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March 17, 2011

Showalter's post game comments, includes more on Fox

Buck Showalter’s post-game comments after the Orioles 13-3 win versus Pittsburgh:

Showalter was asked again about Jake Fox, who hit two more homers Thursday and now has a major-league leading seven this spring, including four in his past three games.

Showalter has said repeatedly that he knows Fox can hit, but he wants to see him play better behind the plate to secure a spot on the team.

“I want him to show me what he can do catching. We all know he is capable of doing some good things with the bat. He had a good game behind the plate, a better game behind the plate. That’s really what I was looking at today.”

When asked if it were possible for a guy with seven spring homers not to make the team, Showalter simply said: “Yes.”

Chris Tillman’s line was: 4 innings pitched, three hits, three walks, two strikeouts and one unearned run. Tillman threw 71 pitches, 43 for strikes. Afterward Tillman acknowledged he needed to throw more strikes. He also said he had trouble adjusting to the McKechnie Field mound after throwing off a bullpen mound that was much steeper than regulation.

This is what Showalter said about Tillman:

“It happens in most every ballpark in the big leagues, you have to make adjustments,” Showalter said. “I think his command needs to be better but he threw some good cutters. That was working for him today. It is something he hasn’t had to get him out of those (tough) situations. I thought he was OK. But he is capable of being better.”

Showalter joked that he is going to continue to hit catcher Matt Wieters fourth – Wieters went 4-for-5 Thursday after going 6-for-29 this spring.

The Orioles had indoor batting practice Thursday and ended up collecting 20 hits and 13 runs, prompting Showalter to joke that hitting coach Jim Presley “said we’ll be hitting in the cages again tomorrow.”

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 5:10 PM | | Comments (20)


It looks like the Pirates were having their pitchers hit while the O's did not. Would you say that helped Tillman's results today? It seems like that takes a little luster off of his performance.

Jeff Z's reply: It might have helped that he had two easy outs, but you have to look at Tillman's outing as a whole. He didn't get much defensive help, but he still allowed three hits and three walks in four innings. It wasn't a strong outing and it wasn't a terrible one. With Duchscherer out, that fifth starter's spot is for the taking and Tillman hasn't stepped up and seized it yet. But he'll have a couple of more starts to do just that.

7 homers is impressive but who are they off of? Can you guys post the list.

How could Fox not make this team? He's going to catch once a week... we don't need Johnny Bench back there.

Right now, that's a bat I'd like to have on my bench going north.

Look I wish Jake Fox well. However, this battle between him & Tatum is nothing short of ridiculous. The main problem is no one is going to take the Orioles seriously until we have a "True # 1" starter. Right now the O's are entertaining and competitive, but no one sees them as a threat to win the division! While the battle for the bench spots seems to be heating up, the "Hot Stove" for the O's seems to be cooling. Andy MacPhail needs to make a bold move here! I would like to see him do it!

I Tatum makes this team over Fox I will be livid. Tatum may be a good at working with pitchers but he can't hit. Fox is ripping the ball and can play more than catcher. I hope Buck does he right thing and keep Fox over Tatum...he deserves it. He'll be a good fill in at catcher when needed and a nice bat with pop off the bench.

Is there any chance Chris George and/or Josh Rupe could make the team? Theyre both doing great so far but is there room for them?

Jeff Z's reply: In allowing no earned runs in 11 2/3 innings this spring, Rupe has pitched himself into the long-man conversation in the bullpen. I wouldn't describe him as a frontrunner but he's certainly in the mix.

Jake Fox is like cockroaches & kudzu. He's doing everything to prevent the Orioles from getting rid of him. If he continues to hit like this into the regular season, he just might be "Jake the Phat Man." In the meantime, Showalter's cautious approach concerning him makes me very happy. I don't want to see Fox turn into Michigan J. Frog if he makes the team.

I still think that Tatum and Fox will both be on the team because Fox can play 3B, 1B and the OF so I think they will want a true backup like Tatum at catcher, but no way Fox doesn't make the team. Buck didn't promise Gregg the job when he signed so I would've been shocked if he said that Jake is a lock. Buck doesn't want anyone taking anything for granted.


