TORONTO -- Once upon a time, between 1996-97, Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel played for Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston.
To Samuel, who squared off against his former mentor on Tuesday, Gaston was one of the best managers that he had the experience of playing under -- Gaston had a managing style that left an impression, and one that he is lucky enough to emulate today.
"I loved playing for Cito," Samuel said. "Every time people ask me who my favorite manager was, who I played for, I always say Cito and Sparky Anderson -- I always say those two guys."
While Samuel was nearing the end of his playing career when he signed with Toronto in 1996, he said Gaston's biggest attribute was not necessarily his knowledge of the game, but the communication he had with his players. Gaston, who led the Jays to World Series championships in '92 and '93, had a full-disclosure policy with his players. It was a policy that many players are not necessarily accustomed to, but one that they would appreciate in the long run.
"Some players don't like the truth, but you have to let them know and they will respect you more," Samuel said. "You have to be honest and let them know, and Cito was very good with that.
"I remember one year that he decided to play Carlos Delgado and Shaun Green a little bit more against lefties. He told me, 'You're [still] going to get the tougher lefties, the Randy Johnsons, the Mark Langstons, but I'm going to let the younger guys face some of them.' I said, 'I'll be ready, don't worry about me.' He said, 'I have to worry about my players.' I felt like it took a load off my shoulders. Knowing when [you're playing] and when you're not playing -- that means a great deal as a player."
True to form, Gaston remains in Samuel's corner as he embarks on his first, albeit temporary, stint as a Major League manager.
"I was kind of hoping he would get a chance to manage that team for a while," said Gaston. "When he was here with us, Sammy was always in the game.
"Sammy was a good player, a good person and a great guy," Gaston added.
After Dave Trembley was relieved of his managerial duties on June 4, Samuel had skippered the O's to a 16-29 record heading into Tuesday.
Samuel wants direction with Bergesen
TORONTO -- Following Monday night's 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel dealt with a barrage of questions pertaining to starting pitcher Brad Bergesen's future.
The sophomore right-hander lasted only five-plus innings in the series opener, while being tagged for a career-high eight runs. It was just one of many poor starts this season. Bergesen currently sports an ERA of 6.95, and although he is scheduled to start on Saturday, it remains all but certain that he will not.
"We need to discuss what we are going to do," Samuel said. "Right now he is [scheduled to start Saturday], but it's something that we really need to discuss and figure out. Is it the best thing for him and our ballclub? Is he going to be the guy we're counting on? It's something that we really need to look into."
One thing for Samuel remains certain he does not want to option Bergesen to Triple-A Norfolk for the third time this season only to bring him back up in the foreseeable future. Samuel wants direction.
"That's something we need to sit down and discuss with our [front-office personnel], what our decision is going to be. Is it going to be, 'OK, we need to leave these guys here and they need to work through their struggles?' Or do we need to probably keep those guys down there a little bit longer? Because it seems that we can't just keep going back and forth with the same guys.
"And yes, they are pitching well sometimes [when sent down], but then those guys come up here and we know the competition is not the same."
With a rotation that boasts three starters below the age of 25 -- Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta -- Samuel stressed how important it is for younger pitchers to learn how to alter their approach with each hitter -- a tactic that is undoubtedly amplified at the big league level.
"They just need to make adjustments -- pitch [differently] hitter to hitter." Samuel said. "It seems like the first time around, some of them are doing OK. The second time around or third time through the lineup, the hitters have made their adjustments and [the pitchers] have not been able to. They have not been able to make [adjustments], and [have not] made good pitches when they needed to."
Although there is much speculation at this point, Triple-A starter Zach Britton's name has arisen in several conversations surrounding Saturday's start. He has a 1-1 record with a 2.05 ERA for the Tides this season, and is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Roberts gets day off
TORONTO -- As expected, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was not in Tuesday's starting lineup against the Blue Jays, as he is receiving a scheduled day of rest.
According to interim manager Juan Samuel, Roberts -- activated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday -- is eligible as a substitute, due to the Orioles' lack of reserves. With first baseman Ty Wigginton serving the final day of his two-game suspension, and the O's carrying a 13-man pitching staff, the club only has two position players on the bench -- Roberts and outfielder Corey Patterson.
"Hopefully we will keep our fingers crossed and can survive one more day," Samuel said.
He also added that Roberts' lower back -- which caused the second baseman to miss 91 straight games -- was not bothered by the Rogers Centre turf during Monday's 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays. Roberts will likely be in Wednesday's starting lineup for the O's third and final game in Toronto.
"Brian is good," Samuel said. "That is something we made sure we checked after the game. As you know, Nick [Markakis] also got hit. A little scary for us last night, but those guys are fine."
Markakis was pegged in the right hand by Jays reliever Casey Janssen in the seventh inning. He still started on Tuesday, batting third and playing right field.
When asked if any players were nervous in the O's clubhouse with the July 31 Trade Deadline looming, interim manager Juan Samuel responded, "If you look at our clubhouse, these guys are very lose. I don't think there is much nervousness at all." ... Following Monday night's 9-5 loss, the O's droped their record to 0-10 against the Blue Jays this season. The last time they lost as many as 10 straight to the Jays was April 11, 1999, and May 10, 2000, when they lost 13 consecutive games. ... Tuesday's starter Kevin Millwood has allowed at least two runs in the first inning in nine of his last 10 starts. He continued that trend by surrendering a three-run home run to Jays outfielder Jose Bautista in the first inning.
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.