Less than a week after making his major league debut with the Orioles, right-handed pitcher Zach Clark finds himself at a career crossroads after being designated for assignment and clearing waivers.
Unable to crack a crowded starting rotation at Norfolk that includes Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Jair Jurrjens, Steve Johnson, and Josh Stinson, the 29-year-old Clark will instead be outrighted to Double-A Bowie where he will begin focusing on throwing a knuckleball in competitive games.
In his only appearance with the Orioles, Clark allowed three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings of work in Seattle. The UMBC product was removed from the 40-man roster over the weekend to make room for veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia.
Organization pitchers Eddie Gamboa and Zach Staniewicz worked on the knuckler with Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro this spring, so executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter have clearly embraced the idea of hurlers using the novelty pitch. Showalter was influential in getting 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to begin focusing on the knuckleball when they were together in Texas.
In eight seasons of minor league baseball, Clark is 50-46 with a 3.71 earned run average.