O's riding momentum into All-Star break
Strong series vs. theRangers just what the team needed
ARLINGTON -- The Orioles have a chance to go into the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak with a win Sunday against Texas. Even with that, winning the four-game series, which the Orioles are guaranteed of, is a big boost to the 28-59 team, interim manager Juan Samuel said.
"Yes, you do want to go out on a positive note," Samuel said prior to the game. "But we've gone out there and won this series already so that's something to build on."
It's also the way the Orioles have played out this stretch before the All-Star break, with their first two come-from-behind victories on the road and then beating Cliff Lee on Saturday, the day after he was traded to Texas in a blockbuster deal.
"Getting some wins as of recent and going to the break with that momentum would be good," outfielder Corey Patterson said. "Come back and have a better second half. If we can play well against the Rangers, obviously we can play well against anybody."
Samuel aware change could be made
ARLINGTON -- Interim manager Juan Samuel is well aware that Sunday could be his final game in the role, if the Orioles decide to make a managerial change during the four-day All-Star break. Buck Showalter has been reported to be the front-runner for the job.
If Sunday is indeed Samuel's final game, he commends the Orioles for their effort during his 34 games as interim manager. The Orioles went into Sunday's game with a 13-20 record under Samuel, having won three straight games.
"If the decision is going to be made, there's nothing but positive things for me to take out of this experience," Samuel said. "I have enjoyed it very, very much. And you have to give it to those guys. The guys have stayed in there for me.
"The fire is there," he said. "These guys are playing hard and it shows on the field. We just want to encourage those guys and stay positive with them."
Samuel admitted this a tough time for every member of the O's coaching staff.
"You could see where whoever comes in might want to evaluate and keep the staff and see," Samuel said. "There's all different ways they could go with it. Yes, there's always uncertainty when situations like this come up. You just hope things will work out for everybody."
Gonzalez could return to O's after break
ARLINGTON -- Closer Mike Gonzalez (strained left shoulder), who pitched on Saturday in a rehab assignment in Class A Aberdeen, could join the Orioles after the All-Star break.
"We'll find out when we get back," interim manager Juan Samuel said. Samuel said Luke Scott (left hamstring strain) isn't going to join the Orioles after the break, and will probably need a few rehab games.
Second baseman Brian Roberts (strained abdominal muscle) has started picking up baseball activities. He hit off coaches on Saturday and is taking ground balls, but there is nothing scheduled beyond that, Samuel said.
The Orioles had the same starting lineup in back-to-back games for the first time since June 22-23. The unusual part was Craig Tatum catching Saturday's night game and Sunday's day game. "Normally you would not catch Tatum after a night game," Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said. "But we told him to drink a lot of fluid and go get them." ... Right fielder Nick Markakis went into Sunday's game leading the American League in doubles with 28. Since the start of the 2007 season, only Boston's Dustin Pedroia (165) has more than Markakis' 164 doubles, and the former is on the disabled list for at least the next month.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.