Notes: Millar not fazed by trade rumors
O's ready to head back home; Ripken to be honored Tuesday
OAKLAND -- With nine days left until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Kevin Millar knows he can't get away from the rumors. Baltimore's first baseman has been one of the oft-mentioned names who could be headed elsewhere at the deadline, but he's at peace with the entire process and doesn't think he'll actually be traded.
"Honestly, it's about normal," Millar said. "Once you've played a few years in the big leagues and you've played in the playoffs, I think you become a commodity at the deadline. This year's a little more strange because there doesn't seem to be a blockbuster player out there that's really going to come in and change the situation. In past years, you had Randy Johnson or Pedro Martinez-type difference-makers in discussions, and I don't think you see that this year.
"You're looking at a few closers or relief guys for teams that need just a few pieces."
Millar, who went into Sunday's game batting .277 with a .393 on-base percentage, could well be one of those pieces. The veteran has been mentioned in potential deals that could take him to New York or Atlanta -- among other places -- but he has consistently said that he'd like to stay in Baltimore and be part of the team's rebuilding core.
"When you talk about getting traded, it's not always a better scenario," he said. "You could get traded, hypothetically speaking, to a team that's not going to make the playoffs. If the question is asked, I'd rather stay here and be an Oriole. If we close strong, we could finish in second place and that would be a tremendous accomplishment. We've got to be focused. We're playing to have a better second half as an individual, and we're playing to have a better second half as a team."
Most players claim that they don't follow the trade rumors of the day, but Millar frankly refutes that line of logic. He said that most players know exactly what's going on, even if they don't feel like admitting it.
"I think that's a cliche when guys say they don't watch TV and don't read the papers," said Millar. "Everybody reads the papers and everybody watches ESPN. Every guy in this locker room is a baseball player and they know what's going on. There may be one or two percent of guys that once they leave this locker room, they go into a shell."
"These guys are pros," added interim manager Dave Trembley. "They probably know more information than you and I do because they get it from more reliable sources than I think you and I have. I don't think it affects them at all. I think that's the great thing about these guys that are Major League Baseball players. They are able to focus, filter out all the distractions and not worry about things that they don't have any control over. And they love to compete."
Millar has an option for next year that will vest if and when he reaches 475 plate appearances, but he said that will really take care of itself. For now, he's just focused on helping the Orioles stay afloat through what has been a trying season. And he sees so many positives in the Baltimore clubhouse that he reiterates over and over that he'd like to stick around.
"I want to help mold this team and be a part of changing the attitude and personality here," he said. "This team went through a lot of things in the first half -- good and not-so-good. Now, you're starting to see guys settle down, relax and play better baseball. Even in games we haven't won, we're playing better baseball. Sometimes we get beat, but you don't see a lot of mistakes. We're on top of our game on the bench and on the field. I just want to be a part of that."
Pack your bags: The Orioles will head back home Sunday night after a week-long road trip, and Trembley said things will be markedly better if they can leave with a win. Baltimore went 2-3 in the first five games of the excursion, and Trembley went into Sunday's game with a 14-13 record as field boss.
"The day off in between makes it a little bit longer," Trembley said of the trip, "But the day game after a night game makes it a little bit shorter. You'd certainly like to end the trip on an upswing by winning today."
When the Orioles get home, they'll have to prepare for a weird situation on Thursday. Baltimore will play the ending of its suspended game against New York before its regular game starts, and Trembley will have to prepare to put his players in the right spots. The game will resume in the eighth inning with the Yankees leading, 8-6.
"Tomorrow, I'm going to get the box score and the lineups," Trembley said. "I'm going to look at the roster and see who's available. We might be able to add a couple guys because they weren't here when that was going on."
History in the making: The Orioles will stage a Hall of Fame celebration for shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. on Tuesday, just a few days before the Baltimore icon's induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY. Trembley said he was looking forward to the proceedings, which will take place before the opener of the series against Tampa Bay.
"It certainly will be nice to be there in person," he said. "I hope I get to meet him [and] maybe get a few minutes to talk to him. I know he's going to be busy that day, but it would certainly be a thrill to do that."
Quotable: "I think I'll be here. I think I'll be an Oriole and I want to be an Oriole. You don't want players that don't want to be here, and I want to be here." -- Millar on his immediate future
Coming up: The Orioles will get an off-day Monday and will face off against the Devil Rays on Tuesday. Daniel Cabrera will get the ball in the opener, and he'll be matched up against Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.