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BALTIMORE — Needing an extra arm in the bullpen and realizing a nagging hamstring injury wasn’t improving, the Orioles have recalled right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta and placed designated hitter Nolan Reimold on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays.
As expected, starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens had his contract selected by the club in order for the right-hander to make his Orioles debut. To make room for Jurrjens, the Orioles optioned right-handed reliever Alex Burnett to Triple-A Norfolk and placed injured second baseman Brian Roberts on the 60-day DL to clear room on the 40-man roster.
Reimold’s hamstring has been bothering him since spring training and struggled to play through the cold weather of the early season with the back of the leg tightening up at various times, according to Showalter. The 29-year-old hasn’t played since last Saturday in Minnesota, meaning his DL stint is retroactive to May 12. Showalter is hopeful that the time off will remedy the hamstring strain but acknowledged it could take longer than the 15-day period since Reimold has dealt with the ailment for quite a while.
“I think he understands where we are and what we want to do,” Showalter said. “He’s not — I wouldn’t say — down. Obviously, no one wants to go on the DL. I can’t tell you whether this period will clean it up completely. I’m frustrated for him. I want to get as close to a perfect world for him [physically] as I can get. He’s a very capable contributor if we can just get him right.”
The expectation is that Reimold would get at-bats in a rehab assignment before making any return to the 25-man roster. Serving as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter this season, Reimold was hitting just .188 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 101 at-bats.
Steve Pearce, Nate McLouth, and Chris Dickerson have all seen time at the DH spot since last Saturday.
The need for an additional releiver was the result of a 12-run, 17-hit attack by the Rays against Friday starter Jason Hammel and four other relievers. Burnett allowed three earned runs in just 1/3 inning of work in the 12-10 loss.
Arrieta was scheduled to start for Norfolk on Saturday night and had dealt with shoulder tightness recently, but the 27-year-old completed successful bullpen sessions on Wednesday and Thursday to quell any significant concerns.
“I developed a little stiffness a few starts ago,” Arrieta said. “It’s something that has been manageable. They wanted to give me a few days — kind of push me back a little bit. I’ve stayed on top of it as much as I can.”
Manager Buck Showalter confirmed prior to Saturday’s game that Arrieta will pitch out of the bullpen for the time being. Of course, the enigmatic pitcher began the year in the starting rotation but was sent to the minors after going 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts for Baltimore.
As of now, veteran Freddy Garcia is scheduled to pitch against the New York Yankees on Monday, but Arrieta could conceivably become an option to take his place should he not be used in the bullpen over the next couple games.
In three starts for the Tides, Arrieta went 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA while striking out 17 and walking three in 19 2/3 innings.