ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Danny Valencia obviously had a lot of fun pitching in a major league game for the first time Thursday night, and his teammates apparently had a pretty good time at his expense afterward.
He came in to pitch with two outs in the eighth inning and struck out Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo looking on a fastball that appeared to be well outside the strike zone, but that didn’t stop Valencia from strutting off the field like a peacock.
“We knew we were going to hear about that for a while,” manager Buck Showalter said Friday. “They’ve been showing the tape of him coming off the field, the presentation … the expression, proud of himself. Now, all the pitchers are wanting me to be sure I get him back out there for an extended outing. I hope that doesn’t happen either.”
Valencia hit 91 mph on the stadium radar gun, then said he “had a lot left in the tank” and was throwing at “about 80 percent.”
“Understand we’ve already heard that,” Showalter said when apprised of the comment.
To Valencia’s credit, he volunteered to take one for the team so the Orioles could preserve some rested relief for the rest of the four-game series.
Showalter used the opportunity to repeat his oft-stated aversion to using position players to pitch.
“I abhor doing that,” he said. “That is one of the things I dislike doing more than anything.”
One of the reasons Showalter doesn’t like to have position players pitch is because of a feeling of responsibility to the division race.
“The other day in New York we had a decision to make in the dugout about a move late in the game,” he said. “The deciding factor for [bench coach] John Russell and I was — ethically and professionally — I kind of say, ‘What would the Red Sox want us to do?’ We were playing the Yankees. My first thing will always be what is best for the Baltimore Orioles and that will override everything else. But all things being equal, I think you need to try to do that.”
His point, of course, was that the Orioles had a responsibility to play hard when they faced the first-place Boston Red Sox, so they need to make the same effort against the second-place New York Yankees.
Bundy grew up fast
It doesn’t seem that long ago that right-hander Dylan Bundy was a teenage phenom — the youngest guy on the Orioles roster. Now, at 25, he’s one of the grizzled veterans on an Orioles pitching staff that seems to get younger every day.
The youngest pitcher in the Orioles rotation when the season started, Bundy is now in the middle of the pack, third oldest behind Andrew Cashner, 31, and Alex Cobb, 30.
Around the horn
Catcher Caleb Joseph entered Friday night’s game batting .333 since the start of July. He had six multi-hit games last month. … Trey Mancini continues to bounce back from a slow start. He came in to the second game against the Rangers batting .347 since the All-Star break, which tied him for eighth best in the American League. … Chris Davis started the game with at least one run scored in seven of his previous eight games.