Advertisement
News

Consistency sought in Olson's return

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Dave Trembley made it clear he's not expecting young left-hander Garrett Olson to go into Fenway Park tonight and pitch seven shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox. He simply wants to see one thing from Olson that he hasn't seen in a while - improvement.

"I would think that every opportunity he gets is a big one. We're looking for improvement, that's all," Trembley said. "I'm not looking for him to be perfect. We're looking for him to be somewhat more consistent, get us deeper in the game, command the fastball."

Advertisement

In two starts at Triple-A Norfolk since his Aug. 20 demotion, Olson went 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA. He allowed three runs and struck out nine over seven innings in his last outing. And with the Orioles' starting pitching woes, Trembley can't exactly afford to be picky.

In his past three outings with the Orioles, Olson (8-6, 6.38) has allowed 15 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.

Advertisement

"What I hoped he learned from [his previous stint in the majors] is you got to command your fastball. You got to throw it over the plate. You got to pitch ahead," Trembley said. "He'll get an opportunity [tonight] to pitch at Fenway Park, and we'll see what we got."

Other roster moves

Rosters are eligible to expand today, and, along with recalling Olson, the Orioles have selected the contract of Triple-A Norfolk reliever Jim Miller, a 26-year-old right-hander who was acquired from the Colorado Rockies in the Rodrigo Lopez trade in January 2007.

Miller, who hadn't pitched above Double-A before this year, went 3-5 with a 3.09 ERA and 10 saves in 49 appearances for the Tides this season. He has held opponents to a .205 batting average.

Center fielder Adam Jones, who hasn't played since Aug. 2 because of a fractured left foot, will be activated and start in center field tonight.

The Orioles are also expected to add a catcher. Norfolk's Omir Santos and Chris Heintz are the top candidates.

Getting it right

It started all the way back in spring training when switch-hitting second baseman Brian Roberts would take about 20 extra right-handed swings in batting practice off left-handed bullpen catcher Ruben Felix. Roberts, whose career batting average as a right-handed hitter was 52 points lower than his average from the left side entering the season, was confident he could narrow the gap this year.

Advertisement

But the last thing he expected was for the numbers to reverse. Roberts is hitting .333 (50-for-150) right-handed this season and .286 (110-384) left-handed.

"I took a lot of extra BP from the right side in spring training, but I didn't think I did too much where it would translate like this," Roberts said. "I just wanted to try and even things out the best I could."

Roberts hit .268 against left-handed pitching last year, compared with .299 versus right-handers. For his career, he has never hit better than .277 from the right side.

"It's been weird," Roberts said. "Left-handed has always come pretty naturally to me for most of my career. It's been nice to feel so good right-handed, but in some ways it's been frustrating that it hasn't gone so well from the other side. That's the thing about switch-hitting. It never seems like you have a year where everything is great both ways."

Is he golden?

The Orioles didn't need to see Nick Markakis' two diving catches Saturday to believe the right fielder should win a Gold Glove. They already felt that way.

Advertisement

"From seeing him on an everyday basis and thinking about the teams that we've played this year, I really haven't seen anybody better," first base and outfield coach John Shelby said. "I can't see why he wouldn't get a Gold Glove, unless he's just not as popular as some of the other guys."

Markakis has two errors and leads the major leagues with 15 outfield assists. The Orioles haven't had a player win a Gold Glove since Mike Mussina did it in 1999. They haven't had a position player earn one since 1998, when Roberto Alomar and Rafael Palmeiro won, along with Mussina.


Advertisement