Orioles RHP Arrieta to face Yankees on Thursday
Forty miles up the road from where Stephen Strasburg made his memorable major league debut, Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Jake Arrieta will launch his big league career Thursday night against the New York Yankees.
Although Arrieta's debut at Camden Yards won't receive the attention given to Strasburg on Tuesday, the Orioles have long anticipated the right-hander's arrival in the big leagues.
``We feel that he's one of the big guys that we'll be counting on in the future,'' interim manager Juan Samuel said. ``Why not bring him?''
Arrieta, 24, was drafted by Baltimore in the fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft. He was rated the Orioles' fourth-best prospect before the 2010 season by Baseball America.
Arrieta is 6-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 12 appearances with Triple-A Norfolk this season. His lone relief stint occurred Saturday, which means he will be facing the Yankees coming off a customary four days of rest.
The Orioles also wanted to give starters Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz an extra day off. Guthrie is now slated to start Friday against the New York Mets and Matusz will go Saturday.
``Any time we can give those guys an extra day, I'm sure that they'll welcome it,'' Samuel said.
Facing the defending World Series champions is no easy task for any pitcher, let alone a rookie in his debut. But the Orioles figured the time was right for Arrieta.
``I know we're going to throw him in the fire against these guys, but hey, we don't get to pick who we play or who we face,'' Samuel said. ``It's a challenge for him. We'll see how he reacts.''
In his last start with Norfolk, Arrieta allowed one run and five hits to Rochester over a season-high eight innings. Batters are hitting only .189 against him, and he has 64 strikeouts compared to only 34 walks in 73 innings.
The Orioles will make a corresponding roster move Thursday when Arrieta formally joins the 25-man roster.