The Orioles' trade with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday that added left-handed reliever Andrew Miller to the bullpen was received with positive reviews in the clubhouse, both for what he does on the mound and what he won't be doing anymore.
Miller, a tough setup man who can get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out, was 3-5 with a 2.34 ERA in 50 appearances for the Red Sox. The Orioles, however, don't need to see Miller's statistics to know how good he is, since he has retired them with regularity.
Members of the current Orioles roster have combined to bat just .167 against Miller with one homer and five RBIs in 54 at-bats. The left-handed hitters have just three hits in 24 at-bats. Nick Markakis has all three of those hits in 13 at-bats, and Chris Davis is 0-for-8 lifetime with seven strikeouts.
So, it should not surprise anyone that Markakis and Davis are thrilled to have him as a teammate.
"Of course," Markakis said, "but the bigger thing is, he can help us. It just makes us better. He's a guy who can get both lefties and righties out. He's a good guy to have for the seventh inning. We'll see where he fits in, and he's going to help us tremendously."
Davis, who returned to the clubhouse Thursday after spending a couple days at home with the flu, agrees.
"I think it obviously makes our bullpen a lot stronger," Davis said. "I know the guy we gave up, we had pretty high expectations for him … saw him throw a little bit in spring training … but you never know. Those guys are still a little ways away in development.
"If we can get a guy that can impact our club right now, I think it's better for us. I thought our bullpen already was scary, and it just got a little scarier."
Gonzalez not affected by trade rumors
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez spent the last few days wondering if he still would be wearing an Orioles uniform after Thursday's deadline for making trades without passing players through waivers, but he insists that it didn't really bother him to hear his name mentioned in trade speculation.
"I take it as a compliment," he said. "We're in this thing right now, and we're excited to be here."
That doesn't mean he wasn't listening or preparing himself for the possibility.
"My agent told me not to worry about it," he said. "'Just go out and do your thing.' I never heard anything from our guys. … This is the team that gave me an opportunity, so I obviously want to be here."
Jimenez to rehab at Norfolk soon
Manager Buck Showalter said Thursday that right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will make an injury rehabilitation start for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday or Monday before a decision is made on whether to activate him and re-insert him in the major league rotation.
Showalter said that Jimenez's physical condition could determine whether the Orioles go forward with a 12-man or 13-man pitching staff, since he could force a tough roster decision when he returns from the disabled list.
"I think we need to stay at 12, but it could change," he said. "A lot's got to do with Ubaldo. He's pitching in Norfolk Sunday or Monday, I don't know if Dave [Wallace] and them have decided. Trying to get him closer to 100 pitches."
McFarland returns, Guilmet to Norfolk
Before Thursday's game, left-handed relief pitcher T.J. McFarland returned to the club from bereavement leave. In a corresponding move, right-handed relief pitcher Preston Guilmet was optioned to Norfolk.
Guilmet said he wasn't surprised to hear that he was headed back to Norfolk, since he was called up to help in the bullpen while McFarland was away from the team after the death of his grandmother over the weekend.
"Coming up here, obviously, because of the [McFarland] move, that's different," he said. "This is definitely an easy one. I just need to get back to work and try to get back here. I love being a guy they know they can rely on if they need someone."
Scioscia talks about Athletics' moves
The Oakland Athletics have the best record in baseball, but that didn't keep them from making a series of dramatic changes Thursday to upgrade their starting rotation and cost them one of the top power hitters in the league.
That certainly raises the bar for their American League West rivals, but Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters Thursday that it doesn't alter the task at hand for his second-place team.
"They were good yesterday, and they're good today. We knew that," Scioscia said. "We have a really good team. Our focus has to be on us continuing to play at a high level and continuing to improve. Right now, our offense is not firing on all cylinders, but we're pitching well and we're playing good defense.
"We really like our team. I think that's what we're going to put our energy into."
Yankees cut ties with Roberts
The New York Yankees designated second baseman Brian Roberts for assignment Thursday after acquiring infielder Stephen Drew from the Red Sox and utility player Martin Prado from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Roberts became the odd man out after the Yankees made the two moves before the nonwaiver trade deadline. Drew will play second base for the Yankees, but he could be an option to come back next season to replace Derek Jeter at shortstop.
The Yankees have 10 days to trade, waive or release Roberts, who batted .237 in 91 games.
Around the horn
First baseman Chris Davis wasn't eager to talk about his bout with the flu, but he was in a talkative mood and wanted some answers about Miller. "I wonder if he's going to shave his beard. That's the question nobody is asking. Is he going to shave his beard? I hope he doesn't." …Tuesday night's walk-off win was the Orioles' eighth of the season, tying them with the Angels and the Red Sox for the most in the American League through Wednesday. … The Orioles entered Thursday's game with a 41-9 record when they score first. That's the best winning percentage in the major leagues (.820). … The Orioles will give away 60th anniversary three-quarters-sleeve T-shirts to the first 20,000 fans 15 years old or over Friday night when the club opens a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.