Maybe it won’t be as dramatic as what Alexi Casilla did last night, but Danny Valencia would like a repeat. Last night, Casilla, who hasn’t had much playing time recently, hit a key three-run homer in an Orioles win.
It can be hard to sit for a while as a reserve and then start and come up big for the team, but that is the role of the bench player to try and stay ready when he gets a chance.
Valencia gets his shot tonight batting eighth against Cleveland in the DH spot.
“You go through your routine every day and prepare like you are playing in every game, taking quality batting practice, watching video and staying loose while the game is going on,” Valencia said. “Hopefully with those things, you can put yourself in a position to have some success, although it is tough.
“You want to go up there feeling prepared. The last thing you want is to have a feeling of being under-prepared when your name is called. The results will handle themselves as long as the preparation is there.”
So does a player not starting every night want to take a few pitches early in the game to settle in a bit?
“Obviously you definitely want to see some pitches and get your timing when you are in and out of the lineup as much as we are,” Valencia said. “But at the same time, you want to pick your spots. Sometimes the game dictates you may be swinging and aggressive early in the count.
“I feel good that I’ve been able to keep myself in shape and stay with my routine. Getting my BP in, feel pretty good.”
Valencia is batting .269 in 17 games. But he really hits left-handed pitching well. He is 11-for-30 off southpaws, batting .367 with an OPS of 1.040 and he’ll face Cleveland lefty Scott Kamir tonight.
“I think right handers have the advantage to see the ball pretty well against lefties,” Valencia said. “But I feel pretty good against right-handers also.”
Futures Game note: The Orioles had two players from their organization selected today to play in the All Star Futures Game on July 14. Outfielder Henry Urrutia and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez will represent the World Team against Team USA.
Urrutia is batting .366, which leads the Eastern League, to go with 16 doubles, seven homers, 35 RBIs and a .992 OPS. He is batting .433 in 18 June games and was also one of six Baysox players today selected to play in the Eastern League All-Star game.
The 20-year-old Rodriguez is having a fantastic season for Single-A Frederick, going 6-4 with a 2.85 ERA over 14 starts. Rodriguez has allowed two earned runs or less in his last six starts, pitching to an ERA of 1.78 in that time. He pitched a scoreless inning in the recent Carolina-California League All-Star game, representing Frederick.