Having a shortstop like Cesar Izturis on the Orioles is a big lift to the pitching staff.
It's a pleasure watching him play everyday. It's so important to know that the guys behind you are going to make the routine plays.
I have watched intently each ground ball hit his way. The way he sets up to keep his momentum going toward first should be routine, but it's not always done at this level.
His diving plays to his left and his strong, accurate arm is exciting to see.
He's contributing with the bat as well--we thought if he could play solid defense and hit around .250, that would help tremendously.
There were times this year that he was not on the top of his game defensively. Fielders go through slumps as well. It seemed like every ground ball was an in between hop. You start thinking too much as the ball is coming at you, and the next thing you know, you're in between again.
A veteran player like Cesar is not likely to have that happen too long. He knows that he is a good fielder and knows that things will turn for the better. If you do your work before the game and relax, you will get your confidence back.
Now, I can relax when the ball is hit to shortstop.
The Orioles do not have a shortstop on the horizon. The Orioles did pick up Robert Andino in a trade during spring training. It will be interesting to see if Andino gets some consistent playing time next year. Right now, he is the guy to take over for Cesar after his contract is up.