Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta, who was called up from Triple-A Norfolk on Friday to provide bullpen depth, will start Monday night against the Tigers in Detroit in place of right-hander Jason Hammel.
Hammel returned to the ballpark Sunday after two days away with a stomach virus, but manager Buck Showalter said he's uncertain if Hammel will be ready to pitch in Tuesday's game.
"I've been waiting just for an opportunity, and I look forward to capitalizing on that and just contributing to continue help this team win," Arrieta said Sunday after the Orioles' 6-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. "We're playing good baseball. The starters are pitching well. The bullpen's doing a great job. Our lineup's continuing to produce runs for us, so if I go out there and do my job, we have a great chance of winning the game."
Arrieta was 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts with the Orioles before being sent down to Triple-A Norfolk in April. He hasn't pitched since June 9, when he gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 inning for the Tides at Indianapolis.
"I gave up a few more hits than I'd like, but I threw a lot of strikes," Arrieta said. "The walks were down. If I pound the zone with my stuff, I give myself a pretty good chance to have success."
If Hammel can't start Tuesday — he said he still feels weak and hasn't thrown off a mound since the illness — left-hander Zach Britton could be an option to be recalled from Norfolk. Britton was scratched from his scheduled start for the Tides on Sunday before Arrieta was penciled in as Monday's starter. Britton has made two previous starts against the Tigers, both at Comerica Park, and is 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA over 12 innings.
"[Hammel] knows the level he has to be at to be competitive," Showalter said. "I think these guys know what's at stake. They're not going to do something that jeopardizes our best chance to win a game. We're going into one the toughest teams in baseball again."
McFarland's arm saves others
As T.J. McFarland mowed down the first three batters he faced in relief of Freddy Garcia on Saturday, the Orioles left-hander didn't realize it took only nine pitches to strike them out.
He fanned Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew to end the sixth and then Jose Iglesias to start the seventh. It was the first time an Oriole needed only nine pitches to strike out three consecutive batters since Alberto Castillo did it against Tampa Bay on Sept. 23, 2008.
"I was just trying to throw strikes, pitch quick," McFarland said. "It worked out that way. Someone mentioned it to me today. That was the first time I really even thought about it."
McFarland's 3 2/3-inning performance — a career-long outing as a major leaguer — helped save an Orioles bullpen that got stretched out in Thursday's 13-inning win over the Red Sox.
Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and closer Jim Johnson came back from the day off to combine for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief Sunday.
"I feel like for me to close out the game and allow the other arms in the bullpen to get some rest was big," McFarland said.
The Rule 5 pick from this winter earned his first career win Thursday night and could have notched his second Saturday, but the Orioles' ninth-inning rally fell short.
"That was pretty good, very legit," Showalter said. "Cleaned up some things with him. He's got good makeup."
Around the horn
Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who is recovering from an oblique injury, felt fine after throwing from a mound for the first time Saturday in Sarasota, Fla. He threw only fastballs and changeups during that session and is scheduled for another one Monday. ... Right-hander Dylan Bundy, the Orioles' top prospect, is scheduled to throw 25 times from 90 feet twice Monday as part of his progression in the return from right forearm and elbow stiffness. … Right-hander Steve Johnson (oblique) continued to make "mild improvements," Showalter said. … Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop (back) has begun throwing and jogging in the pool. … Actor Richard Gere threw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday. …The Orioles eclipsed 1,000,000 fans at Camden Yards for the season during Sunday's game against the Red Sox. An announced 1,008,650 has attended the 35 home games. ... Third baseman Manny Machado is one of six players to have two hitting streaks of 11 or more games this year. Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Seattle Mariners' Kyle Seager and the Detroit Tigers' Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera are the others. Cabrera has three such streaks.
Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun