Tim Cossins left the manager’s office this afternoon, walked into the auxiliary clubhouse for the pregame media session and joked about changing the desk.
He’s only in charge for one day, the Orioles’ field coordinator and catching instructor replacing Brandon Hyde for today’s game against the Giants.
Hyde is in Illinois for his daughter’s high school graduation and he flies back into Baltimore later.
“Obviously it’s exciting,” Cossins said. “I’d be lying if I said it’s not exciting. I never actually put myself in this spot over the years, but pretty cool. It’s the same process pregame and stuff like that. I’m sure during the game it’ll get going, but I’m excited.
“This is one of those things that you just want to make sure that you do the legwork and you try to stay in the pocket and try to make sure that things run similarly to the way they’ve been going.”
Hyde and Cossins usually are on the same page anyway and nothing is going to change today.
“We talked about some stuff,” Cossins said. “We talked about usage and so forth. But then again, he also said, ‘Do your thing.’ We did speak a couple times and went over the game plan and stuff like that, but we left it pretty baseline.”
Cossins knew in spring training that Hyde would leave the team today. Other details emerged this week.
“We actually hadn’t really talked about the running of the game until a couple days ago,” he said. “We didn’t talk and I didn’t want to press it. We talked about it organically and it kind of came out. So a few days ago, even though in my mind I knew that was probably going to be the route.”
What’s different about today?
“This,” he replied with a laugh. “This stuff changes, but the inner-workings of the day ... I got to the ballpark at the same time, I did the same routine. Brandon had done the lineup prior, I had done all the work I do daily to get the lineup up and et cetera, et cetera. So for me, no, nothing really changes. It’s kind of the same day.”
Cossins is accustomed to working through each game from the dugout. He doesn’t carry the title of “bench coach” but basically fills that role.
“I think these last couple months have probably been in my development career the most valuable time that I’ve spent,” Cossins said. “Just to get the processes back, the game management stuff. Even though you’re seeing a lot of games when you’re out with the affiliates, your hard focus is on a different element of the game. So to get these back is good because I haven’t managed in a long time. It’s been fun to do that.”
Cossins couldn’t remember the last game he managed. He hasn’t served on an interim basis over the years, though he handled most of the duties in Boston after Hyde’s ejection.
As it turns out, he managed in the Marlins’ system from 2003-07 in the Gulf Coast and Florida State leagues.
Whatever moves are made today, especially on the pitching side, Cossins will be true to himself while also channeling his inner Hyde.
“I think I’m going to do what we feel is best for our club,” he said. “The conversation that Brandon and I had before will hopefully weigh into that. And of course I always feel like in terms of decision making, I think obviously I’ll weigh it against what Brandon would say because I have so much respect for how he runs the game and so forth.”
The questions about his first game as manager kept coming at Cossins, who did his best to satisfy the media without letting any emotions become a distraction. His thoughts won’t drift during the game. The warm and fuzzies will be stashed away for later.
“My goal is to not reflect on anything while I’m out there,” he said. “I don’t want to get caught in any of those moments. I want to manage this game the way that we feel we have the best chance to win and hopefully things turn out the way we script them. Obviously it doesn’t always work.
“I hope I don’t get caught up in this until the high-fives.”
“I’m happy with how they’re progressing,” he said. “The season’s long. There are a lot of situations that come up throughout the course of the season and at the end of the season is when we’ll all look back and see where a player came from and is currently at. I think that’s the bigger picture.
“I feel like they’re prepared, I feel like they’re working, I feel like they’re taking ownership of what’s happening on the field, which is the precursor to having sustained success behind the plate, because it’s very difficult. So I’m really happy with the progress so far and I look forward to watching these guys through the summer develop. And hopefully at the end we look back and can see a tangible improvement.”
Meanwhile, reliever Nate Karns is getting close to pitching in games down in Sarasota. He’s on the 60-day injured list with a strained right forearm.
The Orioles are starting Dylan Bundy, John Means and Andrew Cashner in the three-game series against the Rangers beginning Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers haven’t passed along their starters.
Update: David Hess walked two batters in the top of the first inning and they both scored with two outs on Brandon Belt’s single.
Update II: Buster Posey hit an opposite-field home run with two outs in the third for a 3-0 lead.
Update III: Renato Núñez homered with two outs in the fourth inning, his eighth in the last 12 games, to cut the lead to 3-1, but Joe Panik had an RBI single in the fifth and the Giants are still batting.
Update IV: Hess loaded the bases with no outs and Miguel Castro let all three inherited runners score to give San Francisco a 7-1 lead.
Update VI: Mike Yastrzemski’s sacrifice fly off Josh Lucas in the ninth gave the Giants an 8-2 lead.