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BALTIMORE — It lacks the hoopla of the “Strasburg-mania” we saw in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night, but pitching prospect Jake Arrieta will make his major league debut this evening against the New York Yankees (37-22) as the Orioles (16-43) hope to salvage the finale of a three-game series.
Arrieta was leading the International League in opponents batting average (.189), second in innings pitched, and tied for third with six wins. The 24-year-old was 6-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 11 starts for the Norfolk Tides.
He will wear the No. 57, joining the likes of Juan Guzman, Karim Garcia, Erik Bedard (briefly), Julio Manon, and Garrett Olson as players to wear the number for the Orioles. Needless to say, Arrieta has little pressure living up to the history of that number.
If one weakness reared its ugly head in Arrieta’s minor league career, it was his propensity for surrendering walks. The right-hander was tied for second in the International League with walks allowed (34), which may cost him dearly against the patient Yankees lineup.
Arrieta appeared calm in his preparation for tonight’s start, casually walking into the office of interim manager Juan Samuel at one point.
We’ll see if he can maintain the same demeanor against last year’s world champions.
Here are tonight’s lineups:
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
DH Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Marcus Thames
C Chad Moeller
SP A.J. Burnett (6-3, 3.72 ERA)
LF Corey Patterson
3B Miguel Tejada
RF Nick Markakis
1B Ty Wigginton
DH Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
2B Scott Moore
SS Cesar Izturis
SP Jake Arrieta (Norfolk Tides: 6-2, 1.85 ERA)
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Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
5:25 p.m. — If you’re on the WNST Text Service, you received the news at 3:00 p.m. that Arrieta had officially been promoted, and lefty reliever Alberto Castillo had been designated for assignment to make room for the rookie starter on the 40-man roster.
Castillo, 34, is 1-0 with a 10.13 ERA and has failed to fill the lefty specialist role as left-handed hitters were batting .391 against the reliever.
6:45 p.m. — Dan Connolly reports the Orioles will interview Bobby Valentine on Friday regarding the managerial opening. Valentine spent 15 years managing in the major leagues, eight with the Texas Rangers (1985-1992) and seven with the New York Mets (1996-2002). Of course, Valentine has spent time managing in Japan, most recently leading the Chiba Lotte Marines from 2004 until last year.
The 60-year-old manager has a 1,117-1,027 record has a big league manager and took the 2000 Mets to the World Series.
Valentine would certainly bring a loud personality to shake up the losing culture in Baltimore, but it’s still hard to envision a high-profile manager taking over a club on its way to falling 30 games below .500 in the middle of June. Even if a big name such as Valentine were to come in and inspire the club to play .500 baseball—an unlikely proposition—he would still have a 90 or more-loss season to his name with former manager Dave Trembley being an afterthought.
It might happen, and the mere idea that Valentine will interview for the job despite being in the first year of a four-year contract with ESPN suggests how desperate he is to return to the dugout in the big leagues.
Is he desperate enough to step into the Orioles dugout?