In the latest attempt to repair their battered bullpen, the Orioles yesterday designated veteran Paul Shuey for assignment and recalled Triple-A Norfolk left-hander Kurt Birkins for the fifth time this season.
"To be honest with you, everything I've tried hasn't worked," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "We have to try to do something different. I think roles and all that other stuff, at this particular time, I don't know."
Trembley said that informing Shuey that the club was letting him go was difficult because of how hard the 36-year-old worked to return to the game. Before this season, Shuey hadn't pitched in the big leagues since April 2005. He retired that month because of recurring hip problems, but made a return after having a hip resurfacing procedure in Canada.
Shuey appeared in 25 games for the Orioles, going 0-1 with one save and a 9.82 ERA. The right-hander said last week that he wasn't ready to retire and still felt he has another year left in him. He was unavailable for comment yesterday because he had exited the clubhouse before the media was allowed in.
"He told me he expected it," Trembley said. "He was very professional. He told me he thought it was best for the team and he appreciated the opportunity."
Birkins entered last night 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA in seven appearances this season for the Orioles. He has gone 8-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) for Norfolk.
Rotation still uncertain
Trembley said he hasn't decided who will make Friday's start in Boston, though he does have a couple of options. Because of Monday's day off, the Orioles could skip the No. 5 spot and go with ace Erik Bedard on his regular four days' rest. Or the Orioles could start one of their top pitching prospects, Radhames Liz or Garrett Olson.
Trembley wouldn't tip his hand but did assert that Liz, who allowed five earned runs in six innings in his major league debut against the Minnesota Twins, is not in the bullpen, and that a decision on Olson, 1-2 with a 7.33 ERA in five starts for the Orioles, will be made soon.
Wright on mend
Pitcher Jaret Wright said his first rehabilitation outing Sunday "went just about how I hoped it would." Wright struck out two and allowed no hits while throwing 13 pitches in one scoreless inning for Double-A Bowie.
"I thought it was OK," said Wright, who said he was told his fastball was clocked at around 90 mph. "I thought the cutter was good. The curveball was good. I didn't throw a first-pitch strike to any of the guys."
Wright hasn't pitched since April 29 because of recurring shoulder soreness. He's hoping that, at the very least, he could pitch out of the bullpen in September. However, the Orioles haven't decided when and where he'll pitch next.
New radio schedule
Tonight's Orioles game and nine others in the coming weeks will be broadcast on 102.7 JACK-FM instead of the club's flagship station, WHFS-FM (105.7). The changes are a result of University of Maryland football programming on WHFS. The other games that will be aired on 102.7 JACK-FM are on the following dates: Saturday, next Wednesday, Sept. 8, Sept. 12, Sept. 13, Sept. 19, Sept. 22, Sept. 26 and Sept. 29.