Gamboa gets save in 7-6 win

BRADENTON, Fla. - How many closers can float a knuckleball while recording a save?

Eddie Gamboa registered one today in the Orioles’ 7-6 victory over the Pirates at McKechnie Field. He picked off Chase d’Arnaud after a leadoff single and struck out former Oriole Robert Andino.

Gamboa hasn’t allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings over five appearances this spring. He’s walked one and struck out six.

Is manager Buck Showalter intrigued by the idea of a knuckleballing closer?

“No,” Showalter said. “I know who’s really not is (Johnny) Monell.”

Monell got the tie-breaking hit against a left-hander, a matchup that normally wouldn’t come to him.

“But it’s nice to know he doesn’t give in,” Showalter said. “Same way with (Steve) Clevenger and other guys. Just because a left-hander is out there doesn’t mean they can’t take a good at-bat.”

The backup job will be won with defense, but Monell and Clevenger are having good offensive springs.

“That’s fine,” Showalter said, “but that guy’s got to bring something on the days he catches that gives us a little juice, whether it be running the bases, throwing. But it can’t just be hitting. They’ve got to be able to catch. We cannot have a huge drop in that level.”

Outfielder Xavier Paul will have his right hand X-rayed after being hit by a pitch.

“He’s got an abrasion there and then it started turning color there a little bit,” Showalter said. “Our team doctor was here and looked at it and decided he wants to get a picture when he gets back.”

More from Showalter:

On Chris Tillman
“Good. Home run was wind blown, the swinging bunt. He’s fine. Threw the ball good. Felt good. I think we gave them four outs, that double play we should have turned twice.”

On whether Jonathan Schoop is making it a tough decision for the Orioles
“He might be continuing to make it an easy decision. There’s other ways to look at that. I told you before we came here completely wide open. Still is.”

On Steve Pearce
“Steve Pearce, I know you’re not forgetting about him. We talk about different things. Steve Pearce has been a rock for us. He is what he is, a professional hitter. He grinds it. We know what to expect. Very consistent. You know what you’re getting from him every day.”

On Henry Urrutia
“Henry looks a lot better in the outfield. I’ve been impressed by that.”

On Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar
“He can hit a fastball. Project what that body’s going to look like in a few years, too. He’s still facing that (Double-A) competition in a lot of cases. It took him about a week to calm down. He was pretty excited to be here and getting an opportunity. And that’s the way he should be and you want him to be. He’s starting to kind of settle down a little bit and show us why we liked him.”

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