Sherrill not worried about slow start
O's closer says he feels fine coming off injury-plagued '08
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- George Sherrill has been here before. Baltimore's closer said Thursday that he's not concerned by his slow start to Spring Training, largely because it's a pattern he repeats every year. Shortly after allowing two earned runs to the Marlins, Sherrill held court on his continued spring struggles.
"Up until pretty much last year, I've had to make the team every year. I've never really helped my cause," said Sherrill. "My ERA in [the Cactus League] is probably like a 12.00 or something like that. I'm used to it. There was one year, in '06, where it went up until the wire. I ended up making the club, but I had like a 14.00 [ERA]. I want to be better, but it's just a matter of going out there and getting it done."
Sherrill, who spent a month on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation last season, said that his arm is healthy. The southpaw also said that he hasn't been slowed by a hamstring injury suffered at the start of Spring Training, an ailment that kept him from covering first base but never really bothered him on the mound.
Instead, the problem is much more nebulous. Sherrill said that his pitches don't appear to have the same sink that they normally do, and he said they're getting hit hard mostly because they're on the same plane. He tried to alter his setup on Thursday, but walked a batter and gave up three hits before recording his only out.
"My arm feels fine. Everything feels good," he said, offering no explanation for his 6.75 ERA this spring. "It's usually bad until the last couple of days and then the mechanics work themselves out. I'll get there, though. I'm not worried about it. I'll just take my licks here and get the bad ones out of the way."
Sherrill has been scored upon in three straight outings, providing a neat and orderly juxtaposition to former closer Chris Ray, who hasn't been scored upon in nine outings.
Manager Dave Trembley named Sherrill his closer because he didn't want to subject Ray -- who missed all of last year while recovering from ligament replacement surgery on his elbow -- to much pressure. And now, despite their divergent trajectories, Trembley is sticking to Sherrill, his All-Star closer from last season.
"He's never been very good in the spring," he said. "I think he's said that [and] I think he has a track record of that. I think you base your decision on what he did for us last year and you go from there."
Still, if the Orioles eventually have to make a change in plans, Sherrill said he'd be fine with that. When asked directly if he'd understand Ray being handed the closer's job, Sherrill answered immediately.
"For sure. He's doing good this spring," Sherrill said. "If that's something they want to do, they're going to do it. All I want to do is win, no matter what my title is."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.