Trachsel nervous at start of rare relief appearance

The Baltimore Sun

The night of Sept. 6, 1995, is remembered for more than Cal Ripken Jr. playing in his 2,131st consecutive game to break Lou Gehrig's record. In Steve Trachsel's household, it also had been the date of the only regular-season relief appearance in his major league career.

Now Trachsel can add yesterday's game against the Boston Red Sox, when he replaced Orioles starter Brian Burres in the fifth inning and allowed two runs, including J.D. Drew's homer, in five innings.

"The first inning was kind of nerve-racking," said Trachsel, who has made 419 regular-season appearances since breaking into the majors in 1993. "I don't know if it was the nervousness of doing it for the first time or jogging in from center field. The heart rate was definitely going a lot more than normal, but after that, it was pretty much business as usual."

Trachsel hadn't pitched since May 24 against the Tampa Bay Rays, when he allowed nine runs in 1 2/3 innings while working on 14 days' rest. His turn in the rotation was skipped again last week, and manager Dave Trembley bypassed him when he needed a starter tomorrow night in Minnesota.

"I just needed to get some consistency going and throw the ball like I know I can," said Trachsel, who is 2-5 with an 8.15 ERA. "I've got to continue trusting my stuff."

Trachsel's other relief appearance - not counting the 1996 All-Star Game and one game in the 2006 National League Division Series - occurred during his first stint with the Chicago Cubs.

Yesterday's outing, which included four hits and three walks allowed, increased his career innings total to 2,500.

"I'd like to get a lot more," he said.

Albers to start?

Trembley said he will wait until after tonight's game to announce tomorrow's starter. Matt Albers is the most likely in-house candidate, but the Orioles could recall Radhames Liz from Triple-A Norfolk.

Albers tossed three scoreless innings Friday night and has allowed five earned runs in 28 relief innings.

"He's been better during the season than he was in spring training," Trembley said. "In spring training, I was not impressed with him at all. I thought he looked like he was just getting his work in and figured he had the team made. He's probably in the best shape he's ever been in now because he's been running. I kind of threatened him, to be honest."

Jim Johnson won't start tomorrow because Trembley doesn't want to burden him physically after using him in short relief stints.

No interest in history

It was difficult to tell yesterday whether reliever Chad Bradford was more annoyed with giving up Manny Ramirez's 500th career home run Saturday night or having to stand at his locker the next morning and talk about it.

Bradford hadn't surrendered a home run to a right-handed batter since 2006, and Ramirez's 410-foot blast was only the second off Bradford this season.

"It was a bad pitch and a home run," Bradford said sternly. "That's it."

Former Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik seemed to enjoy the notoriety he received from allowing Barry Bonds' record-setting 756th career homer, but Bradford doesn't relish being part of history.

"I don't eat that up at all," he said.

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