08/10/10 6:22 PM ET
Showalter exploring his closer options
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
When pressed to clarify what he meant by "spread around" opportunities, Showalter said he would evaluate each save situation separately and go with whatever fits.
"I'm sure Simon will get some more opportunities along the way, but I feel like we have some other people capable of doing it other than him," Showalter said. "We'll see what each night dictates.
"Some guys down there have shown that they are capable of getting big outs for us."
Chief among them has been Koji Uehara, who has allowed just one earned run in his last 11 outings, a stretch of 12 2/3 innings. Thought to be a secret weapon for the 'pen this spring, Uehara started the season on the disabled list -- where he spent two separate stints -- and has also been affected by heat issues. He's come into his own recently, tying a season-high with two scoreless innings in Monday's win over the White Sox and striking out three over 1 1/3 innings against the Angels on Wednesday.
"I think it's kind of evolving," Showalter said of Uehara's role in the bullpen, which he has discussed frequently with pitching coach Rick Kranitz.
"We have communication with him on how he's feeling. He's pitched for quite a while and we trust him on that. But at the same time, he seems to have -- knock on wood -- most of that stuff behind him. It's been good for him. He's pitching to his potential right now."
Michael Gonzalez is also an option to spell Simon -- who has allowed four earned runs over his last 4 2/3 innings. Given that was what Gonzalez was signed to do this offseason, Showalter will likely give him an extended look. Gonzalez has a 2.00 ERA in his first nine innings since coming off the 60-day DL with a left shoulder strain and has allowed one run over three frames on the Orioles' seven-game homestand.
Still, Gonzalez (0-2, 4.91 ERA) converted just one of three saves before hitting the DL and Simon -- who has 17 of the Orioles' 22 saves this year -- has filled in better than anyone expected. Just over a year removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Simon -- a converted starter -- had his contract purchased from Triple-A Norfolk on April 27 and recorded a save against the Yankees later that night.
"He has above-average pitches but he's still got to locate them, too," Showalter said of Simon (3-2, 4.62 ERA), who has given up a homer in each of his last two save opportunities. "Guys can turn around a bullet up here."
Roberts thankful for his charity's growth
CLEVELAND -- Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts remembers when the idea for Brian's Baseball Bash became a reality in 2005. His biggest fear -- that no one would show up to support his charitable endeavor -- quickly became laughable.
"That was the biggest thing for me. I'm like, 'Oh gosh, we are going to try this and nobody's going to buy a ticket,'" Roberts said of the event, which benefits the University of Maryland Hospital for Children (UMHC). "And when I found out we had sold out [that first year], I was just blown away by the support of the community, the fans, [and] my teammates."
On Sunday, Aug. 22, Roberts will host the fifth annual Brian's Baseball Bash at Dave and Buster's, in Arundel Mills, Md. The event will try to build on last year's success, which saw $200,000 raised for UMHC. Fans can mingle and get autographs from Roberts and other Orioles players while enjoying a night of games, food and a silent auction.
"It's been a humbling experience to have this going for five years now, raise the kind of money we've raised and to know that people were willing to give their time and hard-earned money to support a good cause," said Roberts, who will once again support UMHC's Pediatric Cardiopulmonary and Child Life Programs with the money raised.
Roberts said the idea came from his passion to help children and his own life-threatening experience with open-heart surgery when he was five.
"Being in the hospital, I can relate to what they are going through, what their families are going through, [and] what my parents went through," Roberts said of UMHC's patients. "So I thought the two meshed as well as anything could mesh for me."
Tickets for this year's event are $200 for adults and $150 for children under 12 and include parking, a Dave and Buster's game card, dinner, dessert, and cocktails in addition to the rare chance to interact with some of the Orioles. For more information, visit www.briansbaseballbash.org.
"A lot of [fundraising] events are catered toward adults," Roberts said. "I thought this was a great mix -- to be able to bring families, bring kids, where they can [do things like] shoot hoops with [Orioles pitcher] Jeremy Guthrie for two hours.
"There [are] not too many times when you are going to get 15, 20 baseball players on the same team, in the same spot."
Struggling rookie Josh Bell was out of Tuesday's starting lineup, but manager Buck Showalter said he would probably play the next two games. Bell, who is hitting .167, is expected to get in some extra work with hitting coach Terry Crowley. ... The Right Side Foundation, the nonprofit organization of Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis and his wife, Christina, announced that its 2nd Annual 5K Run & One-Mile Fun Walk on Sunday drew close to 500 participants. ... With Monday's extra-innings win, the Orioles now have an American League-leading nine walk-off victories this season. They are also tied with the Phillies (10) for the most extra-innings games this season. ... Reliever Jim Johnson is expected to throw an inning for Double-A Bowie on Thursday.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.