Wigginton: I'm focused on wins, not trade rumors

Notebook

Infielder's name has been linked to Mets and Angels

June 06, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Ty Wigginton's name is beginning to pop up in trade rumors from Southern California to New York, but he's not campaigning for a trade.

In fact, the veteran infielder would prefer staying in Baltimore if the alternative is going elsewhere to be a little-used bench player.

"If I were to go somewhere, I'd want it to be somewhere I could contribute," Wigginton said. "But I love the city of Baltimore, and I love playing here for these fans."

Wigginton, who is a free agent at season's end, has started 52 of 57 games in 2010 for the Orioles, including 32 at second base and 13 at first. He is leading the club in homers (13) and RBIs (33).

Given the Orioles' record and his position flexibility, he likely will hear his name linked to several contenders as the July 31 trade deadline gets closer.

Still, he chuckled at a recent story in the New York Post that said he and teammate Kevin Millwood would be "open" to playing for the New York Mets. In each case, Wigginton and Millwood responded to a reporter's question about whether they enjoyed playing in New York and would have any problem playing there if traded.

There also have been rumblings that he could be shipped to the Los Angeles Angels, who lost power-hitting first baseman Kendry Morales to a broken ankle that will cost him most, if not all, of the season.

The Angels seem like a good fit for Wigginton, who grew up in San Diego and is the blue-collar player that Angels manager Mike Scioscia loves.

But Wigginton isn't playing the "what if?" game.

"Right now," Wigginton said, "I'm focused on getting W's here."

Arrieta stays with Norfolk

Right-hander Jake Arrieta didn't get the call to come to the big leagues Saturday, but that doesn't mean the highly touted pitching prospect won't be up soon. In fact, it would be surprising if he is not in an Orioles uniform within the next 10 days.

Most in the organization view him exclusively as a starter, but Arrieta might have been used as a reliever if he had been promoted Saturday. He was scratched from his start at Triple-A Norfolk because the Orioles were concerned that Jeremy Guthrie's myriad nagging injuries might prohibit him from starting, which would have thrust reliever Jason Berken into the starting spot Saturday.

But when Guthrie pitched, the Orioles didn't have to promote Arrieta for insurance, so the righty threw two innings out of the Tides' bullpen in a game he was supposed to start. It was the 24-year-old's first professional relief stint.

Arrieta will remain in the minors for now.

"We are going to deal with that as we get into next week, see how Guthrie is feeling, if he needs an extra day, then we will reconsider and look at our options," Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said. "Hopefully, we won't need him here soon, but if we do, again, we need to use all of our options, keep them open and go forward."

The Orioles' starter for Saturday is listed as "to be announced." Arrieta, or Brad Bergesen, who was sent to the bullpen Friday, could start against the Mets.

Simon still the closer

Reliever Alfredo Simon (left hamstring) is nearing a return to the roster, and when he does, he'll be inserted back into the closer's role, Samuel said.

"We are hoping Simon will get up here soon. That will stabilize the bullpen," Samuel said. "You will have a more set scenario out in the 'pen, which always helps."

Samuel reiterated that Will Ohman is his first option to close games, but the club had gone until Sunday without a save situation since Simon was hurt May 23 in Washington. On Sunday, Ohman blew a one-run save in the ninth inning of a game the Orioles won, 4-3, in 11 innings.

Simon is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, and Samuel said he would talk to pitching coach Rick Kranitz and athletic trainer Richie Bancells before determining whether Simon first will need a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

"He is doing everything; he is progressing," Samuel said. "That is very encouraging there. We just have to see what's going to happen in the next couple days."

Around the horn

Dustin Pedroia's sixth inning steal was the 10th straight against the Orioles, dating to May 19. … Boston's John Lackey allowed two runs in seven innings Sunday, becoming the 11th straight opposing pitcher to make a quality start against the Orioles. … Miguel Tejada made his first start of the season at designated hitter while Scott Moore started at third base in the majors for the first time in 2010.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/danconnollysun

Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

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