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Orioles notebook: Reyes says 'it's going to be fun' to be part of turnaround

Jo-Jo Reyes

was trying not to think too much about what would happen. After being designated for assignment by the

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Toronto Blue Jays

on July 23, the 26-year-old left-hander went home to California and waited.

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"I was just concentrating on getting back to the form I was [in], just working out back home and figuring out what the problem was and just working on it," said Reyes, who was 5-8 with a 5.40 ERA in 20 starts this season. "Just getting ready for the unexpected and what team was going to pick me up."

On Tuesday, he got the call that he'd be staying in the

American League East

and joining the

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Orioles
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, whom he beat June 5 at

Camden Yards

.

"They are a young team, and I know they can hit," Reyes said of his new Orioles teammates. "They are a young group, and once it all comes together, it's going to be fun."

Reyes, a second-round selection of the

Atlanta Braves

' in 2003, has struggled at times commanding his fastball, which has gotten him into trouble. He allowed 15 runs in his last two starts, prompting Toronto to remove him from the 25-man roster.

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But the Orioles felt they had to take a chance on a power lefty who is 41-23 with a 3.51 ERA in 121 minor league games.

"Not many guys floating around the locker room carrying around as much minor league success as he's had," Orioles manager

Buck Showalter

said. "He hasn't been able to carry it over to this level yet. But you can say that about a lot of our guys. Keep in mind, this guy is only 26."

Reyes made his Orioles debut Wednesday night, entering in relief of

Brad Bergesen

, who had loaded the bases with just one out. Reyes induced

Alex Gordon

to fly out to center and got

Melky Cabrera

on a comebacker, getting out of the inning without allowing a run to score.

He may end up in the rotation, and Showalter mentioned him as a slight possibility for Saturday's open start. But he hasn't pitched since July 22, so he most likely will stay in the bullpen for a while.

Hendrickson to Norfolk

Veteran lefty

Mark Hendrickson

, who was 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in seven games, was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Reyes on the roster.

When the 37-year-old Hendrickson's contract was purchased July 9, the sides agreed he could be optioned to the minors instead of becoming a free agent if taken off the active roster. He will fly home to York, Pa., and spend time with his family before reporting to the Tides on Saturday or Sunday.

"I try to tell these young guys, too, that sometimes these moves, we don't always have to agree with them," Hendrickson said. "But until we want to hang up our spikes and go be a GM, then we just deal with them the best we can, and hopefully our families deal with them the best they can. You try to take something from every experience, whether it is good or bad, because it's kind of the nature of the business."

Showalter said there wasn't a need for a fourth lefty in the bullpen and

Troy Patton

(0-0, 4.15 ERA) has been pitching relatively well. Patton was thought to be a candidate to be sent out because he was supposed to leave the team to attend a hearing Thursday in Houston concerning his arrest on drunken-driving charges last winter. But the hearing was postponed until Aug. 29, so Hendrickson became the odd man out.

"Mark loves the Orioles; he's been a soldier for us," Showalter said. "And he'll be back. He's good people."

Britton ready for next start

Rookie

Zach Britton

, who allowed a combined 17 runs (13 earned) and didn't make it out of the first inning in either of his past two big league starts, will take the hill Thursday against the

Kansas City Royals

. He's hoping the work he has done since recording just one out in Saturday's bashing by the

New York Yankees

(nine runs, six earned, in one-third of an inning) will pay off.

"I was looking at my velocity, it's still the same. My movement on the pitches isn't the same," Britton said. "So now I got to concentrate more on throwing to locations instead of just letting my sinker go."

After that start, several veteran Orioles took Britton aside, including closer

Kevin Gregg

, who spoke with Britton for about two hours Sunday. The conversation has helped him narrow his focus and better plan what he wants to do in his next start.

"All the older guys I've talked to they feel like it's more of a mental approach, a preparation thing for me," he said. "You can only get by on talent for so long in the big leagues."

Hoes, Bundy win awards

Double-A Bowie infielder-outfielder

LJ Hoes

and Single-A Frederick right-hander

Bobby Bundy

were named the Orioles' organization's player and pitcher of the month for July.

Hoes, a Mitchellville resident, hit .349 with six doubles, four homers, 21 RBIs and seven stolen bases in July. The 2008 third-round pick made his debut for the Baysox on May 23. A second baseman in the lower minors, Hoes, 21, has played almost exclusively in left field for Bowie. He won last week's Eastern League Player of the Week award and built on that with two homers in Tuesday's doubleheader.

Bundy, 21, was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in July and was 11-5 with a 2.75 ERA in 20 starts for Frederick. His next start is expected to be for Bowie. An eighth-round choice in 2008, Bundy led the Carolina League in wins and was tied for fourth in strikeouts with 100.

Bundy is the older brother of the Orioles' top pick in the 2011 draft, Oklahoma high school right-hander

Dylan Bundy

.

Around the horn

Tommy Hunter

will make his first start for the Orioles on Friday at Camden Yards against the Blue Jays. He made his Orioles debut with one inning in relief Tuesday. … Saturday's starter is undetermined, but

Chris Tillman

and

Brad Bergesen

are the most likely candidates. … The Orioles signed

John Ruettiger

, their eighth-round pick from Arizona State. They have signed seven of their top 10, with the exception of Bundy (first),

Jason Esposito

(second) and

Nick Delmonico

(sixth). Ruettiger is the nephew of

Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger

of Notre Dame fame. … The club agreed to terms with 33-year-old right-hander

Willie Eyre

on a minor league contract, pending a physical. Eyre, who exercised his Aug. 1 out clause with the

Oakland Athletics

' organization, was 4-5 with a 3.48 ERA at Triple-A Sacramento. He is 5-6 with a 5.14 ERA in 92 major league games (two starts) with the

Texas Rangers

and

Minnesota Twins

. … Patton hopes to be able to leave the team after the Aug. 28 afternoon game, go to Houston for the court hearing and return by the night game Aug. 29. … Minor league catching instructor

Don Werner

, who has filled in as the big league bullpen coach, will return to the minors when the Orioles return to Camden Yards. Another interim replacement has not been named.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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