Closing thoughts

Roch Around the Clock

August 19, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

I understand why Orioles manager Dave Trembley doesn't want to force Jim Hoey into the closer's role. Heck, I didn't even want him in the majors until the bullpen started imploding again. But I'll stick with my earlier statement that the team should begin evaluating him in the ninth inning as the final weeks tick down.

What could it hurt? His confidence? He has been drilled at this level before and made it back.

Right now, it's good to see him having success in the seventh and eighth innings. If Chris Ray was the closer in 2008, I'd be projecting Hoey as a right-handed setup man - similar to what Armando Benitez gave the Orioles in 1997 when Randy Myers closed. But Ray won't be around next season.

Hoey can win the job in spring training, but don't the Orioles need to determine if he's ready before free agency starts?

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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