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Tim Cossins thrilled to serve as Orioles' manager for a day

Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde (18), catching instructor Tim Cossins, center, and hitting coach Don Long, celebrate after the Orioles defeated the New York Yankees 5-3 in a baseball game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in New York.
Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde (18), catching instructor Tim Cossins, center, and hitting coach Don Long, celebrate after the Orioles defeated the New York Yankees 5-3 in a baseball game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in New York. (Julie Jacobson / AP)

As Tim Cossins performed one of the only tasks that was different for him Saturday, his first day serving as a major league manager, he looked at the table Brandon Hyde regularly uses for meetings with the media at Camden Yards and recognized that, for the day, he was the man in charge.

“I want to change the desk,” Cossins said with a laugh.

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With Hyde in Chicago to attend the high school graduation of his daughter, Aria, Cossins served as the Orioles’ interim manager for Saturday’s 8-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. As Baltimore’s major league fielding coordinator and catching instructor, Cossins, 49, is in his first season as a major league coach after more than 15 years working in the minors. Before Saturday, he hadn’t managed a game since he was at the helm of the then-Florida Marlins’ Gulf Coast League team in 2007.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Cossins said. “I think anytime you can have an opportunity to do that, it’s a great opportunity and something I’ll look back on forever and appreciate.

“Obviously, the results weigh more heavily than the memories, of course, at least for me.”

Cossins has known this assignment was coming since spring training, though he and Hyde had conversations in recent days to iron out pitching plans and other elements Cossins handled Saturday. Hyde put Saturday’s lineup together before he left, so beyond taking over Hyde’s media duties, most of Cossins’ pregame responsibilities remained the same. He said he arrived at Camden Yards as early as he normally does.

Still, he sensed a change once the game began.

“Quite honestly, you’re sitting in that seat, and it does speed up. Especially if you didn’t cut your teeth and do it the whole time, it’s gonna speed up on you,” he said. “Absolutely, it did. I don’t feel like I was behind the beat. I just feel like there was fast decisions, and it changes quickly, and it’s rapid puzzle pieces coming at you.”

Establishing a sense of normalcy for players was important to him Saturday. He didn’t want to make too much of his major league managerial debut, at least not until after the game.

“My goal is to not reflect on anything while I’m out there,” Cossins said before the game. “I don’t want to get caught in any of those moments. I want to manage this game the way that we feel we have the best chance to win, and hopefully, things turn out the way we script ’em. I hope I don’t get caught up in this until the high-fives.”

Starter David Hess, who became the first pitcher Cossins has removed from a major league game, said Cossins did a good job of making Saturday no different than if Hyde had been managing.

“I think he did a really good job stepping in and kind of having a seamless transition with everything,” Hess said. “It was a little different in that fifth inning when he came out. It kind of threw me off for a second, but no, I think he handled it and did a really good job with everything.”

Cossins managed in the Marlins organization from 2003-07, then spent five seasons as their minor league catching coordinator before replacing Hyde as the Chicago Cubs’ minor league field coordinator and catching coordinator in 2013.

He’s enjoyed regularly being back on dugout benches in this season’s first two months, along with working with Hyde. Cossins said Hyde told him to “do your thing” when it came to making decisions Saturday.

“I think these last couple months have been probably, in my development career, the most valuable time I’ve spent,” Cossins said. “Just to get the processes back, the game management stuff that for so many years that even though you’re seeing a lot of games, you’re out in the affiliates and so forth, your hard focus is on a different element of the game. So, to get those back is good because I haven’t managed in a long time. I rode for a long time, so it’s been fun to do that [from the] start of spring training to this point.”

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Mancini, Yastrzemski share staredowns

As Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski rounded first base after his first major league home run Friday, he made sure to give Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini a bit of a staredown.

Both are products of Baltimore’s 2013 draft and remain close, so when Mancini hit a two-run shot a half-inning later, he lifted his chin looking out toward Yastrzemski in left field to reciprocate his gaze.

In the sixth, Yastrzemski drew a walk, giving him and Mancini a chance to chat at first base.

“Mike’s not as good of a first base conversationalist as I thought he’d be,” Mancini said, showing trash talk between friends doesn’t end.

Around the horn

First baseman Chris Davis, on the injured list with left hip inflammation, took batting practice with the Orioles on Saturday. … Former Maryland pitcher Mike Shawaryn, nicknamed “The Unicorn” during his time with the Terps, received his first major league call-up Thursday with the Boston Red Sox.

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