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Q&A with Frederick Keys pitcher Jake Arrieta

Frederick Keys starting pitcher Jake Arrieta has received plenty of recognition during his first season in the Orioles' organization.

The team's fifth-round draft pick in the 2007 draft was selected to pitch for the U.S. team in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium on July 13 as part of the All-Star festivities. He tossed a scoreless inning in the game, allowing one hit while striking out one hitter.

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Arrieta, 22, was named to the U.S. Olympic baseball team on July 16. He's the only Single-A player on the team, but that doesn't mean he lacks the experience to represent his country in front of the entire world. Arrieta was 4-0 with a 0.27 ERA in 35 innings for the 2006 U.S. national team.

He pitched six scoreless innings for the U.S. in a 9-1 victory over China Monday night in Beijing. Arrieta had seven strikeouts and allowed only two hits in the game. Here is a detailed recap of the game from USABaseball.com.

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The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander was chosen as the Pitcher of the Week in the Carolina League on two separate occasions in May. In 20 starts for the Keys this season, Arrieta has compiled a 6-5 record. Through Tuesday, he led the league with 120 strikeouts and ranked second in ERA (2.87) and fourth in innings pitched (113).

Arrieta recently left the Keys to begin preparing for the Olympics, but he was able to answer a few questions via e-mail for baltimoresun.com before his departure.

Knowing it is the final year that baseball will be played at the historic Yankee Stadium, what was it like pitching there during the MLB Futures Game?

Arrieta: Having the opportunity to pitch in a stadium with so much history before it's torn down was a dream come true.

You were recently named to the U.S. Olympic team. Describe your feelings when you first learned of your selection to the team.

Arrieta: When I first heard the news I was relieved. I had constantly thought about making the team during the time leading up to the selection day, and to finally get the news, it was a weight off of my shoulders.

What are the main differences between pitching in college and pitching at the professional level?

Arrieta: The discipline of the hitters and you can't make as many mistakes over the plate.

What is your best pitch? Tell fans why it's better than the others.

Arrieta: It really depends on the day. Any of my pitches can be the best on a given day.

Who are your best friends on the Keys? When you're not playing a game, what do you guys do for fun?

Arrieta: [Starting pitcher Brandon] Erbe and [infielder Brandon] Snyder. We relax and download tons of music most of the time.

Photo credit/caption: AP photo -- United States starting pitcher Jake Arrieta pitched six scoreless innings during the team's 9-1 victory over China on Monday night in Beijing.

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