CINCINNATI A former Texas Rangers waiver claim who made his 2009 club debut in a jersey that belonged to another player, has come a long way, all the way to his first All-Star Game.
Now with Baltimore after the Rangers lost him on a waiver claim after an injury-plagued 2011 season, right-hander Darren O’Day has posted three straight seasons with an ERA no worse that 2.28 and is well on his way to another after posting a miniscule 1.07 first-half ERA.
Though he had thought that reaching an All-Star Game was a possibility in past seasons, with middle relievers getting selected more regularly, and he was floored when he learned he would be on in the American League bullpen for the 86th All-Star Game.
“I’m really glad to see that some of the middle relievers have been chosen for the team the past few years, and, obviously, I’ve been a beneficiary of that,” said O’Day, who had to wear a Kason Gabbard jersey in his first Rangers game April 22, 2009, at Toronto. “It’s such an honor to be picked out of the talent pool that we have now.”
The biggest difference in O’Day since his three seasons with the Rangers is health. He had a torn labrum in his left hip that required surgery in 2011, but has been healthy since. He has also figured out to add more movement to both fastballs he throws from just a little bit higher of an angle than a submariner.
Experience has paid off, too.
“I’ve learned quite a bit,” O’Day said. “If you have a couple bad outings in a run, when you’re young you read into it too much. When you know you’ve been through those peaks and valleys before, you just stay even-keel. So that and the years of situations I’ve been in and known I’ve gotten out of, and that helps me now.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760