Chris Ray has not had too many good days during this 2009 season. When he looks at the stat sheet he sees an ERA of 7.16.
But there have been better days lately. Ray has not allowed an earned run over his last seven games, covering 8 1/3 innings.
"I feel good," the 27-year-old right hander said. "It's a lot easier to pitch when your arm doesn't hurt. I'm on a pretty good roll right now and hope I can keep it up. I've been more consistent lately."
Ray did not pitch in the Majors at all last year after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in August of 2007. Then in early July this year he went on the DL with right biceps tendonitis.
But now he feels healthy and is throwing well. Ray said he got fooled earlier this year when he was pitching great at spring training.
"I think I got a false sense of hope, going through spring training not giving up a run. Looking at the video now, my arm was down during that time. I was pitching later in the game vs. Double and Triple-A guys, so that gave me a false sense of security before the season started."
Some observers feels Ray will often have problems repeating his delivery and getting a consistent arm slot, because he has a rather active pitching motion. Ray does not buy that theory.
"It wasn't an issue before my injury. Now that we've gotten everything in my shoulder taken care of, it shouldn't be a problem again."
Ray saved 33 games for the 2006 Orioles. Manager Dave Trembley has said Ray could be a candidate for late-inning relief again next season.
"Right now I'm just concentrating on consistency," Ray said. "This year with young guys in the rotation, we need guys to eat up innings. I'm fine with that this year because you go into less pressure situations and can get into a groove. As for next year and beyond, I don't have any control over it, so I'm fine with any role."