Hunter back with club to bol­ster ’pen

Drake brought up; McFar­land, Bor­bon des­ig­nated for as­sign­ment

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­ twit­­oli

NEW YORK — In an ef­fort to bol­ster their bullpen and stem their re­lief corps’ re­cent swoon, the Orioles signed free agent Tommy Hunter and added re­liever Oliver Drake (Navy) from Triple-A Nor­folk ahead of Sun­day’s game.

“We need some arms,” man­ager Buck Showal­ter said be­fore the Orioles faced the NewYork Yan­kees. “Weknewwe could get through one day, and we knew we were go­ing to go to seven to­day. [Ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent] Dan [ Du­quette] and I talked a lot about how we prob­a­bly needed two. But Tommy was avail­able, and we got him.”

Showal­ter said Hunter, who was with the Orioles from 2011 un­til last year’s trade dead­line, brings ex­pe­ri­ence. He was most re­cently re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing with the Cleve­land In­di­ans’ Triple-A af­fil­i­ate af­ter suf­fer­ing a back injury car­ry­ing his new­born son down­stairs. He had a 3.74 ERA for the In­di­ans, and also missed part of the sea­son af­ter hav­ing three off­sea­son core-mus­cle surg­eries.

“He’s done some work on his health, had some chal­lenges that he seems to have be­hind him,” Showal­ter said. “We didn’t have to give up a player, and we like Tommy’s makeup. He’s been in this di­vi­sion be­fore, and it’s a pretty seam­less fit for our locker room. If you look at what’s avail­able this time of year, Tommy, we felt for­tu­nate to add him.”

“I’m thrilled,” said Hunter, who was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2015 for out­fielder Ju­nior Lake. “Some of my best friends are in there. So, it’s been a wild year and a half. It was pretty ex­cit­ing times in our house­hold last night.”

Hunter and Drake, who Showal­ter said has been “pitch­ing good” in Nor­folk, can help an Orioles bullpen that pitched102⁄ in­nings over the first two games of the se­ries in New York.

To make room for them on the ros­ter, and for Hunter on the 40-man ros­ter, left-han­der T.J. McFar­land and out­fielder Julio Bor­bon were des­ig­nated for as­sign­ment. Showal­ter in­di­cated that both re­main in the Orioles’ plans if they pass through waivers. Pearce pulled as arm acts up: Mak­ing his first start in right field since suf­fer­ing a strained flexor mass in his right el­bow area three weeks ago, out­fielder Steve Pearce left the game Sun­day af­ter ag­gra­vat­ing the injury on a check swing.

Pearce al­ready had recorded an out­field as­sist on a throw from right field to third base and driven in three runs with three hits, in­clud­ing a sixth-in­ning home run, when util­ity man Ryan Fla­herty took over for him in right field to start the eighth in­ning.

“He had a lit­tle sting there on the one checked swing right be­fore the home run,” Showal­ter said. “The throw didn’t bother him much, but I didn’t want to [risk it]… But he’s fine.”

“You know, CC [ Sa­bathia] had some good stuff out there to­day and some late break on some stuff,” Pearce said. “I just took a cou­ple of hard checks back to back and kind of ag­gra­vated it. I told [Showal­ter] I was still able to go out there, but he made it very clear that we were go­ing to try and get out in front of this thing and not let it flare up again.”

The pos­si­bil­ity of wors­en­ing the injury wasn’t worth the risk, they de­cided, though his start in right field was a sign that they had a good idea of what shape his arm was in.

Pearce had spent a week rest­ing it, with the help of a cor­ti­sone shot, af­ter suf­fer­ing the injury Aug. 7 in Chicago, and re­turned to the out­field as a left fielder last week. Around the horn: Showal­ter said right-han­der Chris Till­man (shoul­der bur­si­tis) had his flat-ground ses­sion moved up from Tues­day to to­day be­cause he feels so good. Showal­ter said he’d make public Till­man’s schedule af­ter the ses­sion to­day, but he es­ti­mated that he won’t be back un­til Sept. 9 or10. ... Cen­ter fielder Adam Jones might have played Sun­day if it had been a night game, Showal­ter said, but the quick turn­around with a 1 p.m. start was a big rea­son for in keep­ing him out of the lineup for the sec­ond straight day.

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