Monday, May 19, 2008

Orioles Team Report May 19, 2008

The Orioles have been winning more often than losing. Still, manager Dave Trembley has encountered plenty of difficult decisions with his roster.

The latest came Saturday, when Alex Cintron became the fifth player to start at shortstop this season for the Orioles.

Just a week earlier, the Orioles activated Freddie Bynum from the disabled list. Bynum was immediately inserted as the starting shortstop. Trembley made the bold proclamation that Bynum had become the starter at the key position, that the job was his to lose.

Cintron, who had played previously with the Diamondbacks and more recently the White Sox, was called up from Class AAA Norfolk (Va.) to add a bench player to the roster. But when he got his first chance to play as an Oriole, he took full advantage of it, going 4-for-4 at the plate and error-free in the field.

It was probably just what the Orioles were hoping for when they signed Cintron to a minor league contract. As satisfied as Trembley had to feel about the performance, he wasn’t about to go back on his word to Bynum.

“I told Bynum it was his job until he lost it. At this point and time, I don’t think he’s done anything to lose it,” Trembley said.

Still, Cintron didn’t hide the fact that he’s thrilled to have a job and that he wants to help the Orioles in any way he can.

“I’ve been through this before, so I’m kind of excited to have my chance to play,” Cintron said. “Whatever it takes for me, to play every day or be on the bench, I can be happy any way. If I’m coming off the bench, I’m doing my job, too.”

Nationals 2, Orioles 1: Cristian Guzman hit a solo home run in the third inning off starter Jeremy Guthrie and reliever Chad Bradford gave up doubles to Guzman and Ryan Zimmerman in the eighth to account for the winning run. John Lannan allowed the Orioles only four hits in 7 1/3 innings of the game that was delayed 2:01 at the start, and for a shorter time in the eighth.

Notes, Quotes

• RHP Steve Trachsel, who sat out two starts in the rotation so young pitchers could remain on schedule, is expected to pitch Friday, Saturday or Sunday at Tampa Bay. It will be at least 10 days since his last start.

• RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-4, 3.86), pitched another outstanding game, only to come out the loser. He allowed only one run on Cristian Guzman’s home run in seven innings. Chad Bradford gave up the other run in the 2-1 loss. Guthrie has allowed nine earned runs in his last 25 2/3 innings, a 3.16 ERA.

• RF Nick Markakis showed again that he is among the leading defensive outfielders in the AL as he got his fifth and sixth outfield assists on Sunday. One was on a play at home plate and the other was a force out at second on what might have been a single.

• LF Jay Payton continued a frustrating 10-game stretch during which he has managed only three hits in 25 at bats, but he made the most of his few hits. Two were home runs—one of them a grand slam, and the third an RBI single that gave him eight RBIs during the slump.

• SS Alex Cintron, who was 4-for-4 in his first start as an Oriole on Saturday, was gushing about getting the opportunity from the team. He started the season at Class AAA Norfolk (Va.), signing a minor league contract after being released by the Cubs. His Saturday performance had him in the lineup again on Sunday, but he went hitless.

• 2B Brian Roberts had his six-game hit streak ended on Sunday but he did get the Orioles’ only RBI on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. His string of scoring a run in five straight games also came to an end.

By The Numbers: 5—The number of different players who have started for the Orioles at shortstop. Alex Cintron, in the lineup on Saturday, the 42nd game of the season, was the fifth.

Quote To Note: “I’m trying to keep as many guys close to pitching on their regular turn as I possibly can. Until such a point where I can turn the rotation over and do that, I’m not going to mess with it. I think it’s important for routine.”—Manager Dave Trembley on his philosophy for keeping his starting pitchers on schedule.


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