New approach can't halt O's skid

The Baltimore Sun

SAN DIEGO -- The fingerprints that Dave Trembley leaves on the Orioles as their interim manager might not last long, but he'll apply as many as he can before they fade.

The lineup he wrote out before last night's interleague game included Corey Patterson as the No. 2 hitter for the first time this season. Batting practice ended with the team performing infield drills. He'll post tomorrow afternoon's lineup today so everyone can better prepare, and to avoid any misunderstandings.

Trembley also made a double switch in the fifth, removing left fielder Jay Payton - who had just committed an error by overrunning a ball on a run-scoring single - and bringing in a reliever. It was early for such a move, but it was done his way.

Hours after team officials convened in Chicago to interview Joe Girardi for the manager's job, Trembley sat in the visitors' dugout at Petco Park and watched the San Diego Padres pull away with a six-run sixth inning and extend the Orioles' losing streak to nine games with a 12-6 victory.

Some things don't change, at least not right away.

The Orioles have lost 14 of 16 and are a season-worst 12 games below .500. Marcus Giles hit a three-run homer off starter Steve Trachsel (5-5) in the second inning, Khalil Greene added a bases-empty shot in the fourth, and the bullpen experienced another meltdown as the Padres sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth.

Trembley managed in the minors for 20 seasons, but never held a full-time position in the majors until the Orioles named him field coordinator and bullpen coach over the winter. He officially replaced Sam Perlozzo as manager Monday and ran his first game last night, not counting the last three innings he handled on June 8 after Perlozzo's ejection.

The Orioles haven't won since that night at Camden Yards, and they didn't figure to bust out against Padres right-hander Jake Peavy, who had allowed one earned run or fewer in nine of his first 14 starts. Peavy surrendered three in the sixth inning to reduce his lead to 5-3, but struck out Paul Bako with the bases loaded before leaving the game.

Earlier in the day, Trembley walked around the field with bench coach Tom Trebelhorn for the exercise, stopping each time in right field to do push-ups. He shook hands and hugged friends, the smile on his face evident from the farthest reaches of the ballpark.

"For me, I'm very aware of who I am, what I am and where I've come from, managing in the minor leagues a long time," he said. "I have no pretense about where I've come from and what this means to me. In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine getting the opportunity to manage the Baltimore Orioles. That is so far out there."

Trembley comes armed with a lineup card and a plan.

"I think these guys need to be dealt with with kid gloves a little bit because they've been wounded," he said. "They're a little fragile right now. I just want to get them to relax and feel comfortable and free to go out there and play."

Trembley also wants the Orioles to return to playing the game "the right way," but they didn't deliver enough in the clutch, didn't get an easy out at third base on a bunt and didn't hold down the Padres once he went to his bullpen. Payton overran Mike Cameron's single as Jose Cruz scored, increasing San Diego's lead to 5-0 in the fifth. Patterson fell down after rounding third on Miguel Tejada's RBI single in the sixth.

"It's not rocket science," Trembley said. "It's catching the ball, throwing the ball to the right bases, running the bases correctly. It's having fun. And for me, having fun is winning."

He didn't exactly come to the right place.

Trembley joined the Orioles last September as an extra coach, but expected to be managing again at Triple-A this year.

"The reason I'm here is because of Sam Perlozzo," he said. "I've had a lot of people tell me, 'Hey, when I get a job in the big leagues, I'll take you.' It never happened. Sam Perlozzo went to bat for me. For that, I'm so grateful. No matter what anybody says about the way he managed, the kind of person Sam Perlozzo is is first class."

The team he's guiding remains in last, 16 games out of first place, barely able to remember its last victory.

Trembley will take another crack at it tonight, perhaps after the Orioles make Girardi a formal offer. He'll sit in the manager's chair and ignore who could push him out of it.

"To be perfectly honest with you, that's none of my business," he said. "I didn't ask and they didn't tell me. Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette and Mr. [Peter] Angelos run the team. They're at liberty to do whatever they feel is in the best interest of making the Baltimore Orioles better. But I can tell you, while I'm here, I'm going to do what I can do to make the Baltimore Orioles better."

NOTE -- The Orioles made two bullpen moves before the game, purchasing the contracts of relievers Rob Bell and Paul Shuey, and optioning Jim Hoey and Cory Doyne to Triple-A Norfolk. Pitchers Jaret Wright and Jon Leicester were transferred to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 40-man roster. Bell replaced Trachsel in the fifth inning. Shuey hadn't pitched in the majors since 2003 before allowing a run in the eighth.

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