Orioles turning Zach Clark into knuckleballer

Orioles turning Zach Clark into knuckleballer
May 6, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Zach Clark (64) pitches to the Seattle Mariners during the 5th inning at Safeco Field.

(Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)

Buck Showalter convinced R.A. Dickey to try a knuckleball. That move jumpstarted Dickey’s career. Now, the Orioles are going to try it again with a less renowned pitcher.

Zach Clark, who made his Orioles debut last week after eight seasons in the minor leagues, was outrighted to Bowie on Monday. He was dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for Freddy Garcia on Saturday.

Clark will be turned into a knuckleballer with the help of a Hall of Famer Phil Niekro.

Niekro rode the knuckleball to more than 300 big league wins, and he’ll be working with Clark when he reports to Bowie on Thursday, according to Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.

“Zach is an experienced capable pitcher and has always had a good knuckleball which he will now throw in competition,” Duquette wrote in a text message.

Clark will be the Baysox’s second knuckleballer, joining Eddie Gamboa, who’s 0-2 with a 3.82 ERA in six starts.

Niekro has already worked with Gamboa.