Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo isn't committed to running out the same lineup for every game, with a surplus of outfielders giving him enough options that the look can change almost nightly.
Who figured that David Newhan would become a constant?
After fighting to make the team as a utility player in spring training, Newhan has relinquished his seat on the bench and started five of the past six games. He started in left field again Friday night for the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels and hit his second homer of the season.
"He's swinging the bat, hustling, giving us a little energy, sparking us a little bit," Perlozzo said. "He's really done enough, for me, to be playing."
Newhan hit safely in five of his six games with an at-bat before Friday night. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI and stolen base on Monday, and 2-for-5 with two RBIs the next night.
"It's not like it's a tryout," he said. "I go 4-for-4 or 0-for-4, I might not play the next day or I might play. I'm going to be used, regardless. I think I'm in Sam's plans.
"We have guys who are all capable. Like they say, he'll probably go with the hot hand."
Meanwhile, Corey Patterson's hands remain idle. He's made only two starts this season, and didn't have an at-bat in the Tampa Bay series, though he appeared in three games. He began Friday night's game on the bench.
"I don't want him to settle into a reserve role," Perlozzo said of Patterson, whose average has dipped to .100. "I'll just need to find him some time."
A win is not a win
Reliever Jim Brower received a text message shortly after Thursday night's game, congratulating him on earning the victory. A few minutes later, he got another one.
It read, "Never mind."
The Devil Rays' official scorer ruled that, because Brower was ineffective in the eighth while allowing a hit to the only batter he faced, which let an inherited runner score, Chris Ray should be awarded the victory once the Orioles went ahead in the ninth.
"I was thinking it was a win because of the situation, but when they brought up that it was a judgment call on my effectiveness, you can't compete with that," Brower said. "Ray threw the heck out of the ball. It would have been nice to get the win, though."
Brower could use one. He allowed two or more runs in his first three outings before Thursday, after posting a 5.06 ERA in spring training.
A team official spoke with Tampa Bay's official scorer after the game, but it was decided that the judgement was permissible based on Rule 10.19 c (4) that states: "Do not credit a victory to a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when a succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain the lead. In such cases, credit the succeeding relief pitcher with the victory."
"I felt he read too much into it," Brower said. "If it was a non-save situation, I'd totally understand. But it was a save situation and [Ray's] the closer. He wants to be on the top of the leader board. Saves are hard to get. But so are wins."
Brower should know. Two years ago, while pitching for San Francisco, Brower replaced the injured starter and allowed one run over four innings, leaving the game with the Giants ahead. Joe Nathan tossed three shutout innings and was credited with the win.
J. Lopez sits again
Javy Lopez didn't start for the second time in three games, but Perlozzo said the decision has nothing to do with Lopez's elbow and thumb injuries.
"I think they're both a little better," Perlozzo said. "He's just not swinging the bat yet like he's capable. And it's time to find out about some people."