Last season showed promise from the former UMBC starter, who went 4-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 starts in double-A ball. He even made it up to triple-A Norfolk for a brief stint before settling in at Bowie. But not everything went according to plan in the off-season.
Clark went on the disabled list due to fatigue in his shoulder, and was reactivated on July 7. After a rehab stint with the GCL Orioles he would rejoin the Baysox in the bullpen, where he has been working on getting his "feel" back.
It has been a rough road back for Clark, who in 12 relief appearances in Bowie this year has a 5.40 ERA in 25 innings, plus batters are hitting .330 against him. But his last appearance gives a good sign, throwing three scoreless innings with four strikeouts, two hits and no walks in Bowie 6-2 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He pitched just two days before and is starting to adjust to a bullpen role.
"I felt a lot better, [pitching coach Larry McCall and I] keep talking about the feel, and I felt like I had it tonight; now I just have to keep it and be consistent with it," said Clark after the game.
Coach McCall felt that Clark showed some of his stuff that he had in 2008, but it is not known if Clark will attempt a start before the end of the season.
"It looked like he found it tonight. He's been throwing a lot in the bullpen and he's missed most of the year, but I thought he threw tonight like he did last year," said McCall.
Coming out of the bullpen for Bowie is different than what Clark is used to, and getting up and ready at a moments' notice has been a new task for Clark.
"It's a different mindset; I'm pretty methodical," said Clark, "it takes me a little bit to get going, and from the bullpen you just have to get up and ready. I wouldn't say it's been tough, but it's been different."
For now, Zach Clark will continue to be part of the bullpen as the Baysox keep fighting to get a playoff spot as the season winds down.