Random thoughts

BOSTON - I can't figure out who's going to make Saturday's start against the Phillies at Camden Yards.

It's easier to eliminate certain pitchers, most notably left-hander Zach Britton, who would be working on short rest and who will stay on his rehab assignment.

The Orioles apparently think Britton needs to improve the command of his pitches. They're in no rush to end his assignment. Cross him off the list.

Manager Buck Showalter didn't mention Brad Bergesen when rattling off the names of potential starters for Saturday, though it could have been an oversight. Bergesen has turned in four straight quality starts with Triple-A Norfolk, each lasting six innings, and he threw five scoreless innings before the streak began.

Dana Eveland and Miguel Gonzalez could tag-team. Tommy Hunter could be recalled. Stay tuned.

Going back to Britton, why was he removed last night after only 80 pitches? That will be one of the questions posed to Showalter today. I'm sure he'll be talking to Tides manager Ron Johnson and getting a full report on Britton.

I didn't understand why the Orioles bothered to sign Miguel Tejada to a minor league deal, but now I'm wondering how much longer they can keep him at Triple-A.

Tejada went 0-for-4 last night, but he's batting .317 with 10 RBIs in 17 games with Norfolk. He'd be able to field balls hit to him and make accurate throws. And he'd make contact at the plate.

He still hasn't hit a home run, but the Orioles have other needs at third base.

I'm constantly asked when we'll see Brian Roberts in the Orioles' lineup. Anytime after June 11.

Each day brings more encouragement.

Roberts could play second base and Robert Andino could slide over to third. That's not a bad defensive arrangement. I'm not saying Andino should start at third base every night, but his glove works over there.

You'll notice that I'm still bothered by this team's defense. It's just unacceptable.

There's no reason to get overly excited about the Orioles signing 30-year-old outfielder Nate McLouth to a minor league deal, but they need to strengthen the Norfolk roster. Johnson keeps losing players to the majors or to injuries or to Double-A Bowie. Each day brings more transactions.

For example, here are yesterday's moves, as presented in the Tides' game notes:

Add IF Brian Roberts (#1) on MLB rehab assignment
Add LHP Zach Britton (#53) on MLB rehab assignment
Add C Caleb Joseph from Double-A Bowie
Add IF/OF Bill Hall (#6) - outrighted from Baltimore
Add LHP Cole McCurry from Double-A Bowie
Delete C Luis Exposito - placed on disabled list with broken hamate bone in left hand
Delete RHP Eddie Gamboa to Class-A Aberdeen
Delete IF Brandon Waring to Double-A Bowie

With Roberts, Britton, Joseph and McCurry all making the box score last night - McCurry tossed three scoreless inings to pick up the save - 56 different players have appeared in a game for Norfolk this season. The Tides' franchise record for most players to appear in a game in a season is 63, set in 2001 and 1998.

I praised Steve Pearce last night for his two RBIs and sacrifice bunt, but he also made a stellar play in left field, turning a double into a single with a barehanded grab of a ball off the Green Monster and strong throw back to the infield.

Reynolds Dugout Celebration Boston wide.jpg"The most impressive thing tonight was probably the way he handled left field," Showalter said. "He came out early with Kirb (Wayne Kirby) and I thought he played left field like he had been playing it. It's like somebody says, 'Are you going to go out there and work on playing the ball off the ladder?' You don't know which way it's going to go off the ladder. Nobody does. If it hits it, it can go up, sideways or straight down. The biggest thing is getting the judgment on whether the ball's going to hit off the wall and you can't get it and backing off it. That was the most impressive thing, how he handled left field."

"That wall creeps on you pretty fast," Pearce said. "I just tried to get back there as quick as possible, and if it was over my head, just turn around and play it off the wall."

Nothing to it.

Another reason to love Jim Johnson as the closer: The way he wanted the ball again in the 10th inning last night instead of having a mental meltdown or losing confidence after blowing the save. Some guys don't have the stomach or heart for the job. Johnson is the right guy for it.

I'm still loving the idea of a "Dugout Donuts" promotion wherever first-round pick Kevin Gausman is pitching. Creative minds needs to come up with something that can involve the fans.

The Camden Yards concessions will have to include powdered mini donuts.

Maybe the batters box could be lined with the excess powder. Whatever's swept off the dugout floor after games.

OK, that's probably excessive, but Gausman could be a fun guy to have around.

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