With Orioles reliever Danys Baez no longer the automatic choice to pitch the eighth inning and Chad Bradford leading the American League in appearances, bringing some organizational concerns that he could wear out, it's becoming more likely that Todd Williams will be used later in games.
Williams pitched a scoreless seventh Friday night after replacing starter Steve Trachsel. He entered in the 10th last night and allowed the winning run on a two-out double by Kazuo Matsui.
"We're thinking about doing that," manager Sam Perlozzo said before last night's game. "It's all a matter of how he feels each day. We might not be able to use him quite as often, but he's certainly given us a little confidence to be able to push him back a little bit. [Friday] night was a good example."
The Orioles want to stretch out Williams so he can go more than one inning, but they're also being careful after he experienced some arm soreness last month.
"If we pitch him two, he's probably off for at least a day, maybe two. It just depends how he feels," Perlozzo said.
Williams hadn't allowed a run in five straight games covering 5 2/3 innings before last night's defeat. He had a 5.11 ERA in his first 11 appearances.
"What's happened the last three years I've been here, they kind of go with the hot hand here," he said. "As you've seen in the past, I've set up, and then the next day I've come in the second or third inning. For me, I've never really known what my official role was down there. In my case, I feel like I've got to be ready anytime."
Perlozzo threw batting practice to Corey Patterson, who's in a 3-for-31 slump.
"Some of it is mental," Perlozzo said. "I think what happens is, it's mental when a guy is striking the ball well and not getting hits, which I thought was happening to Aubrey Huff early on. He seemed to be the tough-luck guy on the club. He was hitting the ball on the button and not getting anything out of it, and then it turned out that for about a 10-day stretch he tried to hit everything extremely hard and got himself in a mechanical situation where he was muscling up and late on the ball and not reacting.
"Corey's probably a little of both. ... He's swinging at bad pitches, getting himself out more than anything, being anxious."
Trembley fills in
Melvin Mora walked past bullpen coach Dave Trembley in a hallway outside the clubhouse and said, "You're 1-0." Trembley isn't taking credit for Friday's victory after assuming the managerial duties when Perlozzo was ejected, but he appreciated the gesture.
"When the manager takes one for the team, you better win. That's how I look at it," he said.
Trembley, the next choice because bench coach Tom Trebelhorn remained in Arizona with his ailing wife, Elizabeth "Bo" Black, was calling the shots. It was his idea to use Bradford for one hitter in the eighth and to let Chris Ray get the last four outs.
"I didn't talk to Sam," said Trembley, who has sat in the dugout for every game except the opening series in Minnesota and last week's series in Seattle. "I figured if he wanted to say something, he'd send somebody down and tell me what to do, but he didn't. I took that as a compliment. When you've managed almost 3,000 games in the minors, you've got to have a little bit of a feel for what you're doing."
No sentiment for Hawkins
LaTroy Hawkins said that at this point in his 12-year career, he won't be staying in one place too long. So when the former Orioles reliever and current Rockies pitcher was asked about how he felt coming back to Baltimore this weekend, there wasn't much to discuss.
"I was here for one year, and then I was gone. It's part of the business," he said. "It's me going to another major league ballpark, trying to win another major league game. That's all."
In 2006, Hawkins went 3-2 with a 4.48 ERA in 60 relief appearances. In 16 appearances this season before last night, Hawkins was 0-3 with a 5.27 ERA.
Sun reporter Sirage Yassin contributed to this article.