Trachsel won't start in series vs. Red Sox

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Johnson likely to stay in 'pen

May 27, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,SUN REPORTER

After sitting 14 days between his past two starts, Orioles right-hander Steve Trachsel will again take a prolonged spot on the bench.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley announced his rotation for the coming Boston series and Trachsel, whose normal turn would have come on Thursday's day off, is not scheduled to pitch against the Red Sox.

Daniel Cabrera, Garrett Olson, Brian Burres and Jeremy Guthrie - in that order - will face Boston and remain on four days' rest. Trembley, who announces his rotation one series in advance, was noncommittal on when Trachsel will start again.

"Whenever I need another fifth starter, that's the possibility that Steve Trachsel will pitch," Trembley said. "I will keep all of the guys on their regular turn as best I can."

Technically, Trachsel will be placed in the bullpen while he waits, but Trembley said he would use him as a reliever only in "an emergency situation, because he's only done that one time in his career."

Trachsel, 37, has made 417 major league starts and one relief appearance in the regular season.

"I'll just kind of do whatever I can to contribute at this point," Trachsel said. "[Pitching in relief] has got to happen sooner or later, I guess. But yeah, that would be a lot more difficult, I think, than having time between starts."

On Saturday, after not pitching since May 9, Trachsel lasted just 1 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, giving up nine runs and pushing his ERA to 8.82. He said he believes he was tipping his pitches and has made a minor adjustment.

While waiting for his next start, Trachsel said he expects to throw several bullpen side sessions and at least one simulated game, in which he likely will face Oriole reserves Guillermo Quiroz and Luis Hernandez.

"You try to make it as close [to a game] as you can," Trachsel said. "It's still obviously not the same, but it is better than a bullpen."

Johnson a relief

Orioles reliever Jim Johnson has been a starter throughout most of his professional career. And with Trachsel struggling, one potential option would be to move Johnson into the rotation.

But he is perhaps the club's most reliable reliever, having allowed just four earned runs in 18 games (1.32 ERA). And Trembley wants him to stay in the bullpen.

"I don't think it's hard to imagine that he could start, but I think if you do that you weaken what he's already done in the bullpen," Trembley said. "And I don't know if you want to do that - unless you had someone you felt comfortable with that could kind of pick up what he's done. I'm not so sure we're at that point yet with him."

Thompson on leave

Tommy Thompson, who won the organization's 2007 Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award, has taken a leave of absence as the manager of the Single-A Frederick Keys. He has been replaced by former major leaguer Richie Hebner, who had been the hitting instructor with the independent Nashua Pride.

"There's no certain timeline on Tommy's situation," said David Stockstill, the organization's director of player development. "He'll get through his personal situation and we'll discuss baseball after that. At this point, we want to make sure he gets his personal issues straightened out and then we can get back to baseball."

Hebner, 60, has 30 years of baseball experience, and is a former big league hitting coach with the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox.

Around the horn

Triple-A Norfolk starter Hayden Penn left his outing yesterday after one inning with discomfort in the back of his pitching shoulder. He wanted to remain in the game but was pulled for precautionary reasons. ... The Orioles improved their record in day games to 6-11.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

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