course not, necessarily," Showalter said. "But there are a lot of things that you look for. I think it's more you watch the hitters' reactions as much as you do what the statistics show you after the game."

So far he has been impressed with VandenHurk.

"He is a competitive man, he is in good shape, you can tell how hard he works," Showalter said. "He does a lot of things to give him a chance to do good stuff on the field. The only way to see if that carries over is to run him out there."

Fox catches, Wieters sits

Jake Fox made his seventh start of the season behind the plate Saturday, and Matt Wieters sat for the second consecutive game. On Friday, Fox was the DH, Craig Tatum caught and Wieters pinch-hit in the ninth, flying out to end the game.

Showalter said Wieters will catch today, but he wants to keep giving opportunities to others as the season wanes.

"We've got nine or 10 games left, it might come a time in the offseason when we are trying to make calls where we wish we would have done it," Showalter said of starting Fox. "We also like our chances to win with him back there, too. And (with) Matt, obviously."

The Orioles are 1-6 with Fox as the starting catcher, 16-17 with Tatum and 44-70 with Wieters.

Lugo gets first start at DH

Julio Lugo, who had started just two games this month due to recurring headaches, was back in the lineup Saturday as the team's designated hitter, his first time in that spot this season.

Showalter said he wanted to get Lugo back in the lineup and his past performance against Toronto's Ricky Romero — he was 4-for-10 against the lefty — made it a good fit.

"He has handled everything well," Showalter said of Lugo. "He is feeling really good and this is a good matchup for him. Just from a professional standpoint too, it's not that we owe it to him, but I think it is a good matchup for him."

Lugo was 0-for-3 with a run-scoring walk in four at-bats.

Around the horn

By outhitting the Blue Jays 16-5 in Friday night's 5-4 loss at Rogers Centre, the Orioles became the first team since the Texas Rangers on Aug. 15, 1989 versus the Seattle Mariners to have an 11-hit advantage and still lose. It was the first time in Blue Jays' history they had won while being outpaced by 11 or more hits. … Koji Uehara extended his franchise record to 28 consecutive appearances without a walk by pitching a perfect 10th inning on Saturday. … The Blue Jays' walkoff win Saturday was their second of the year. The first came earlier this month against Tampa Bay.

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