Orioles pitcher Brian Burres saved a ball from his first major league start last weekend. He has time to embellish its importance, whether it involves a milestone strikeout total or a victory.
"I can make that stuff up later," he said, grinning.
Burres didn't get the win Sunday, not after allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings. But he is scheduled to receive another chance tonight in Boston.
"I feel a little better coming into this one," he said. "I've been working in the bullpen and I feel like I'm getting myself under better control and doing what I need to do."
Pitching coach Leo Mazzone has been instructing Burres to take what he does in the bullpen and carry it into his starts. Don't try harder to do the same thing.
"It kind of calmed me down a little," Burres said.
The Orioles also are preaching to Burres that he shouldn't approach these starts as an audition - the same message they're sending to Jeremy Guthrie.
"He said, 'You're here doing it. Get it done,'" Burres said.
"It should be easy, and hopefully it will be easier to just go out there and do what you can do, instead of thinking about, 'What's going to happen next?' Just worry about now and the rest will come later."
Burres was told he made the club out of spring training, but the Orioles sent him to Triple-A Norfolk before Opening Night when they needed a replacement for injured catcher Ramon Hernandez. Now he's in their rotation, at least for now.
"I'm just glad I'm here, really," he said. "It's still early and I'd just like to help the team win."
Awaiting the call, part I
The Orioles are expected to activate reliever Scott Williamson from the disabled list before tonight's game in Boston, giving him an extra day after he threw a side session in the bullpen Wednesday.
"We're deciding that," manager Sam Perlozzo said before last night's game. "The ideal situation would be one more day after a side to have him totally fresh, so we're still talking about that."
The club also must decide how to make room for Williamson on the 25-man roster.
Perlozzo indicated that he wants to keep a fourth bench player with the Orioles having an interleague series in Washington to conclude the upcoming road trip. That means the pitching staff stays at 12, which could mean Jon Leicester returns to Triple-A Norfolk. The only risk would be the absence of a true long reliever.
Leicester still hasn't appeared in a game since the Orioles purchased his contract Monday.
"I'm going to need the extra player for the National League team," Perlozzo said. "We're going to hash that out here and try to make that decision. In that case, those guys will have to do a little bit more."
Awaiting the call, part II
If the Orioles decided to keep 13 pitchers once Williamson returned, it would have proven a bad choice for utility player Freddie Bynum.
Bynum, who pinch ran in the eighth inning and scored last night, has only two at-bats since starting three straight games against Tampa Bay on April 16-18 while center fielder Corey Patterson was on the bereavement list. He's 3-for-15 with a home run and four RBIs.
"It's tough, but you've just got to keep working day in and day out, keep yourself in shape and just be ready whenever they call on you," he said.
"It's hard to keep your timing at the plate, but you've just got to find ways to do it. I hit in the cage a lot. I like to hit off the tee and track the balls."
Perlozzo will give Bynum a heads-up in the late innings if he thinks he'll need a pinch runner.
"I know my job. I know when I'm supposed to be ready," Bynum said. "I'm ready from the fifth inning on."
The inactivity beats the alternative, playing every day in the minors.
"I'm happy where I'm at," he said. "This is where I wanted to be, so I'm going to do whatever it takes to stay here."