The newest member of the Baltimore Orioles, relief pitcher Ryan O’Rourke has a strange pre-game routine – he throws up before every appearance.
That, in and of itself, is nothing particularly noteworthy. O’Rourke, 29, has a bit of major league experience, pitching a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings for the Twins last year, and as a left-handed reliever will likely see some time in the majors as the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen needs lefties.
But that’s not the most notable thing about O’Rourke, rather, it’s his strange pre-game ritual – he throws up before just about every appearance he has on the mound.
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“It just happens,” O’Rourke told the Pioneer Press back in February. “I’m pretty pumped up out there. I think everything is culminating as I’m getting ready for my big moment, whether it’s energy or what. I like the competitive aspect. I think this is just a way for me to release a little bit of my nerves.”
That’s right, he throws up before just about every appearance he makes, and according to O’Rourke, he’s been doing it since he was in high school. “I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” he said. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”
His teammate from the Twins, Phil Hughes, did not seem to share O’Rourke’s casual attitude about the ritual:
Now, I’m not going to say it works, but O’Rourke did have a pretty successful year last year. Along with his 3.96 ERA, he led the Minnesota Twins with a 1.12 WHIP. Now, that season came along with a .238 BABIP and a 4.28 xFIP, so there’s reason to believe there was some luck involved.
It’s not a surprise that the Baltimore Orioles would sign someone like O’Rourke. They’ve previously said that they were interested in acquiring some left-handed relievers, which makes sense, given that their bullpen has just three lefties in Zach Britton, Richard Bleier, and Donnie Hart.
We previously covered five left-handed relievers that the Baltimore Orioles could pursue, but adding O’Rourke to their minor leagues likely means that he’ll be up at some point during the year if the Orioles feel that they need one more left-handed reliever in the bullpen.
O’Rourke isn’t a bad pitcher, if anything he’s fairly unremarkable. He throws a 90 MPH fastball along with a slider, curveball, and changeup.
He’s a fly ball pitcher too, which might not work out too well in the American League East, but he does have the ability to generate some strikeouts, as he has a 9.19 K/9 on his career so far.