Team tells closer Sherrill to take a deserved rest

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

June 22, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun Reporter

Only about a half-hour had elapsed after George Sherrill had gotten the final three outs of the Orioles' series-opening victory Friday night when manager Dave Trembley approached the closer in the visiting clubhouse and told him he would get the next day off.

Sherrill, who got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam against the Milwaukee Brewers to pick up his 25th save, appreciated Trembley's concern, but not the message.

"They were kind of telling me that I got the day off tonight, and I said, `No, I don't,' " Sherrill said before last night's game. "I just tried to talk them into letting me play catch and see how it feels. If my arm's got anything in it, I want to be in there. That's not saying [Jim] Johnson couldn't step in there and do the job, but I may turn out to be the only option to go with in the ninth. You just never know. If my arm is hanging by a thread, then I'll worry. Right now, I feel fine."

Before last night's 3-2 loss, in which he didn't appear, Sherrill had pitched in six of the Orioles' previous seven games, though the team did have a day off during that stretch. He has been on the mound in 11 of the Orioles' 19 games this month. Having already logged 36 appearances and 33 2/3 innings, Sherrill is getting close to his career high of 45 2/3 innings, and the Orioles haven't even reached the halfway mark.

Sherrill did make 73 and 72 appearances the past two seasons, but he was used in a situational role, often to get just one out. Trembley said the club is very much aware of Sherrill's history and will monitor the first-year closer, 31.

"Common sense would tell you, if you look at Sherrill's history, he's slowly but surely approaching the amount of innings that he pitched in a whole season right now," Trembley said. "I think you have to exercise very good judgment with him."

Sherrill, who acknowledged last week after getting beat by the Pittsburgh Pirates that his arm felt dead, said his control problems Friday night weren't related to fatigue.

"I've been told by a couple of guys that: `You got to take a day off when you can get them. If they want to give you one, take it,' " Sherrill said. "But my thing is, what happens if we come down to August and September and we needed this game today and they had me sitting, and we ended up losing [in the late innings]. I'm not saying if they stuck me in there I would have held it or anything. But you're named a closer for a reason."

Liz gets pep talks

A day after Radhames Liz surrendered five runs and couldn't get out of the third inning, the rookie starter was the recipient of pep talks from Trembley and pitching coach Rick Kranitz.

"I think it's a natural thing that a young guy like himself goes through. He cares. But what I just told him right there is that he's got to walk around today like he pitched a no-hitter [Friday]," Trembley said. "He's got to walk around today and get into the fold of the game and practice like nothing bothers him. The other guys on this club are looking at him. I told him the reason why he's here. He's not the first guy that went through that last night, and he's not the first guy I've talked to like that."

Around the horn

Brian Roberts went 1-for-3 with a walk last night and is four hits shy of 1,000 for his career. ... Jamie Walker is one appearance shy of 500 for his career. ... Trembley said Lance Cormier, who was limited on Friday by back spasms, was feeling better. ... Adam Loewen pitched a scoreless inning for Double-A Bowie on Friday, striking out one. He is expected to pitch again today ... With Chicago Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano (shoulder) on the disabled list, left-hander Sean Marshall is expected to get the start in Tuesday's series opener. ... As expected, Melvin Mora got the night off as Aubrey Huff played first base.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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