Trembley's Plan In Place For 'pen

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

April 25, 2009|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,childs.walker@baltsun.com

Three weeks into the season, Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he has a clear blueprint for how he will use his bullpen.

As long as none of the three are overworked, Chris Ray will pitch the seventh inning, Jim Johnson will pitch the eighth and George Sherrill will close.

Trembley will use Jamie Walker to match up with left-handers and Danys Baez to match up with batters against whom he has thrived. Matt Albers and Brian Bass will be the primary long relievers. Baez, Albers and Bass will all be available to finish games in nonsave situations.

"I think what it is, is putting guys in a slot and leaving them there," Trembley said of his plan.

Ray, for one, likes having a set role.

"You don't have to jump every time the phone rings when you know what your role is," he said.

Trembley said he will avoid using Sherrill three days in a row and will probably turn to Ray as his closer on such occasions. Ray struggled in his first two outings of the season but has regained the form he showed in spring straining with four straight scoreless outings.

Ray compared his early-season motion with tapes of himself from 2007, and the difference was drastic. He ironed out the kinks by working on his mechanics in front of a mirror. Though he's considered a long-term candidate to regain the closer role, he's happy pitching the seventh for now.

"All I want to do is go out there and put up zeros," he said.

Hill back on mound

Starter Rich Hill pitched his first rehabilitation assignment for Single-A Frederick on Friday night.

Hill gave up a hit and hit a batter but struck out three and walked none against the Potomac Nationals. He threw only 33 pitches, 24 for strikes, but continued to throw on the side after he was removed. His hardest fastball was 87 mph, according to the stadium gun in Frederick.

Mora feeling better

Third baseman Melvin Mora said his strained left hamstring is feeling better, but he's not sure whether he'll return Tuesday, when he's eligible to come off the disabled list.

"I feel like I've got my leg back," said Mora, who has taken batting practice and run during pre-game drills the past several days.

Trembley wasn't sure about Mora's status but said he might go on a rehabilitation assignment soon.

Outfielder Ryan Freel could also go on a rehabilitation assignment next week. Freel went on the DL on Tuesday after an attempted pickoff throw hit him on the head in Boston.

Around the horn

Left-hander Tony Butler, one of the five players the Orioles received in the Erik Bedard trade with the Seattle Mariners, had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder Thursday. David Stockstill, the organization's player development director, said there was no structural damage and that he could be pitching again by early August. ... Second base prospect Ryan Adams is expected to return from the DL (strained hamstring) this weekend for Single-A Frederick, Stockstill said.

Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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