Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first. Rick VandenHurk is wearing No. 54. Kyle Hudson is wearing No. 51.
VandenHurk was 9-13 with a 4.43 ERA in 26 starts with Triple-A Norfolk. He’s 8-10 with a 5.86 ERA in 42 major league games, including 33 starts, with the Marlins and Orioles.
VandenHurk was outrighted during spring training because he was still challenged to throw strikes. The Orioles officially purchased his contract today after he walked 40 and struck out 108 in 154 1/3 innings with the Tides.
“I think it was really good for me, just figuring out some stuff and learning a lot about myself. I’m here again and just very happy for this opportunity,” he said today.
“You try to take what you’ve done down there, take it up here and continue to pitch well.”
Asked more about what he achieved at Norfolk, VandenHurk replied, “A little bit of everything. Becoming a complete pitcher, getting the experience, being out there every five days and trying to pitch deep into games. Learning how to pitch deep in games, how to deal with certain situations. You’ve got to learn how to do that.
“This is the first year I’ve stayed in one place for the whole season and I think it was really, really good for me. I learned a lot from it and took a lot of it. I’m very happy, and to get called up, that’s just icing on the cake right now. It’s great.”
VandenHurk allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his last three starts.
“I think compared to other starts, I was able to limit the damage,” he said. “Also, my angle on my pitches got better toward the end of the year. Just getting on top of my pitches where I would create the angle with my height. Early in the year I wasn’t doing that and I think my stuff was a little bit more flat. I think that helped a lot.”
Manager Buck Showalter told reporters that VandenHurk will be used out of the bullpen “for now.”
The Orioles are contemplating calling up another player for their expanded roster, depending on how he feels today. No name was provided, but we’re assuming it’s third baseman Josh Bell, who sprained his left ankle a few nights ago.
The Orioles are scrambling to get Hudson a passport for their trip to Toronto.
It took Showalter 1 hour, 15 minutes to get here from his Baltimore County home because of the Grand Prix traffic that’s paralyzed an entire city and its surrounding areas. While meeting with reporters around 11 a.m., he noted that three players and the umpires hadn’t made it to Camden Yards.
Short-season Single-A Aberdeen pitching coach Scott McGregor will serve as the Orioles’ bullpen coach for the rest of the season. He’ll join the team in New York.