To find a starter for tonight's game, the Orioles dipped into their Double-A affiliate's roster and grabbed a pitcher whose future arrived a little sooner than anticipated.
Radhames Liz had a big role in adjusting the timetable.
Liz, 24, will make his major league debut against the Minnesota Twins after going 11-4 with a 3.22 ERA at Bowie. He has thrown two complete games, including a no-hitter, and held opponents to a .204 average. He's 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA since the break.
A native of El Seybo, Dominican Republic, Liz leads the Eastern League with 161 strikeouts and has walked 70 in 137 innings. He's 9-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 11 home games. He'll be working on normal rest after starting Monday against Trenton.
"The reports that I've gotten is that he's shown a lot of improvement," manager Dave Trembley said. "I think we're getting him at the right time because he's coming off some successful outings. I think now is the time to give him a shot to see what we've got."
In his previous start against Connecticut, Liz allowed one run and one hit in eight innings, striking out 14.
"He projects to be an interesting-type pitcher in that he's a power arm," Trembley said. "His improvement has been very good, so we're going to go with him. I'm taking it that he's going to start on Saturday and we'll see what happens after that."
The Orioles will announce a corresponding roster move today.
Baseball America named Liz the organization's fifth-best prospect last year after he went 9-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 26 starts between Single-A Frederick and Bowie. He was 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA after seven starts with the Keys, and combined with two relievers on a no-hitter in his first outing.
Wright makes progress
Jaret Wright threw in the bullpen for the third time this week and is inching closer to a rehabilitation assignment in the minors.
Wright hopes to be activated from the disabled list once rosters expand next month. He has made only three starts with the Orioles, totaling 10 1/3 innings, because of a sore shoulder -and none since April 29, when he allowed three runs in three innings against the Cleveland Indians.
"Right now, in my mind, I think everything will work out, but I always think that," he said.
Wright is willing to pitch out of the bullpen in September. As long as he gets back on the mound.
"I still want to play," he said. "It's been two years now in my career where I've sat on my couch and watched the boys battle on TV, and it drives you crazy. You realize that you're going to be on the couch soon enough."
Wright had been rehabbing his shoulder in California. The Orioles aren't listing a specific injury, just that the shoulder is sore.
"Put it this way, there's a lot more stuff going on in there than just soreness," he said. "I could pitch with soreness."
Batting order changes
Trembley made some changes to his batting order last night, elevating Miguel Tejada to third and lowering Nick Markakis to fifth so he wouldn't have another left-handed bat behind No. 2 hitter Corey Patterson. But he remained consistent with his choice behind the plate.
Hernandez went 0-for-3 last night and hasn't homered since July 16 - a span of 27 games.
Hernandez did some extra work with hitting coach Terry Crowley before Thursday's game.
"I did see a little bit more extension at the plate. I did see a little bit better balance. I think he's real close to breaking through," Trembley said.
"I liked in Toronto [where] he made some outs, but they were hard outs and they were to the other side of the diamond. His bread and butter is driving the ball to the other side.
"It's like I tell everybody: Right field is a fair ball. There's a lot of base hits out there. If you continually try to pull the ball, you get yourself not only in trouble, but you get more and more frustrated."