Britton has been awesome, but for what would amount to 2 or 3 starts, how could they start him off in Baltimore and let the clock begin? I've read fans say who cares, but they will care when it comes time to pay up, they will!

A very nice win. But it is only S.T. so lets not get too excited!

The real games begin in two weeks, which means only one thing: Andy will begin his media rounds soon, giving anyone with a recorder mixed mesages and cream puff sound bytes like: "We feel very confident that we have an improved team."

"This is a big year for us."

" I'm not going to make any promises about wins and losses."

"Look at the Rays! Look at the Rays!!"

Tillman has to step it up. He's been getting a ton of chances, now it's time to produce.

As to Fox, as health questions persist about Lee and especially BRob, he could be invaluable as a late inning pinch-hitter. You may have Izzy playing a lot of second base, and you're going to have to pinch hit for him with some regularity.

Keep Fox. If at all possible, Keep Fox AND Tatum, first because you need Tatum's defense, and secondly you're restricted using Fox as a pinch hitter if you may need him to catch.

That was just "CoachSpeak" on the part of Showalter. Fox has hit seven homers in Spring Training and there's still two weeks to go before opening day. Absolutely no way the O's release him or send him down.

Another bonus of having Jake Fox on the team is that it provides comptition and incentive for Matt Weiters to reach his offensive potential.

Jeff: With Lee's situation far from resolved, can't Fox play first?

Jeff Z's reply: Yes he can, but Showalter has been adamant that Fox is competing for backup catcher job.

Ho was the Pirates.

i hope they don't keep fox and tatum. Let tatum go play in AAA and keep fox as long as he isn't a liability catching 1 time every 6 days. You can't afford to have both tatum and fox. That would give you a pinch hitter and a back up catcher, when you could have both with 1 person which is either or. Ok Fox has 7 homers this spring, but who cares, what did he do last year? I would rather have him than tatum, but it wouldn't break my heart if he wasn't on roster come opening day. He has proved that against pitchers in spring training he can hit bombs, but hasn't proved that against the elite pitching the AL East has to offer. You have to have Pie, izzy, backup catcher, and either bell or reimold. You can't have tatum and fox cause there isn't room. People might rather see fox than either bell or reimold but they are younger and we have to find out if they have a place on this team for the future now, rather than later.


Robert Andino has to make this team over J.J. Hardy, but of course, ol' Andrew won't admit his mistake in trading for a guy the Twins couldn't wait to unload. LOL!! Andino has 30/30 potential, but he's not one of MacFail's boys, so he has no shot. Typical.

I beginning to think that Fox should be taking some flyballs or getting more work at 1st. There is no way that Buck can sit him on the bench to cool off.

If Lee isn't healthy and starts the year on the DL and Scott doesn't begin hitting, what's Buck gonna do? Put Vlad in left and let Fox DH? I don't think so, but Fox's bat has to stay in the lineup - as long as he's hot.

Brummie: Put down the crack pipe. If you think Andino is better than J.J. Hardy, you must be on crack. Andino can get to balls, but he can't throw. The guy has a ten-cent head and who cares about his "potentilal." At his age, he should be out the "potential" game and have already stuck somewhere. He was so good, he cleared waivers last year with no problem. Look at Hardy's lifetime stats. Get a clue.

30-30 for Andino? Not unless you're talking about 30 errors and 30 baserunning mistakes......

I still say they need to play Reimold every game either as DH or in left field the guy has potential but he can't show it or reach it if he only plays once or twice a week. As for Fox they need to keep him over Tatum. He can play first base, left field or catch, Tatum can only catch.Wieters is making big bucks to catch so let him earn his keep. I remember last year when Adam Jones ran his big mouth before the first game of the season and said he was going to kick butt if the players didn't play up to their potential, well you know what happened he was the one gentleman that play up to his potential I guess, I really haven't figured out what his potential is, swinging at bad balls I guess. What I'm getting at if you remember what happened for the first 30 or 40 games their was NO hitting so I'm saying keep all the bats that are hitting, the time has come to put up or hit the road jack! baby sitting is over with LETS GO O's!! GOOD LUCK

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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