Cedric Mullins is aware of the comparisons to Al Bumbry. Manager Buck Showalter referred to Bumbry as the first “comp” that came to mind after watching Mullins. It’s out there.
It led me to wonder whether Mullins heard of the former Orioles center fielder. Bumbry is 71, Mullins 23. Bumbry was chosen as the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1973. Mullins was born on Oct. 1, 1994.
Bumbry was part of the 1983 championship team. Mullins ... was born in 1994.
I’ve made my point.
I also made the wrong assumption.
“Oh, yeah, I definitely know who Al Bumbry is,” Mullins said before playing in his second major league game. “I actually had a chance to meet him in person the first year I got drafted. It was in Aberdeen. He was out there just saying hello to some of the guys and I had a chance to talk to him.
“He’s a big fan of me being from Georgia, so he kind of picked at that for a little bit. It was awesome to meet him.”
Mullins has started all four games in center field since the Orioles selected his contract on Friday. He hasn’t committed any blunders. He hasn’t made a catch worthy of 1,000 replays on “SportsCenter.” Pretty standard stuff so far.
“Before the game, we got together, talked about just continuing to keep an eye on each other just to have an idea of where we’re positioning ourselves,” Mullins said after his debut. “And we went over the hitters’ tendencies, so I had a pretty decent idea how to play each hitter in different counts.”
Adjustments are made over the course of a game. Mullins will check with Jones for confirmation that he’s in the correct spot and at the proper depth.
“Yeah, of course,” Mullins said. “If there’s any adjustments that need to be made, Jonesy playing center for as long as he has definitely knows these guys very well. So I was looking for him to give me any kind of advice that he had.”
* Red Sox manager Alex Cora observed Friday night that the Orioles are a lot more “athletic” with Mullins and Jonathan Villar on the roster. It needs to be one of the priorities in the rebuild.
Tightening the defense and throwing more strikes also would be beneficial.
* The remaining veterans don’t relish the idea of piling up more losses as the fallout from a rebuild, but they understand that the club needed to tear down instead of just trying to patch a few holes.
“We’ve been at the top, we’ve almost been the last team standing,” said Chris Davis. “We know what it looks like, we have an idea what it tastes like, and now we’re in such a completely different position and it happened so quickly. How are you going to handle adversity? What are things that you can learn that you can implement moving forward, whether it’s the rest of August and September, going into next year?
“I mean, at some point your plan has to change and you have to start preparing for the future and I think that’s really where I am right now.”
My recent interview with Davis at Tropicana Field brought out more of his frustrations with the shifts and how they’re impacting power hitters. He gained a small measure of satisfaction when the tables turned against the Yankees.
“Aaron Judge hit a ball earlier this year at our place when (Andrew) Cashner was pitching that I caught straight up as a second baseman,” Davis said. “Where our second baseman plays, straight up but all the way in probably three or four steps off the infield grass, and I caught it and I did a long underhand toss and we got him by a few steps. And I thought, ‘Man, I wonder how he feels now.’
“Like that’s normal for me to barrel a ball and see a guy catch it in shallow right field and get thrown out by a step. For me, that’s like, it’s happened so much, that’s what my new normal is.”
In an unrelated story, “New Normal” would be a sweet name for a cover band.
* Left-hander Sean Gilmartin made his Orioles debut Saturday in Game 1. Upon learning that his contract would be selected, I struggled to remember which deadline brought him into the organization.
It was a trick question. The Orioles signed Gilmartin as a minor league free agent in case Joely Rodriguez opted out of his contract and joined a team in Japan.
Rodriguez is pitching for the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball. Gilmartin is in Baltimore as the 51st player used this season.
Did you know that Gilmartin is married to Kayleigh McEnany, a political commentator formerly with CNN?
McEnany was appointed national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee in 2017. But please don’t take this as an invitation to fight over politics. I’m just sayin’ ...
* Showalter understands why fans like having the pitchers’ radar readings posted in the ballpark, but he’d be fine with eliminating them.
The readings, not the fans.
Showalter talked about one of his young pitchers who checks the board in front of the third deck in left field after every pitch.
“As much as we try to get him not to, but that’s kind of the world we live in,” Showalter said.
“Some of these young players, ‘How did I throw today? Well, let me look at the gun.’ Instead of, ‘Where did I throw it?’ That’s why Yac (Jimmy Yacabonis) and (Yefry) Ramírez were good (Saturday). They had pretty good command.”
* Ramírez has worked five innings in six of his nine major league appearances. He’s exceeded 90 innings in four of the last six and came out of Game 2 after 88. He threw 69 pitches in only 1 2/3 innings in Texas.
“If you are passive, picking around, you’re not going to last long,” Showalter said, applying the theory to all pitchers.
“Look how many pitches it took Ramírez to get through five - four-plus, five innings. That’s one thing he’s going to have to get better at. It seems even with good outings he’s got a really high pitch count. We can’t hardly get him to 100. We’ve been trying to.”
* Showalter was still seething yesterday over plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt’s strike zone in Game 2 on Saturday, especially in the later innings, and he really took exception to a comment made to a player who questioned a strike call that turned around the count. The player struck out on the next pitch.
“I’m still not happy about (Saturday) night and I voiced it and I’m going to continue to,” Showalter said. “You just don’t say those things to players. If the player said that to him ... I’m going to stop.”
Showalter brought the lineup card to home plate yesterday and then peeled off with Wendelstedt for a one-on-one conversation before returning to the dugout.