08/05/10 1:47 AM ET
Hernandez headed to DL with ankle injury
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"It blew up pretty bad swelling-wise once he got inside," said manager Buck Showalter of Hernandez's ankle injury, which was suffered in the middle of a five-run seventh inning. "So that's going to be an issue."
Showalter said he had already spoken with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail prior to meeting with the media and that the two would prepare for a worst-case scenario.
"[Head athletic trainer Richard Bancells] was hinting it's a good possibility," said Hernandez when asked what the chances were that he goes to the DL. "Just because it's my landing foot and the tendon that's sore is the tendon that takes the longest time to heal."
Hernandez entered the game following Matt Albers, who was charged with four runs and recorded just one out, and he suffered the injury hustling to cover home plate on a wild pitch.
Hernandez gingerly walked back to the mound following the play -- which allowed Bobby Abreu to score -- and assistant athletic trainer Brian Ebel came out to the hill and instructed Hernandez to take a few steps. The Orioles promptly inserted Koji Uehara, who recorded the final out of the inning.
"I didn't feel [my ankle] roll, I just felt like the ligament went over the bone," said Hernandez, who will be reevaluated on Thursday.
A former starter, Hernandez has enjoyed favorable success out of the bullpen and should the O's made a move to recall another reliever, Triple-A Norfolk's Armando Gabino.
Gabino was named the O's Pitcher of the Month, going 3-0 with a save and a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings last month. However, he is not on the 40-man roster, meaning the O's would have to remove someone and expose them to waivers first. Another less likely scenario would be to recall a position player on the 40-man to help add insurance for Josh Bell and Brian Roberts, both of whom sustained minor injuries on Wednesday.
Showalter focused on wins, not naming closer
BALTIMORE -- New Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he's aware of the team's situation at closer, and he will continue to use whatever arm he feels is best suited for the ninth inning.
"We talked a little bit with Alfredo [Simon], and we will see how situations develop," Showalter said. "I understand the rules of a save, OK? I also understand, more importantly, the rules of a W for the Orioles."
Showalter used Michael Gonzalez for the eighth inning and first two outs of the ninth before handing the ball to Simon to record the final out of Tuesday's 6-3 win. Gonzalez, who was signed to a two-year, $12 milion deal to be the team's closer this offseason, has made it no secret he would like to return to the ninth inning, but Simon has filled in admirably in the three months Gonzalez was on the disabled list.
Simon is 15-for-17 in save opportunities, while Gonzalez has allowed just one earned run in seven appearances since coming off the shelf. While Showalter wouldn't commit to a specific closer prior to Wednesday's game, he didn't rule out the possibility of delegating that role to just one arm down the road.
"It makes it a lot easier," Showalter said. "The situation I think we have been in [is] that when someone says, 'What's my role?' Your role is when the phone rings to pick up the ball and get ready to pitch, regardless of the inning.
"In a perfect world, of course, if you have got the right guy, [it would help to have an established closer]. I look at it as the priority for the Orioles is to win a game. If that creates some different roles along the way, then we'll do it."
Butcher sees bright future for O's young arms
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' trio of young starters -- Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Jake Arrieta -- have all struggled a certain amount this season, but it's hardly time to hit the panic button.
"There's going to be up and downs," said Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher of bringing along an inexperienced staff. "There's not really a track record for a guy that has a limited amount of time in the big leagues. So, you look at his track record in the Minor Leagues and hope it transfers over to the Major League level.
"I know [the Orioles] have some good arms, and it's going to be a learning process."
Butcher, who brought along a 101-loss Tampa Bay Rays squad in 2006, which featured young starters James Shields (24) and Scott Kazmir (22) as well as future starters Edwin Jackson (22) and Jason Hammel (23), said that it's important for a young guy to keep the same mindset despite a losing record.
"You've got to change the culture of what you have, you [have] got to go out there and feel like you are a championship team. That's first," Butcher said. "When you are not having success it's tough, but you [have] got to be able to know you are better, and that there's light at the end of the tunnel. You've got to know that you belong here, and it's going to be a process. You've got to grind it out."
Butcher said another common pitfall for a rookie starter can be trying to get away from what got them there in the first place, and that too often a young arm tries to pitch off a scouting report and gets away from his game. That's been evidenced by Matusz (3-11, 5.46 ERA) -- Wednesday's starter -- as well as Bergesen (3-9, 6.63) and Arrieta (3-3, 5.47 ERA), who have all admitted at one time or another this season of getting away from that trademark sinkerball (Bergesen) or pitching off an above-average fastball (Arrieta).
"A lot of times when you get a young kid up here [who struggles] they tend to fall back on [thinking], 'I must be doing something wrong,' and trying to fix something," Butcher said. "But if they don't understand what they are doing right, they will never fix what they are doing wrong.
"They are just going to have to stick to their guns and go out there and pitch their game. If you deter away from that you are going to get it handed to you."
Manager Buck Showalter said he will continue to monitor Brian Roberts' health and will rely on the team's athletic training staff and Roberts in determining when to give the second baseman a day off. Roberts returned to the lineup on July 23, and prior to that hadn't played since the home opener. Former interim manager Juan Samuel had tried to ease him back into games. ... The Orioles player development department named Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Armando Gabino Pitcher of the Month and Double-A Bowie's Joe Mahoney Player of the Month for July. Gabino went 3-0 with a save and a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings, while Mahoney hit .405 with six homers and 16 RBIs. ... Join Nick and Christina Markakis on Sunday for the "The Right Side Foundation's Second Annual 5K Run & 1-Mile Fun Walk" at Baltimore's Patterson Park. The race starts at 6 p.m. ET and those interested can sign up now at RightSideFoundation.org. ... Ray Miller and the late Johnny Oates were elected into the Orioles Hall of Fame on March 22 and will be inducted prior to Saturday's game against the White Sox.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.