BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' offense, stagnant for much of this season, is hoping for improvement now there's a new manager.
The O's have scored just eight runs in their past seven games and only 14 during the nine-game losing streak. In addition, they have scored three runs or fewer in 35 of their 55 games.
Baltimore's .244 batting average ties the club with Seattle and Cleveland for next-to-last in the American League, and it's been one of the team's surprising problems so far.
Interim manager Juan Samuel wants to get a lineup that's more stable so that players can know what the team is going to want when they take the field each day.
"Understanding each guy's role, that's why I would like to have a set lineup ... so these guys [can] hit from one spot and know what we expect from that spot," Samuel said. --Jeff Seidel
Samuel to give Wieters extra rest
BALTIMORE -- Interim manager Juan Samuel thinks that part of the reason for Matt Wieters' struggles at the plate this season is the heavy workload the catcher is getting behind the plate.
Considered one of the best prospects in baseball before being called up on May 29 of last season, Wieters is hitting just .236 with 16 RBIs, five doubles and four home runs in 2010. But the talented backstop has made a number of impressive defensive plays.
Samuel plans to give his highly touted catcher more days to rest from this point forward, providing him with a chance to regain his leg strength and improve his production at the plate.
"We are thinking how to give him an off-day here or there if we need to, to get his legs back," Samuel said. "Hitters, when their legs are not there, they try to compensate with other parts of their body, and that's what we see here. We just need to give him a break here and there."
In 55 games this season, Wieters has sat out five full contests -- including four since May 16 -- and has been held out of the lineup three other times before being used as a pinch-hitter late in the game. He has also been used twice as a designated hitter.
Samuel's strategy with Wieters' days off will depend partly on when the Orioles' scheduled off-days fall.
"You could also use that [scheduled off-day] and [then] give him a day off," Samuel said. "That would give him two days off. That's what I'm thinking." --Noah Rosenstein
Ohman is O's closer for foreseeable future
BALTIMORE -- The back of Baltimore's bullpen has been a constant topic of discussion this season, but interim manager Juan Samuel silenced part of that issue with his declaration that Will Ohman will be the closer for the foreseeable future.
"Ohman is going to be our guy," Samuel said. "As we know, as the game progresses, it dictates what your needs are. But if everything goes according to plan, yes, Ohman is going to be our closer."
Ohman has been the Orioles' most reliable reliever this season. He started the year with 15 1/3 scoreless innings in 25 appearances before giving up two solo home runs to the Blue Jays on May 30. He has a 1.02 ERA in 17 2/3 total innings (27 appearances).
He gradually became used more in late-game situations and has been the primary ninth-inning guy since Alfredo Simon went on the disabled list on May 25. But former manager Dave Trembley was hesitant to declare Ohman the closer, since his usual role has been as a lefty specialist.
Samuel, apparently, doesn't hold such reservations. He also said that David Hernandez will continue to be used as one of the primary setup guys in the late innings.
"I do have plans to use [Hernandez] late in the game," Samuel said. --Noah Rosenstein
Gonzalez struggles in bullpen session
BALTIMORE -- Opening Day closer Mike Gonzalez, who was moved to the 60-day disabled list on May 25, struggled in a bullpen session in Sarasota, Fla., on Saturday.
"That's what I was informed by pitching coach [Rick Kranitz], that his session wasn't that good," interim manager Juan Samuel said. "He was just not hitting his spots. I'm not really sure about the velocity, but what I was told is it wasn't that good, wasn't what was expected, so we're going to give him two off-days, come back again [on Tuesday], throw one, then two more off-days and go from there."
Gonzalez had been hoping to return for the Orioles' road trip to San Francisco and San Diego next week, but that scenario is less likely after Saturday's session.
"It's just too far ahead for us to think," Samuel said. "We'll see how his next session goes, and we'll have a better idea."
Samuel did not have an update on Alfredo Simon, who took Gonzalez's spot as the closer before being sidelined with a strained hamstring.
Samuel expressed some concern about the status of second baseman Brian Roberts, who is on the 60-day DL recovering from a herniated disc in his lower back. Roberts missed a scheduled extended spring training game on Friday after suffering "unrelated back pain" and may not be ready by June 10, when he was scheduled to play his first full rehab game.
"At this point, yes, you do have to [have concern], because in the situation we're in, you need all the help you can get," Samuel said. "And we all know what Brian can do." --Noah Rosenstein
Noah Rosenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.