Baltimore manager Dave Trembley had a couple amusing comments about Brian Bass — who earned the victory in Wednesday night’s game — during his pregame media briefing on Thursday. Trembley also noted another rain game in which Bass picked up the decision from last season and drew a hasty horse racing type conclusion.
“Bass seems to be a mudder,” he said.
Trembley also noted a play in which Bass attempted to field a ball back through the box with his bare hand, a brave effort which may have turned a double-play ball into an infield single. Trembley, concerned about the potential for injury, counseled against him doing it again.
“I told him to keep his hands in his pocket after he throws the ball,” he said.
The starter who shall not be named — Adam Eaton, for the uninitiated — will probably be cleared into an active roster spot by the end of the night. Eaton, who has been training with the Orioles despite not officially being on the roster, will be activated after Saturday night’s game and will start Sunday. And at that point, the Orioles will have to decide whether they’re more comfortable with an extra reliever or an extra position player.
The players most affected by that move will be shortstop Robert Andino and relievers Brian Bass and Matt Albers. Andino is the team’s only reserve capable of backing up Cesar Izturis, while Bass and Albers give the Orioles an eighth reliever and cover for their starters going short in games. Whatever the decision is, it probably won’t be permanent.
The Orioles made one final roster move in preparation for the regular season on Sunday, when they officially added Chad Moeller to the active roster. Moeller will serve as a backup catcher to Gregg Zaun until the Orioles decide to promote top prospect Matt Wieters.
Baltimore will also have to make a roster move soon after the season begins. The Orioles are beginning the year without fifth starter Adam Eaton and will have to make a move to add him. Eaton’s turn doesn’t come up until April 11 or April 12, giving the team a week to decide.
In essence, the decision hinges on whether the team wants to carry 13 position players or 13 pitchers. If the Orioles want to keep an extra reliever, shortstop Robert Andino will be the likely cut. If they want to keep the player, Brian Bass or Matt Albers would be in jeopardy.
The Orioles may still be keeping the back-end of their rotation secret, but they disclosed the front part on Tuesday. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said that Koji Uehara would start the second game of the season, slotting right in behind staff ace Jeremy Guthrie.
“He’s the best available guy we have,” said Trembley. “He’s a guy with experience, proven success and that’s why we signed him — to put him at the top of the rotation with Guthrie.”
Baltimore is still sorting between back-end options, but Alfredo Simon is believed to have separated himself from the pack. Mark Hendrickson is also expected to fill a starting slot, leaving Brian Bass and Hayden Penn to compete for one spot.
Brad Bergesen and Brian Bass both pitched in Minor League games Friday in Fort Myers, experiencing a widely varied amount of success. Bergesen thrived against Boston’s Minor Leaguers, firing six shutout innings, striking out six batters and walking one.
Bass, meanwhile, threw four innings and allowed one earned run. The right-hander walked three batters and gave up three hits but managed to strike out five batters.
Both Bass and Bergesen are trying to make a case to start the year with the big-league club. Bass could make it as a starter or reliever, while Bergesen is only considered as a starter.
Rain scuttled one game of Baltimore’s split-squad on Wednesday, setting up a dilemma for how the Orioles will set up their pitching staff. Baltimore elected to switch Adam Eaton to the other game and push back Hayden Penn and Alfredo Simon to Thursday.
Danys Baez, Thursday’s scheduled starter, was pushed back to Friday. And Brad Bergesen and Brian Bass will now pitch instead in a Minor League game on Friday.
When asked how he would react if the Jupiter game was also rained out, pitching coach Rick Kranitz provided a memorable quip. “You’ll see a grown man cry,” he said.
Manager Dave Trembley had hoped to have some clarification on his rotation by now, but he said Wednesday that his deliberations will go far into the spring. After all, after Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara, the rotation appears to be completely barren.
“At first blush, that’s how it would appear — that there are still no clear frontrunners for anything past Uehara,” said Trembley. “Maybe today Eaton will step up and show that, but I haven’t seen guys step up and say I’m the third, fourth or fifth starter. …We felt like [Rich] Hill was going to get an opportunity, but its March 18 and he hasn’t pitched yet. You’ve got to have other plans. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing with some of these other guys.”