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Hernandez adjusting to bullpen role

Hernandez adjusting to bullpen role

TORONTO -- Orioles pitcher David Hernandez isn't going to lie -- the long-relief role he finds himself in isn't ideal.

"If you are the long man, you come in when the game's out of hand, either you are up by a bunch of runs or you are down by a bunch of runs," he said. "It doesn't really feel like something that I would want to do, but if that's what [the Orioles] want me to do, you can't say no."

Hernandez, who was taken out of the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen on Tuesday, said he understands the organization's approach to ease him into a relief role. He just hopes he can pitch his way to more of a late-inning role.

"At this point, I don't want to be considered a long man," Hernandez said. "I want the ball in tough situations with the game on the line."

"Hopefully sometime in the future I get a chance to do something else."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley didn't rule out the option of using Hernandez in more pressurized scenarios down the road, but the intent right now is to utilize Hernandez as a long man given his lack of experience in relief and the endurance he has built up from starting.

Hernandez made his debut out of the 'pen in Friday's 5-0 loss to Toronto, pitching two scoreless innings following starter Kevin Millwood. A power pitcher, Hernandez (1-5) struck out three and allowed two hits in the 30-pitch outing, lowering his ERA to 5.08.

"He had good command of his fastball," Trembley said. "He looked comfortable, he threw strikes [and he] needed to pitch. We'll see how he does next time."

For Hernandez, getting the first outing out of the way helped quell any nerves and building anticipation. He said he had ample time to warm up on Friday and didn't have to worry about pitch count or pacing himself. Instead, he simply attacked the strike zone with a fastball that topped out at 95 mph.

"Coming out of the bullpen, you don't really have to worry about setting up hitters, because most of the time you are going to see them once," Hernandez said. "Especially if they haven't seen you for the whole game -- your stuff can kind of sneak up on them."

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