O's Hunter sent to Triple-A after shaky start

O's Hunter sent to Triple-A after shaky start

TORONTO -- After his shortest outing of the season, which continued a string of six consecutive starts without a win, Tommy Hunter was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday.

Hunter lasted three-plus innings in Monday's series opener to Toronto, allowing six runs -- five earned -- on nine hits to drop to 2-3 on the season with a 5.59 ERA.

The last time Hunter picked up a win was April 24 against the Blue Jays, and he was well aware that his spot in the rotation was anything but a guarantee following the start.

"It's a really rough stretch," Hunter said postgame. "As soon as I can figure out how to throw a fastball down in the zone, things are going to change. It's a battle right now. I'm struggling. It's one of those things, you've got to find it, or somebody else is going to do it."

He had more to say, specifically about how poorly he has thrown at Rogers Centre over his career. In five outings, including four starts, he is 0-3, with a 7.44 ERA.

"[Rogers Centre] is sickening for me. It's something you're going to have to overcome if you want to continue your career. That's the bottom line."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter made no promises that Hunter would be back up with Baltimore, regardless of his results. More than anything, there are a few specific things that Showalter would like to see out of the 25-year-old right-hander.

"It's about fastball command and it's about some other things, too," Showalter said. "I think it will relieve some anxiety. He has pitched some good innings, good games for us. It just hasn't been at a consistent level and he's making a lot of mistakes with his fastball. We thought this was a good opportunity to see if he can at least regain it back at that level."

Showalter said he expected Hunter to make his first start with Norfolk on Saturday.