BOSTON — — Orioles infielder Mark Reynolds missed the club's doubleheader on Monday and may be out longer as he deals with the lingering effects of being hit in the helmet with a pitch Saturday.
Reynolds said he didn't pass cognitive tests that were administered Monday and expects to be tested again Tuesday. He still had soreness on the left side of his head — where a fastball from Los Angeles Angels' starter Ervin Santana struck him in the third inning Saturday — but said, "I'm fine."
The Orioles, however, are going to be cautious with Reynolds, who now has been beaned twice since August 2010, when he missed three games while with the Arizona Diamondbacks after being hit by Washington's Collin Balester.
"We're not in position yet where we feel comfortable, so we'll see what tomorrow brings," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Monday afternoon. "He had this happen in Arizona last year, and you don't try to handicap it or talk about X-Rays or whatever. I think from the limited experience we all have with it, you just kind of take it day-by-day and see how he feels."
The one in 2010 was worse, Reynolds said. It caused him a black eye and forced him from the game immediately — though he did start the next day's contest before missing the next three. Reynolds remained in Saturday's game for an inning, but hasn't played since.
"I think sometimes people, we forget the guts or whatever it takes just to get in the box against these guys that throw hard and hang in there against a slider. It's a lot of challenges you have to be focused on mentally in this game," Showalter said. "If I know Mark, he'll bounce back and respond well."
Johnson locks down another save
Right-hander Jim Johnson entered with a one-run lead in the ninth inning Monday afternoon and threw a seven-pitch perfect inning for his seventh save of the year.
It was his fifth save in his last six outings dating back to Sept. 7 — a span in which he has allowed one run and two hits in 6 1/3 innings.
In the month of September, Johnson has five saves and incumbent closer Kevin Gregg, who has blown three of his past six opportunities, has saved just one. It's clear Johnson is Showalter's choice to close out games now, but the manager is not making any proclamations.
When asked about going to Johnson on Monday afternoon, Showalter said, "Just the rest factor and, you know, I want to expose people to as many possible situations that will help us make better decisions as we go forward, because they are not going to be here in about 10 games."
The Orioles have been kicking around the idea of making Johnson a starter next year, especially with Gregg signed through 2012. But Johnson is showing he can handle the closer's role now and has been solid all season (5-5, 2.72 ERA, 76 hits and 19 walks in 86 innings). Gregg, meanwhile, has allowed 55 hits, 39 walks and 29 earned runs (4.69 ERA) in 55 2/3 innings heading into Monday night.
"(Johnson) was ready to go and he came in and attacked the strike zone. That's what I liked about it. Here it is," Showalter said. "You keep talking to guys all the time. Would you want to go back to the hotel or your apartment and go, 'God I wish I'd been a little more aggressive? Or are you gonna let it rip and lie with the consequences. Jimmy is letting it rip."
Johnson downplayed the situation and how he has been throwing of late, saying: "Not just me, look at some of the guys in the bullpen. It's nice. We are trying to all finish the year strong. Guys are pitching well right now."
No spoiler alert
After taking four of six from playoff contenders the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles arrived in Fenway for a four-game series against the Red Sox, who were clinging to a two-game lead over the Rays in the Wild Card race. And won the first game of Monday's doubleheader, 6-5.
Showalter was inevitably asked by the Boston media about his club's role as spoiler. Equally as predictable, Showalter downplayed the role.
"We are just trying to take care of our business, trying to do well, trying to present ourselves and finish strong. That really hasn't been a topic of discussion (with the team)," Showalter said. "It's not that vindictive, I don't think that's part of it too much. Just professional pride about playing well."
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