Shintaro Fujinami allows homer, then impresses in Orioles debut

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles activated Shintaro Fujinami before Friday night's game at Tampa Bay, two days after acquiring the Japanese right-hander from Oakland for left-hander Easton Lucas.

Fujinami signed a $3.25 million, one-year deal with the Athletics in January after spending 10 years with the Hanshin Tigers.

The deal has Fujinami going from the team with the worst record in baseball to one with the AL's top mark.

"A little nervous," Fujinami said through a translator before the game. "I mean, a lot more people watching the game."

Fujinami made his Orioles debut in a 3-0 loss to the Rays, giving up a homer to Jose Siri on his first pitch in the seventh inning. He rebounded to retire his next three batters.

"Got ambushed there that first pitch," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. "But after that, wow. I thought he had great stuff. Throwing over 100 [mph]. He's got a really nice split."

"Siri came out of the on-deck circle ready to swing," Hyde added. "The guy's first pitch with us. For being on a flight all night last night, he pitched great after that."

Siri through a translator said he was looking for a first-pitch fastball.

Fujinami went 5-8 with an 8.57 ERA in 34 games with Oakland. He began the season as a starter but was shifted to the bullpen in late April.

In his last 18 appearances with the A's, he went 4-3 with a 3.20 ERA.

"I wasn't feeling very comfortable with my pitching mechanics at the beginning of the season," Fujinami said.

Fujinami's fastball reaches triple-digits.

"I'm excited to have him," Hyde said. "His stuff is really good. Pitching really well in his last 10, 15 appearances."

The Orioles optioned right-hander Logan Gillaspie to Triple-A Norfolk.