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Reliever Chris Ray, who appeared to be the Orioles' closer-in-waiting at the start of the season, was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday after two rough months.

Ray was 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA in 17 games, allowing 16 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings.

He had been pulled from his late-inning role and was used sparingly in the past few weeks, pitching just five times since May 9.

"He needs to work in an environment that is going to give him an opportunity to succeed and work on his delivery and repeat it," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He's an end-of-the-game [pitcher] is what he is. That's the best way to say it. And right now we're not able to find opportunities for him to go in at the end of the game."

The move was made necessary when the club recalled right-hander David Hernandez from Norfolk to start Thursday's game against the Detroit Tigers.

Ray, 27, said he understood the demotion, which will mark the first time since 2005 that he has been in the minors for a reason other than health.

"It's not really doing me too much good to be up here throwing once a week. I need to get my repetitions, get in there on a more consistent basis just so I can get my game back to where it was," Ray said. Ray will throw multiple innings per outing at Norfolk to work on his mechanics before pitching one-inning stints.

Awaiting Wieters

Trembley said he thinks the interest surrounding his new catcher is "great for the people that care about the Orioles. I think it is tremendous."

That didn't stop Trembley from having a little fun with the expected media and fan circus surrounding Matt Wieters, jokingly comparing it to Krzyzewski-ville, the makeshift community that sets up before big basketball games at Duke University.

"Is it going to be like Duke madness out there? People are going to be out with tents?" Trembley joked.

Arizona an option

According to a report from an Arizona TV station, the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority is planning to make a proposal to the Orioles to relocate their spring training home to Tucson as early as 2010.

"We've read the news report and would, of course, consider any proposal any community would want to make to us," said Greg Bader, the Orioles' director of communications.

The club has not renewed its one-year lease option for Fort Lauderdale Stadium and is negotiating with Florida cities Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota and Fort Myers.

Around the horn

Orioles top pitching prospect Chris Tillman, who was removed from his last start with Norfolk on Saturday because of groin tightness, was scratched from Thursday's outing and will be pushed back "a couple of days," club president Andy MacPhail said. ... The Orioles claimed left-hander David Davidson off waivers from the Florida Marlins and optioned him to Norfolk. He pitched in one game with the Marlins.

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