New Orioles right-hander Shawn Armstrong has been an Oriole for a week and a day now. He was claimed off waivers from Seattle on April 28 and has made two scoreless appearances for the club, pitching two innings.
He quickly got over feeling like the new kid in class and he said he had his teammates and really the entire organization to thank for that.
“The guys have been the best,” Armstrong said this afternoon. “(Paul) Fry and (David) Hess, as soon as I got here they kind of helped me out and I knew (Dylan) Bundy before here, I knew (Branden) Kline before coming here. But the guys have been so welcoming and so has the coaching staff.
“The staff, the front office, everybody has made this transition extremely easy for me. I can’t say enough about the organization and how easy they’ve made it for me and my family to come from Seattle to Baltimore. We’ve been welcomed with opens arms. It’s been awesome.”
Armstrong has a career 3.53 ERA and 1.241 WHIP in 59 games since 2015 with Cleveland, Seattle and Baltimore. He had a strong 2018 in the Mariners organization - pitching to an ERA of 1.77 in Triple-A where he went 15-for-17 in save chances and 1.23 in 14 2/3 innings with the big club.
But he gave up six runs in 3 1/3 this year before the Orioles claimed him. He dealt for about a month with an oblique issue.
“That actually happened March 16 and my first game back was April 12. It was a pretty major setback. I was back about 10 days earlier then we thought it was going to be. When you miss a month coming right out of spring training, you kind of have to hit that reset button. Considering it was on my left side and that is exactly where I kind of rotate with, that was tough. It took a little bit of time. But I’m very excited to be where I am now and working with these coaches,” he said.
Armstrong, in his limited big league innings in 2019, is throwing his four-seam fastball 56 percent of the time at an average velocity of 93.1. He has used a slider 26 percent and curveball 18 percent.
“I just like to really take the thinking out of it and work as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” he said. “Get into a rhythm on the mound. That is something Bundy did a really good job with the other day. He was very quick and his rhythm was the same every pitch and that is important for me too. You don’t want to think too much out there on the mound. You think too much, things go haywire. So focus on the glove and attack the zone. Try to get ahead on the first pitch.
“There is a lot of opportunity here. They are looking for young guys to fill roles. Whatever chance I get I want to take. Whatever I can do to help this team win,” he said in the clubhouse before tonight’s series-opener with the Boston Red Sox.