The Orioles have gone through three closers this season if you count Jim Johnson. All three have come down with injuries - shoulder (Mike Gonzalez), elbow (Johnson) and hamstring (Alfredo Simon).
The next guy will probably get appendicitis or a really nasty cold sore.
If I’m Will Ohman, I’d be hiding from manager Dave Trembley today. Rip the bullpen phone off the wall after the eighth inning.
Ohman actually has told pitching coach Rick Kranitz that he’d like the opportunity to close. He just won’t campaign for it publicly, as he reminded us Saturday in D.C.
For me, Ohman is the logical choice to replace Simon based on his grand total of three major league saves in 245 2/3 innings. He also recorded 13 saves in the minors. He’s the guy, in my opinion.
Ohman hasn’t allowed a run in 24 games. He’s pitched only 14 2/3 innings, as Trembley tries to limit the wear and tear on Ohman’s left arm because of past elbow and shoulder injuries.
I wouldn’t worry about any risks attached to Ohman’s expanded workload. The Orioles have many issues, but overusing their closer isn’t among them. It’s not like they’re buried in save situations.
Besides, Oriole closers find their own unique ways to get hurt. I think it’s more about the title than the innings.
A pack of hungry wolves could jump Ohman in the players’ parking lot and it wouldn’t surprise me.
The Orioles are expected to purchase Frank Mata’s contract today from Triple-A Norfolk, but I’d be hesitant to hand him a slim lead in the ninth. I’m shocked that he’ll be handed the ball at this level. I figured he was one of those organizational guys that I’d see in spring training, confuse him with somebody else and pretty much forget about him.
I do recall that he looked heavy in Sarasota, and that’s being polite.
Or was that Armando Gabino?
See what I mean?
Mata is listed at 6 foot 1 and 250 pounds. His love handles have love handles. Some players oil their gloves. Mata oils his thighs to put on his pants. But that’s fine as long as he can throw the ball over the plate and get hitters out. This isn’t a beauty contest and he won’t be judged in the swimsuit competition.
I passed along Mata’s Triple-A stats last night. The Prince of the Tides was 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA and eight saves in 18 games, with 14 hits allowed, eight walks and 14 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. In spring training, he allowed two runs and two hits, with two walks and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He saved one game and put one restaurant out of business.
Gabino also is listed at 250 pounds, but I keep getting him confused with Double-A Bowie’s Eddie Gamboa.
As for today’s other roster move, I wouldn’t be shocked if left-hander Alberto Castillo jumped out from behind a stack of boxes, yelled “surprise” and was handed a uniform. The Orioles would be short one situational lefty if Ohman closed, and Castillo still has a cup of coffee sitting at his old locker that hasn’t cooled yet.
Speaking of Norfolk, Nolan Reimold is 3-for-34 with one homer, two RBIs, four walks, eight strikeouts and a .361 OPS in 10 games since being sent down.
Can he close?
Update: Reimold has been placed on the temporarily inactive list because of a “family matter” - the birth of his child. Danny Figueroa moves up from Bowie to take his roster spot.