O'Day provides O's bullpen with versatility

O'Day provides O's bullpen with versatility

CHICAGO -- Some of the biggest outs in Monday's 3-2 Orioles' win came from reliever Darren O'Day, who tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings following starter Wei-Yin Chen, stranding a pair of inherited runners along the way.

O'Day -- who entered one out into the sixth inning with runners on the corners -- kept the White Sox at bay, getting a popup and making a heads-up throw to nab Alex Rios on an attempt to steal second to strand the potential tying run at third. The 29-year-old O'Day also pitched out of a two-out double in the seventh, getting Brent Morel to strike out to keep the Orioles' one-run lead intact.

"Even compared to Spring Training, my hip feels much better," said O'Day, who is about a year removed from surgery to repair a partially torn labrum on his left hip. "[I'm] locating my pitches again, so as long as I can do that I should be able to get outs."

With three consecutive scoreless outings under his belt, O'Day -- who has a 1.80 season ERA -- is finally fully recovered from the surgery, which he tried to come back from in just two months. Prior to the injury, O'Day had a 2.02 ERA in parts of three seasons with Texas, recording 104 strikeouts and 33 walks in 125 innings. His return was ugly -- eight earned runs, including six homers over 9 1/3 innings, and a second disabled list trip. The Orioles plucked O'Day off the waiver wire from Texas and the self-taught sidearmer was one of the final roster decisions this spring.

"We did some homework on the physical stuff and you never know ... but we felt like he had gotten a lot of it behind him," manager Buck Showalter said. "And we all know what Darren's capable of when he's healthy.

"He does some things that a lot of guys from that arm angle don't do to left-handers, and really can't do. But he can, and he's a real smart guy, obviously. He knows that when you got right-left-left, the ability keep that, the left-hander, from doing major damage at that arm angle is big for a manager."

"I do pride myself on that," said O'Day, whose only critique in Monday's outing was allowing Alejandro De Aza a double. "They aren't going to put me in against five lefties in a row, but if there's some lefties in there I can get them out."

O'Day is part of an Orioles' relief corps that has been impressive to start the season, particularly on the first half of the road trip. The Orioles' bullpen entered Tuesday with a 2.20 ERA, having allowed just four earned runs over 16 1/3 innings in the five games prior.

"I like the way they are handling it," O'Day said of the bullpen usage. "It's not the same guy every night. In a long season we are not going to be able to pitch two, three guys late in the game, everybody's got to be able to do it. So, everybody's getting their chances, everybody's stepping up, so that gives the next guy confidence."