Hernandez confident for Seattle rematch

Hernandez set for Seattle rematch

SEATTLE -- David Hernandez was in search of some Major League confidence, and it looks like he might have gotten it in his last start.

The Orioles' hard-throwing rookie right-hander went into the hostile environment of Anaheim against the daunting lineup of the Angels and emerged with a victory and the longest outing of his five-game big league career.

Hernandez went 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits while striking out two. He also said he reveled in the feeling that he finally belonged at the highest level of baseball.

"It gives you all the confidence in the world knowing that you can pitch against one of the top teams in all of baseball," Hernandez said. "They have a great lineup, 1-9, and to get into the seventh inning against them -- and eventually we won the game -- that's definitely good."

On Wednesday afternoon, Hernandez will meet the Mariners in Safeco Field for the second time this year, and he'll try to make it a better experience than it was on June 2, when he was tagged for five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. His Angel Stadium win should help, he said.

"It's definitely a lot easier coming off a good start," Hernandez said. "You build confidence. I've already faced Seattle. It wasn't great, so I'm just trying to come back and hopefully throw a good game and give our team a chance to win."

Hernandez said his progression has been related to a simple concept.

"For me, it was basically getting my off-speed pitches over for strikes, and being able to throw my fastball to both sides of the plate was really key," Hernandez said. "It was basically a mechanical issue, not being able to repeat my mechanics over and over, and it helped. That's from throwing bullpen side sessions and getting your work in."

Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun caught Hernandez in his big league debut on May 28, a win over Detroit, and will be behind the plate again on Wednesday. He said he likes what he's seen from Hernandez so far.

"He's got a swing-and-miss fastball, so guys seem to have a hard time squaring him up," Zaun said. "It's pretty much the same as most of the other young guys. It's repeating their delivery, staying in the strike zone, and trusting that his stuff's good enough. Because he's got good stuff.

He's got a plus fastball, good breaking ball and changeup, and when he pounds the strike zone, he puts pressure on the hitters. That's something we'd like to see a lot more of."

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP David Hernandez (2-2, 4.15 ERA)
Hernandez turned in perhaps his best start in his last outing at Angel Stadium. The right-hander made just one mistake in that game -- a two-run homer by Kendry Morales -- and later said it actually came on a good pitch. Hernandez, a strikeout artist in the Minors, has yet to strike out more than three batters in a big league start.

SEA: LHP Jason Vargas (3-3, 4.14 ERA)
The left-hander battled a flu bug most of the night prior to his last start against the Yankees, but he felt good enough to pitch and took the game to the fifth inning. He was perspiring heavily during the outing but said he felt good and was pleased with holding the Bronx Bombers to four runs. Vargas has faced the Orioles twice this season, receiving a no-decision on June 3, when he held Baltimore to two runs over 5 1/3 innings, and absorbing the loss in a 3-1 Mariners defeat six days later in Baltimore.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley announced prior to Tuesday's game that he would skip Rich Hill's scheduled start Saturday at home against Toronto and instead realign the rotation so that Jason Berken starts on Friday, Brad Bergesen takes the ball on Saturday and Jeremy Guthrie starts Sunday. "I think Toronto is more of a right-handed-hitting club and we'll go with the right-handers," Trembley said. "That gives us Hill in the bullpen during this time." Trembley wouldn't say if Hill would rejoin the starting rotation in Chicago after the All-Star break. "Kranny [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] and I will get together when we're home to see how it's going to fall after all those days off with the All-Star break," Trembley said. "But we've got a ways yet before we have to consider that." Hill, who has compiled a 3-2 record and a 7.43 ERA, said he's not too concerned about it. "You want to go out there and start," Hill said. "I definitely do want to start. That's not something that I look at it and say, 'Oh well, OK.' I just don't want to pass up a start. But it's not because I can't start. I definitely want to take the ball and start as many times as possible. It's something I've always prided myself on it, being ready every five days to take the ball and compete." ... Right-hander Koji Uehara, on the disabled list since June 27 with right elbow tendinitis, got a second opinion in New York that confirmed the first opinion. He will not have surgery, according to president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. "Dr. [John] Wilkins was optimistic about getting him back on a throwing program once the proper amount of rest had taken place," MacPhail said. "I think we have to sort of take that by ear, but as soon as Koji doesn't feel any more tenderness, we'll move along." ... Shortstop Cesar Izturis (appendicitis) went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in Double-A Bowie's 6-0 win over Harrisburg on Tuesday. He's still on track to be ready to play on Friday in Baltimore. Even more impressive for Bowie was starter Brian Matusz, the Orioles' first-round selection (fourth overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. The 22-year-old left-hander gave up one hit in eight shutout innings, striking out 11. He is 4-0 with an 0.34 ERA with Bowie this year. Hitters are batting .122 against him. ... Trembley said reliever Dennis Sarfate (circulatory condition) will throw a two-inning simulated game on Wednesday, "and if that all goes well, then he'll go on a rehab assignment."

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Up next
• Wednesday: Orioles (David Hernandez, 2-2, 4.15) vs. Mariners (Jason Vargas, 3-3, 4.14), 4:40 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off day
• Friday: Orioles (Jason Berken, 1-5, 6.25) vs. Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, 2-1, 6.23), 7:05 p.m. ET

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.