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05/30/07 9:49 PM ET
Notes: Walker explains son's name
Walker's child named after two relatives, not Tigers' skipper
By Alan Eskew / Special to MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Orioles left-handed reliever Jamie Walker, who played last year for the Tigers, named his son James Leyland, who was born on Monday. Walker, who rejoined the club on Wednesday, assumes most people will believe he named him after Detroit manager Jim Leyland, but that's not the case. "I know I'm going to catch heck for that," Walker said. He explained his father's name was James and his wife's grandfather's name was Leyland and both fought in World War II. James Leyland Walker happened to be born on Memorial Day, so it was a natural name. "Unfortunately, he looks just like me," Walker said and laughed. Walker did not make it back in time to Baltimore for his son's birth. "I wish I could have been there, but that's the story of my life," Walker said. He said he is two-for-four in being present for the birth of his children. Walker left Baltimore at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and came straight to Kauffman Stadium from the airport after one stop. "I went to the tobacco shop and got 50 cigars," he said. Walker passed them out to teammates in the clubhouse. So is pitching in James Leyland's future? "I want him to be a guitar player," his dad replied. Defense never rests: The Orioles top the American League with a .989 fielding percentage and have committed the fewest errors, 21, in the league. Jeremy Guthrie acknowledged he had less than his best command on Tuesday, but gave up only three hits in seven innings. "Defense," Guthrie said. "They put some hard plays in play that our outfielders got good breaks. Nick [Markakis] caught a ball in the lights on [Mark] Teahen. Orioles outfielders ran down 11 fly balls for putouts -- left fielder Jay Payton 5, right fielder Markakis 4 and Patterson 2. On Monday night, second baseman Brian Roberts made diving stops on the first two plays, robbing the Royals of hits. "You'll see those plays on SportsCenter," starting pitcher Steve Trachsel predicted. There have been only 15 unearned runs scored on the Orioles pitching staff in the first 52 games. "I think we realize pitching and defense are going to win us some ball games," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "That's been the name of the game for a long time. We went out and got Jay Payton to help us in our outfield defense. "I think we spend a little more time with our coaching staff to do defensive alignments and actually move people during games a little bit more that we had in the past. I think that helps when you start talking defense. "Our outfield defense has been tremendous. Brian Roberts has been tremendous. I think everyone has done pretty well. Miggy [shortstop Miguel Tejada] is much better than he started out last year." Few days off: Chad Bradford, who has a down-under delivery, leads AL pitchers with 29 appearances. "It's not something I strive for," Bradford said. "I just want to out and get ground balls." Bradford said he was 15 when it was first suggested he try a sidearm delivery. "It has got lower with the years," he said. Without his unorthodox delivery, he said he never would have pitched in the Majors, "probably not even college ball." Is it easier on the arm? "I don't think so," Bradford said. "I think it's just the same as throwing over the top. It just looks different. I have a couple of surgeries, spent some time on the disabled list." Bradford appeared in 77 games, including the playoffs, last season with the Mets. His regular-season high was 75 games in 2002 with the Athletics. He threw 17 pitches, 10 for strikes, in a perfect eighth inning on Tuesday against the Royals. "We're using him a lot," Perlozzo said. "He's been throwing strike one. He's been a big plus for us. He pretty much lets us know every night whether he's available or not. The thing with Chad is the majority of the time out he hasn't thrown too much pitches, a lot of time single digits or just barely into the teens. Whenever he throws more than that we usually give him a day off." Minor points: Left-hander Garrett Olson, a 2005 sandwich-round pick out of Cal Poly, is 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA with Triple-A Norfolk. In 59 innings, he has allowed 52 hits, walked 15 and struck out 49. ... Remember Beau Hale, a 2000 first-round pick out of the University of Texas who missed the 2003-04 seasons after shoulder surgery? He started on Tuesday for Double-A Bowie at Reading, giving up two earned runs on 10 hits in a no-decision, while walking none and striking out none. In 11 starts, he is 5-3 with a 4.37 ERA. ... Billy Rowell, who was the ninth overall pick in the Draft last year, has played seven games with Class A Delmarva after coming back from a Spring Training oblique injury. He is hitting .333 with one home run and one double and five RBIs in 21 at-bats. He has hit safely in six of his last seven games and the only game he did not get a hit, he walked twice. He has a .462 on-base percentage. On deck: Brian Burres and Angels right-hander Kelvim Escobar are the pitching probables on Thursday for the opener of a four-game series at Anaheim.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.