ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The success of rookie relievers Evan Phillips and Cody Carroll on Friday night led to questions about the way manager Buck Showalter will fill the closer role over the final two months of the season.
“Right now, the challenge is being able to get to that situation,” Showalter said. “It’s like a step forward, a step back for a lot of guys — some people I’d like to see in that situation. One, we’ve got to create that situation and sometimes you have to use some people you want to see in that situation to get to that situation.”
Mychal Givens, who is the most experienced pitcher in the bullpen now that the club’s top three short relievers have been traded, probably will get his share of the save opportunities in the near term. But Mike Wright Jr. and Tanner Scott have been mentioned over the past few weeks as possible closer candidates of the future.
“It’s not something I’m going to announce and tell them and anoint them,” Showalter said. “It’s going to be kind of pick and choose, and we’ll get enough looks at it to get a feel. What I really, more than anything, when this year’s over, I want to be ahead of the curve on some things we have to make decisions about in the offseason.
“These opportunities are not only for the players but for us to see them in this environment, which is going to be gone at this point.”
Showalter sat down in the video room with rookie starter David Hess on Saturday and examined the right-hander’s performance in Friday night’s lopsided loss to the Texas Rangers.
“I went through David’s outing completely today, every pitch on tape,” Showalter said. “So, ‘What were you trying to do there? What happened and why did it happen?’
"If there is failure, we're going to attack it. A lot of guys that went on to have great careers, started out this way, too. I just don't go, 'He doesn't have the ability,’ or, ‘This guy doesn’t do that.’ They’ve done it somewhere to get this opportunity and you’ve got to figure out a way to try to help them to see if if will play here.”
Apparently, Hess will get more chances to break out of a five-start slump that has raised his ERA to 6.41, partly because the Orioles do not have a lot of other options at the moment.
Rangers honor Vlad
New Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero was honored Saturday by the Rangers with a pregame ceremony and a bobblehead promotion, though he played just one of his 16 major league seasons in Arlington.
He played for the Rangers in 2010 and played his final season with the Orioles in 2011. He became the first player to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a Los Angeles Angel.
Adam Jones and Chris Davis are the only current Orioles who played with Guerrero during that season.
“He was the ultimate veteran,” Jones said. “He commanded respect and got respect. Just a prime example of what to do between the lines. He came to work every day.”
Mark Trumbo didn’t play alongside Guerrero, but was a teammate in spring training on his way up through the Angels minor league system.
“He was a bona fide superstar at that time,” Trumbo said. “For somebody in my first or second big league camp, it was just really fun to watch the older guys. Watching his highlight film is always an experience. Pitches all over the zone. There was just nothing he couldn’t cover. Just a sure-fire Hall of Fame player.”
Around the horn
Showalter said both infielder Steve Wilkerson and outfielder Craig Gentry are getting close to starting minor league rehabilitation assignments, but wouldn’t get much more specific than that. “If I had to handicap it, I think Craig is probably a little ahead. They’re both real close,” Showalter said. … Trumbo entered Saturday’s game needing two more hits to reach 1,000 for his career.