O's Leader By Example

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

April 27, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has said time and again that he isn't a prototypical leader; he's not going to make his points vocally.

"I think leadership comes in a lot of different ways," said Roberts, the second-longest-tenured Oriole behind third baseman Melvin Mora. "You guys know me. I am not one that's going to call a team meeting and start ranting and raving about what we are going to do. I think my role here is to lead by example as much as possible."

That's perfectly fine with Orioles manager Dave Trembley, as long as Roberts sets the example as he did Sunday afternoon in the Orioles' 8-5 win over the Texas Rangers.

Roberts scored three runs and had four hits, including his second homer of the season. Trembley said he spoke to Roberts last week to stress his leadoff hitter's importance to the club.

"Especially on day games, and especially when things aren't going well for the team," Trembley said. "I think Roberts really took it upon himself today to get that message across to everybody in the way he played. He was all business."

Trembley was most impressed with Roberts' first at-bat, in which he singled, moved from first to third on Adam Jones' base hit to left and then scored on a sacrifice fly.

"He's a little guy, but he plays like a big guy," Trembley said. "He plays with his heart, that's what he does. ... He doesn't say a whole lot, but he doesn't like losing."

Bass tweaks mechanics

After giving up multiple runs in his third straight appearance to start the season, reliever Brian Bass knew he had to do something to regain the form he showed in spring training.

He watched film of some of his 2008 performances with pitching coach Rick Kranitz, and a couple of differences were found.

Specifically, they discovered that his front shoulder was pointing outward or "flying open" as he was about to throw, causing his sinker and other pitches to rise and flatten.

Also, Kranitz told him to raise his hands higher in his set position, which is more comfortable for Bass. The results have been good. Bass has allowed just four hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings spanning his past four games, dropping his ERA from 14.73 to 7.20. He threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday.

"It was frustrating because in those games, in that seven-run game [April 12], I'd make three or four good pitches and then make a really bad pitch," Bass said. "It was just so inconsistent."

Said Trembley: "I think his mechanics have improved. I think he was getting underneath his pitches. I think confidence has a lot to do with it, as well."

Mora to return Friday

Mora (strained left hamstring) is expected to play Friday in Toronto, assuming a brief minor league assignment goes well.

Trembley said Mora will test his hamstring in Triple-A Norfolk's game Tuesday. Mora said he has been running in a pool and the hamstring, which has sidelined him since April 13, is "feeling much better." Trembley doesn't expect the rehabilitation assignment to last longer than one game.

Around the horn

The Orioles' streak of 23 straight innings without issuing a walk ended in the first inning Saturday night. ... Before Sunday's game, a parade of 3,500 Little Leaguers from 21 organizations walked around Camden Yards and slapped hands with players. ... Right fielder Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games.

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