Saturday, April 19, 2008

Trembley Plans Rest for O's Regulars

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have deftly shown in recent days that they can survive tactically with a short bench, but they're only beginning to consider how playing every day may affect some of their starters. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said on Saturday that he has mapped out a plan for the foreseeable future and expects to put it in place soon.

"I think it helps that we have a day off on Monday," Trembley said on Saturday. "But I talked to [hitting coach Terry Crowley] about it last night. My plan is to maybe pick my spots with some of these guys as far as the length of time I keep them on the field.

"I'm probably going to back them off. I don't think it's as much of a consideration now, but it would be, especially on the road and especially if you're playing consecutive games and day games after night games."

Including Saturday's game, first baseman Kevin Millar has played in each of the O's first 18 games, and veterans Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora have both missed one game. Trembley was able to limit their playing time when he had multi-positional reserve Scott Moore on the roster, but now that he has a 13-man pitching staff, Trembley has to find a way to limit their practice time.

The schedule will help in that regard, and Trembley said that his on-field activities will be curtailed for Sunday's day game. In the long run, though, he'll be charged with creatively finding ways for his starters to rest.

"We brought [Brian] Roberts out early to hit today -- he was out early to look at video," Trembley said of his second baseman. "We brought him out to hit early today, and I'll doubt if he'll be out there during the regular BP time. If he is, it will just be to take ground balls. I've offered the same thing to Melvin. Melvin hit early yesterday and still wanted to [hit late]."

Millar, for his part, said that you'll never hear a player complain about being on the field too often.

"It's a long year, but that's baseball," Millar said. "Mentally, I'm ready for the grind. I enjoy the grind and the adjustment period that goes along with the struggles. Physically, I feel great. I don't feel tired at all. I won't feel tired, and I like to play every day and every inning. I've never been bothered by that. Catcher and center field are different."

Millar, who will turn 37 before the end of the season, said that there's a hidden benefit to keeping a regular lineup.

"The great thing about Dave Trembley is everybody has an identity," Millar said. "You have your starting team and you have your bench players. The team's playing good, we're winning ballgames and everybody knows what their role is."


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