Trembley flips Markakis, Mora in batting order

Outfielder moved to No. 2 spot after enduring 3-for-24 slump

May 04, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley said his juggling of the lineup before Friday's series opener here was done to get Nick Markakis on track.

Trembley flip-flopped Markakis and Melvin Mora in the order, with Markakis hitting second and Mora third. He also moved Kevin Millar out of the cleanup slot in favor of Aubrey Huff. Markakis and Mora drove in all four of the Orioles' runs in a 4-3 win Friday night, prompting Trembley to stick with those lineup changes for yesterday's game.

"As soon as I see Nick trying to become something that he's not, I've got to get him out of where he was," said Trembley, who hasn't committed to the lineup change for the long term. "He was swinging from his butt ... and trying to hit the ball nine miles. You can tell him not to do that, and you can say, `Hey, this is what you're doing.' But ... I'm the idiot that keeps leaving him in that position to do that."

Trembley told Markakis, who had been 3-for-24 over his previous six games, to concentrate on hitting behind the runner and going the other way. Markakis responded by going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.

"We want to score some runs,"Trembley said. "I think it's just a better fit that way. They got a right-hander on the mound, they're going to walk [Brian] Roberts. OK, you walk Roberts, you're going to pitch to Markakis. To me, those are the things I think about."

Markakis seemed indifferent about the lineup change, saying, "Two hole, three hole. It's in the same area of the order. It's just a switch-up. The manager felt comfortable with it and the guys were OK with it."

Slowing Sarfate

Reliever Dennis Sarfate was on the field early Friday working with bullpen coach Alan Dunn on shortening his delivery. In his last outing, Sarfate allowed a run on three hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings. He's walked 11 batters in 13 2/3 innings this season.

"He gets too long, he gets too big, he tries to overthrow," Trembley said. "Make your delivery more compact, release the ball out in front of you, don't fall off so much. When he overthrows, he really falls off the side of the mound. I think with him it's establish good old country hardball. Just establish your fastball, not anything else. Take your foot off the pedal. He gets real excited.

"The message with him, as it's been since Day One [is] you're in the big leagues. Pitch and act like a big leaguer. Show that you're a big leaguer. ... Some of them are set in their ways, but you get their attention a whole lot more readily when they fail. When they fail, now they're more apt to listen. Sarfate has got a lot of pride and he's waited a long time for this opportunity to be here. So we're trying to help him."

Flip of the cap

It's a tradition that Orioles closer George Sherrill could get used to. After Sherrill's past two saves, Millar, the Orioles' first baseman and resident clubhouse jokester, has encouraged teammates to flip up the bill of their caps during the congratulatory post-game handshake session. It not only celebrates a win, but it also mimics the unconventional way that Sherrill wears his hat.

"Kevin said that he did it the other day against Tampa, while I was pitching, but I had to focus on [catcher Ramon Hernandez] so I didn't see it," Sherrill said. "He said that Roberts was just in stitches. Yeah, it's funny. But I'm sticking to my story of that's how they gave it to me."

Asked what kind of response he has gotten from Sherrill, Millar said: "He has to enjoy it. He's the one who wears his hat like that. It's been a lot of fun."

Home not so sweet

Mora has always enjoyed hitting at Camden Yards, but at this point, he's not exactly bothered that the Orioles are in the midst of a long road stretch. After going 0-for-4 yesterday, Mora is hitting .273 (15-for-55) this season on the road and has a .200 average (13-for-65) at Camden Yards. For his career, Mora is a .274 hitter at home and a .282 hitter on the road.

"It's not like I feel bad hitting at Camden Yards. It's just that I'm hitting it and they're catching it," Mora said. "We're in May. It's not like I'm worried about it. My numbers will be together in the end. They'll be good numbers at the end of the year."jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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