The Orioles will interview ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine for their open manager's job Friday, according to an industry source.
Andy MacPhail, the club's president of baseball operations, is expected to conduct the meeting in Baltimore.
MacPhail has just started the interviewing process after firing Dave Trembley last Thursday and appointing third base coach Juan Samuel as the interim manager.
Valentine is believed to be the second candidate to interview after another interview that took place Thursday, an industry source said. MacPhail did not immediately return phone calls, but it's his policy not to comment on specific interviews. Valentine could not be reached for comment.
The Baltimore Sun reported earlier this week that former Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge will be interviewed, but that timetable has not been revealed.
Valentine, who is in the first season of a four-year deal with ESPN, took the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000 and won a Japan Series title with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005.
Valentine, 60, hasn't managed in the majors since he was fired by the Mets after the 2002 season. He left for Japan in 2004 and led the Marines until last season. Known as a fiery character and intent student of the game, Valentine managed 15 seasons in the big leagues for the Texas Rangers and Mets, compiling a 1,117-1072 record (.510 winning percentage).
He was the fifth overall pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1968 amateur draft and spent 10 seasons in the majors for five different teams. A career .260 hitter, he played at least one game at every field position in the majors.
The promotion of starting pitcher Jake Arrieta from Triple-A on Thursday forced the Orioles to make a corresponding roster move.
Alberto Castillo has been designated for assignment, meaning that the Orioles have 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers on the 34-year-old left-hander.
Samuel said the Orioles are hoping to get closer Alfredo Simon back next week. The 28-year-old right-hander, who was put on the disabled list May 25 with a strained hamstring, threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session in Sarasota, Fla., this week.
Samuel said they are hopeful Castillo clears waivers. "Castillo was very good getting left-handers [out]," Samuel said. "He did it in the past. He just had a rough month here. He's a veteran. He knows what he has to do. He just ran into a little slump here. If nobody picks him up, we'd definitely like to keep him."
Samuel said that 32-year-old left-hander Will Ohman will be moved back to more of a setup role and that former starter David Hernandez would be used as the closer if the opportunity presented itself. Since being moved to the bullpen May 28, Hernandez has allowed just one earned run in 61/3 innings over four appearances.
"The ideal guy for me if we get to [a save situation] would be Hernandez," Samuel said. "Since he was put in the bullpen, he's looked so comfortable in that role. I don't know if it's something that's going to be his situation for his career, but right now he's done a tremendous job and we've been comfortable having him in that role."
A battle of nerves
All Arrieta had to do was look around the Orioles clubhouse and he would have found plenty of teammates who were in the same situation a year ago.
Brian Matusz pitched five innings of one-run ball in Detroit and became the last of five Orioles to win their first major starts last season, the most by a team in a year since the Chicago White Stockings in 1888.
"Obviously it's going to be a special day. It's going to be something you're going to remember forever and you want it to be special, but you want to treat it like any other game, like you're throwing in Norfolk where you're throwing the ball really well and don't change anything," Matusz said. "It's hard to do. The game will speed up on you with the fans and everything. You just want to slow it down."
Matusz said Arrieta should look at the Yankees "as if they're nameless and faceless."
But Chris Tillman, who gave up three home runs in 42/3 innings when he made his debut against Kansas City last July 29, said that pitching against the Yankees "might be going through his head and add to his nerves."
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who caught Matusz's debut last season, said Arrieta should just continue to make the same pitches that he has recently in Norfolk.
"The debut's a great feeling, it is exciting, but I think that once the game starts, the key is that you realize you're just playing a baseball game," said Wieters, who caught Arrieta when they were together in Single A-Frederick two years ago. "It doesn't matter if it's your first game or it's your 300th game.You're just going out there and pitching."
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