Needing a fresh arm after position player Stevie Wilkerson had to pitch the last two innings last night, the Orioles today recalled pitcher Branden Kline from Triple-A Norfolk as outfielder Keon Broxton was designated for assignment.
Kline is back to try and unlock the key to major league success. In three previous stints in the bigs this year, he is 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA over 20 games. Over his past 11 big league games, his ERA is 10.03 over 11 2/3 innings.
“Really trying to get ahead and attack the zone,” he said this morning in the Orioles clubhouse. “Stay aggressive for the most part and I was working on that down there. So things are going pretty well. I was able to make some adjustments mechanically and excited to see how it translates up here.
“It’s just opportunity, and as a young player, that is all you can ask for. We’re in a situation where we can showcase what we can do, and if we’re doing well, we can stay up here. If not, we need to go down and work on some things. The mindset to have is it’s a great opportunity to be here and I definitely want to stay here.”
Kline earned his first - and so far, his only - major league win on May 1 at Chicago over the White Sox. He has not allowed any of the 10 runners he has inherited to score and his ERA is 1.93 in seven day games.
The 27-year-old Frederick, Md., native has gone 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA this season in 13 games between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. He can throw a mid-to-upper 90s fastball, but has seen that pitch get squared up by big league hitters when not located well. So the secondary stuff is always going to be important.
“It’s always a priority to mix in the off-speed,” he said. “I’ve found that up here guys can hit fastballs pretty well. But it’s really just being able to stay ahead. When I fall behind, hitters can look for one pitch in one spot - and the majority of the time it’s a fastball. Any time I can flip in an off-speed pitch - whether ahead or behind in the count - that really helps me out. Really I just need to be ahead 0-1, 0-2.
“It’s about in-game adjustments. That is the biggest thing I’ve realized up here. These guys are so good at pitch-to-pitch adjustments, so you have to do that as well. Like I said, I’ve been working on some things and hoping it translates. Excited to get back out there.”