SEATTLE — SEATTLE - The Orioles optioned struggling pitcher Brian Burres to Triple-A Norfolk yesterday, leaving Jeremy Guthrie and Daniel Cabrera as the only members of the Opening Day rotation still on the team. Shortstop Alex Cintron was activated from the 15-day disabled list to take Burres' spot on the roster.
"I hate to see the guy keep failing," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "It's a whole different ballgame in the big leagues, especially in our division. He just needs to go get some success because it wasn't coming [here]."
Burres lost his spot in the rotation to Dennis Sarfate this week. Pitching out of the bullpen Wednesday against the New York Yankees, Burres (7-7, 5.64 ERA) allowed four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. In his past five appearances spanning 20 1/3 innings, the left-hander, 27, has surrendered 18 earned runs, 32 hits and nine walks.
"I've been struggling lately," said Burres, who has been told he'll pitch in relief for Norfolk. "It's not like it's out of the blue. I haven't had too many good outings in the last month or two. I'll just go work on stuff. I can't really say anything. I didn't do well enough to stay."
Burres started the season as the Orioles' fifth starter in a rotation that included Guthrie, Cabrera, Steve Trachsel and Adam Loewen.
"I thought he pitched a whole lot better last season," Trembley said. "Right now, it's a matter of him going down in a less-pressure environment and getting some success, getting his confidence back. I told him to get some success under his belt and get back up here."
Clock is ticking
Though the trade deadline has come and gone, the Orioles remain on the clock in their efforts to sign Brian Matusz, the fourth overall pick in June's baseball draft. The Orioles have until Aug. 15 to reach an agreement with the left-handed pitcher out of the University of San Diego or they will lose his draft rights.
After agreeing to terms with the fifth overall draft pick last year, Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters, just minutes before the deadline, the Orioles had hoped to avoid last-minute negotiations with Matusz. However, with less than two weeks remaining before the deadline, scouting director Joe Jordan acknowledged he is "absolutely disappointed" in the team's failure to reach an agreement with Matusz and his agent, Marc Agar.
"The hope was that it wouldn't go this route, but it looks like that's the way it's headed," Jordan said.
The Orioles certainly aren't alone. Twelve of the top 30 picks are unsigned, including eight of the top 10.
"I'm still very confident," Jordan said "We're just going to have to get things going and make some progress in [the] next week or so and see what happens. I expect him to be signed. I think our offer will be more than fair, and he's a smart kid. I think he ends up signing."
The Orioles have signed fifth-round pick Gregory Miclat, a shortstop from the University of Virginia, and come to terms with eighth-round selection Robert Bundy, a right-handed pitcher from Sperry High in Oklahoma. Thirty-three of their 50 selections have agreed to terms.
D. Cabrera appeals
Orioles pitcher Daniel Cabrera, who was fined $2,000 and suspended for six games for intentionally throwing at the head of the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday, will appeal his suspension and is expected to make his scheduled start tomorrow.
"I think everybody knows except the umpire that when the ball hit A-Rod, I didn't try to hit him," Cabrera said. "But there are a lot of people in that ballpark. Maybe he got a little nervous, I don't know, and he agreed to do. What can I do? [I'll] just wait and see what happens."
Around the horn
Trembley said he will decide on Tuesday's starter at the end of the series with the Seattle Mariners. The top candidates are Triple-A Norfolk's Hayden Penn, Double-A Bowie's Bradley Bergesen and Orioles reliever Lance Cormier. ... Outfielder Lou Montanez hit for the cycle yesterday in the Baysox's rout of Altoona.