Ramon Ramirez: From Tacoma to Sarasota to Norfolk to Baltimore

For 32-year-old right-hander Ramon Ramirez, the last few weeks have been a little crazy.

He got released from Seattle's Triple-A team, the Tacoma Rainiers, after pitching just 4 1/3 innings there.

In late May, the Orioles agreed with him on a minor league contract. On June 2, he had his O's physical, passed it, was officially signed and then reported to Sarasota, Fla. On June 16, he was pitching at Triple-A Norfolk, and last night he was back in the major leagues, pitching the ninth inning for the Orioles against Texas.
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Ramirez was added to the roster yesterday, and he didn't even arrive at Camden Yards until 8:30 p.m., last night. About an 1 1/2 hour later, he was facing Carlos Pena in the top of the ninth. He struck him out and went on to walk one and record another strikeout in a scoreless, 15-pitch inning.

"I was a little surprised (to get the call-up)," Ramirez said today in the O's clubhouse. "I feel happy to be here, this is a great team. I'm excited to be here and to prove I can throw here."

Ramirez is no rookie. The Dominican Republic native has pitched in the majors with Colorado, Kansas City, Boston, San Francisco and the New York Mets. He was originally signed by Texas in 1996.

Ramirez is 23-21 with a 3.42 ERA over his big league career. He has been exclusively a reliever, pitching 434 2/3 innings over 423 games and allowing 370 hits with 190 walks and 364 strikeouts.

He was with Seattle and now he's an Oriole.

"They give me a release. I was there for a month and then I got picked up by Baltimore," he said. "I'm a little surprised to be here. I didn't think I would pitch yesterday, but I threw."

After last night's game, manager Buck Showalter said he introduced himself to Ramirez. He said it was the first time he'd ever first met a player after he had played in a game for him.

Ramirez said he knows a few players in the O's clubhouse, naming Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz.

"Jimenez told me yesterday that he didn't know I signed with the team but he's happy I'm here," he said. "Happy to see me."

Ramirez clearly impressed some people after just five games with Norfolk. Over eight innings, he allowed no runs and five hits, with no walks and 14 strikeouts. Left-handed batters went 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts against him at Triple-A.

What was the key for him at Norfolk?

"Control. I try to keep my control and pitch down and throw strikes," he said. "Get that first out can be the key."

Maybe he'll get into tonight's game. At least he knows he will be here at first pitch this time.

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