BALTIMORE (AP) — Jake Arrieta couldn’t get his mind right on the mound and had difficulty throwing pitches over the plate, and now the Baltimore Orioles right-hander will attempt to rectify those shortcomings in the minor leagues.
Arrieta was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday, one day after he walked five and hit a batter over four-plus innings in a 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Baltimore recalled right-hander Alex Burnett from Norfolk to fill out a weary bullpen. Burnett was claimed off waivers from Toronto on April 12.
Although Arrieta gave up only two hits against the Dodgers, he was charged with five runs and needed 91 pitches to get 12 outs. Arrieta, 27, is 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts and has walked 16 in 19 innings.
“I just wasn’t doing my job well enough. That’s the bottom line,” he said before clearing out his locker. “The team needs me to be better.”
Arrieta’s discussion with manager Buck Showalter on Monday centered upon the pitcher getting his mind right.
“We talked about high anxiety situations and he pretty much asked me, `Why do you have high anxiety in any situation with the stuff you have?”‘ Arrieta said. “Basically, I told him that I just want to be what my team needs me to be. Sometimes I create the anxiety for myself. So I just need to limit that.”
Arrieta retired the first six batters he faced Sunday, but it all came apart after that.
“I let previous instances creep up in my thought process sometimes,” he said. “I think that’s where things go awry and that’s where the walks come in. I’m not giving up many hits, just putting them on base for free. I’ve just got to command the ball better in the strike zone. That’s pretty much it.”
Showalter said, “The thing he’s got to solve is the mental side of it. He knows he can help this club win. We know he can.”
The Orioles played a doubleheader Saturday and got only four innings from Arrieta on Sunday, so the bullpen needed another arm. To make room for Burnett, Arrieta had to go.
“He’s being sent out because we need a pitcher in the bullpen,” Showalter insisted. “We needed an arm.”
Burnett was 4-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 67 appearances with Minnesota in 2012. He had three scoreless appearances for the Tides this season.
“It’s been going well, and I’ve been pitching pretty good,” Burnett said. “I’m happy with the way things are going right now.”
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)