Koji's status could effect Tillman, Arrieta
Orioles reliever Koji Uehara wasn’t available for the third consecutive game on Saturday and is dealing with right elbow pain similar to the injury that ended his 2009 campaign. Uehara said he first felt something during Wednesday’s 30-pitch outing in Texas and although nothing is official, the Orioles right-hander could be facing another trip to the disabled list. Uehara hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, leaving an already-short Orioles bullpen further depleted.
The question is what do the Orioles do now? Koji has to go to the DL if he can’t pitch (which would be his 4th trip to the DL since last May). And Trembley said he wouldn’t be available tomorrow which again leaves the bullpen in a bind. They’ve had to get 40 outs in the last three days and with Alberto Castillo being optioned back following Thursday’s loss, you really can’t blame Trembley for the decision to leave in Brad Bergesen in the sixth and then go to long man Mark Hendrickson.
Was it the right move? No. But it was his only move.
The Orioles starters have failed to make it out of the sixth inning for the last three games, and before that Jeremy Guthrie went six on Wednesday. That puts more pressure on winless veteran Kevin Millwood, who basically needs to throw a complete game to help the pen catch up.
If there isn’t a roster move tomorrow, Monday’s off day could get interesting. Do the Orioles bring back up Castillo, who was largely ineffective in his last stint ? Do they move David Hernandez -who is most effective early — to the bullpen and call up Chris Tillman or Jake Arrieta? Or do they move one of those two young guys up the bullpen to ease them into the rotation and bolster the ‘pen’s depth?
Make no mistake- Tillman and Arrieta are close. So close that president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail paid a visit to Norfolk to watch their last start. When they do come up, what role they have is largely uncertain. But if it were up to me, I’d put Hernandez in the ‘pen and give Tillman or Arrieta a starting spot. Given Hernandez’s stuff, he could be scary good out of the bullpen. And right now, the Orioles don’t have too many relievers you feel good about going to in a tight spot.