- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2009

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Baltimore Orioles activated pitcher Koji Uehara from the 15-day disabled list and started him Thursday night against Seattle.

To make room for Uehara, the Orioles optioned pitcher David Hernandez to Triple-A Norfolk.

Uehara was put on the disabled list on May 27 with a strained left hamstring. He entered Thursday night with a 2-3 record and 4.09 ERA.

“Koji is active and I expect a good game out of him,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. “I think he’s raring to go. He’s been ready for a few days. I expect him to pitch well.”

Trembley was unsure how long Uehara would be able to pitch, but said there was no predetermined pitch count for the right-hander.

“We’ll watch him and he’ll tell us how he’s doing. Not verbally, but by how he’s pitching,” Trembley said.

Uehara had hamstring problems while pitching in the Nippon Baseball League in Japan and Trembley admitted the Orioles had some concerns about his durability.

“I think we had a pretty good idea that there were some issues with his legs coming in,” Trembley said. “We’ve tried to do the best we can with limiting his pitches and giving him an extra day’s rest. My goal is to make sure he’s around to pitch in August and September.”

Uehara was a reliever with the Yomiuri Giants in 2007. Trembley said starting for Baltimore is one of many adjustments the 34-year-old pitcher has needed to make.

“He’s used to pitching in a domed stadium. He needs to acclimate himself to the weather,” Trembley said. “This has been a whole transformation for him, I don’t think that is any secret.”

Hernandez won his major league debut against Detroit on May 28, allowing just one run through 5 2-3 innings. He had three total appearances, going 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA.

“David did a nice job while he was here. We look forward to getting him back at some point,” Trembley said. “He has good velocity and his changeup has improved. He is very good out of the stretch and his delivery out of the windup has gotten better.”

Trembley said there was no thought to keeping the 24-year-old Hernandez in the bullpen. Hernandez was set to start for Norfolk against Indianapolis on Sunday.

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