Uehara returns from hamstring injury

Uehara returns from hamstring injury

BALTIMORE -- After spending all of June on the disabled list with a nagging left hamstring injury, Orioles pitcher Koji Uehara is ready to make his return to the mound in the series finale against the Mariners on Thursday.

"Koji will be the guy [Thursday]," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said before Wednesday's game. "I spoke to [general manager] Andy [McPhail] today and we'll have to make a move. I don't know what it is right now. We'll make it [Thursday] before the game."

Uehara was placed on the team's disabled list in late May for a hamstring injury that has pestered him for the better part of a decade. Uehara was also suffering from dehydration, something he said will not be a problem. For him, it will be nice to finally get back out on the mound.

"Our head trainer gave me some advice on how to hydrate myself, so I've been following that," Uehara said through translator Ji Won Bang. "Obviously, I'm really looking forward to starting [Thursday]. For the past week or so, the starting pitching has been really good, so I just want to keep up the flow and do my best."

The decision over who to send out to make room for Uehara will likely come down to right-handed pitchers Jason Berken or David Hernandez.

Berken is 1-2 this season with a 7.04 ERA. Those numbers are a bit deceiving, however. After his first two starts, Berken's ERA was just 2.25. It was his most recent start on June 6 at Oakland in which the rookie allowed nine earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings.

Fellow rookie Hernandez is 1-1 on the year with a 3.95 ERA. He has started and appeared in relief for the Orioles, pitching 2 2/3 innings in Berken's start on Saturday.

Uehara's start is also notable because he will pitch against fellow Japanese player Ichiro Suzuki. The two have never faced each other.

As far as how long Uehara will last, Trembley said he spoke with pitching coach Jerry Kranitz, who said the best thing to do was see what happens.

"Being a pitching guy, [Kranitz] said, 'Just let him pitch,'" Trembley said. "If he gets 75, 80 pitches, I'll be happy. We'll see how he feels."

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Koji Uehara (2-3, 4.09 ERA)
Uehara will be coming off the disabled list (strained left hamstring) to make this start. The Orioles are reluctant to make it official until they need to make a corresponding move. Uehara hasn't pitched since May 23, when he left the game against the Washington Nationals after three scoreless innings. He's 0-3 over his past seven starts, last winning on April 13. He's pitched better than his record. Throw out the seven runs he allowed in a win over the Texas Rangers, and his ERA is 3.15. He's allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of his nine starts.

SEA: LHP Garrett Olson (0-1, 4.39 ERA)
The original plan was for left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith to return to the starting rotation in the series finale against the Orioles, but he had such a rocky rehab outing at Triple-A Tacoma that he remained in the Minors for at least one more start. It is now expected that Olson will face the Orioles after spending time in the bullpen, where he performed swell. He has made three starts this season with so-so results. He's not overpowering, so he needs to keep the ball down and move it around the strike zone to be effective.

Seattle second baseman Jose Lopez had his third career multi-home run game. The last player to hit multiple home runs in the same game against the Orioles was Clete Thomas on May 30, also against Jeremy Guthrie. ... Guthrie has now allowed a league-high 16 home runs this season. Philadelphia's Brett Myers leads the Majors with 17 allowed. ... Brian Roberts has now doubled in back-to-back games after not recording a double in 10 straight games.

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Up next
• Friday: Orioles (Jason Berken, 1-2, 7.04) vs. Braves (Tommy Hanson, 0-0, 9.00), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (Rich Hill, 2-1, 5.24) vs. Braves (Kenshin Kawakami, 3-6, 4.62), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 3-2, 4.04) vs. Braves (Derek Lowe, 7-3, 3.44), 1:35 p.m. ET

Brian Eller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.