Notes: Full-time relief role for Burres?
Manager Trembley may send swingman to bullpen
BOSTON -- A shakeup may be coming in the Orioles bullpen, but that may not mean a whole host of new callups. Manager Dave Trembley said on Thursday that he'll be re-evaluating everyone's role and admitted that swingman Brian Burres may move to a full-time relief job sometime next week.
Trembley also said that Burres will still make his scheduled start on Saturday and that any decision shouldn't be seen as a demotion. The point, in this case, is to give the relief staff more late-inning options.
"I talked to [pitching coach] Leo [Mazzone] this morning," said Trembley, "And what we're trying to do is what's best for the team, and do what's best for the organization. Burres has been a very valuable guy for us, but I think he can go either way. He can be a fifth starter and he can be a long guy."
If the Orioles elect to switch Burres back to the bullpen for the next time through the rotation, then Garrett Olson would be the most likely candidate to replace him. Olson has pitched extremely well since being demoted back to Triple-A Norfolk, notching a 2-0 record and a 0.43 ERA in his last three starts.
For the season, Olson has a 9-6 record and a 2.95 ERA in Triple-A. Burres, on the other hand, is 5-4 with a 4.88 ERA as a starter and has no record with a 1.13 ERA mark in relief. Trembley called the rotation swap a consideration and said he's been pleased with Olson's recent work.
"He's caught my attention. Olson's pitched very well down there," he said. "To his credit, you see a lot of guys that are in the big leagues and they go back to the Minor Leagues, and it takes them three or four starts to get the cobwebs out because they feel sorry for themselves. He didn't do that, and he told me he wasn't going to do that. He said he just wanted to pitch and he knew the things he needed to do in order to get better."
If Burres is moved to a relief role, that might allow Trembley to use Rob Bell later in the game. The manager said he has been overusing Jamie Walker and Chad Bradford since Chris Ray got injured, which is what prompted him to start looking for new solutions in the late innings.
"Last night after the game and this morning, I thought about maybe identifying one guy as the closer," he said. "It seems like right now the inning that's the Achilles' heel is the seventh. I've got to find a better way to get three outs in the seventh -- no matter who it is. If I can get three outs in the seventh, it will clear up some of the other questions."
Ring the Bell: Trembley said that Bell has pitched well enough to earn a more important role, even if he doesn't shuffle the rest of the 'pen. The veteran reliever has pitched scoreless ball in nine of his 13 outings this season, and Trembley said he'd like to use him in tight spots whenever necessary.
"He's been used as the long guy, but I've liked what I've seen out of him a couple times coming out in the eighth," Trembley said. "He's been able to pitch back-to-back days [and] I like what I see there, because he's been able to throw strikes. He's been able to change speeds. He's been very valuable to us as a long guy, but if it becomes evident that our starters are going and we don't need a long guy for a day or so, maybe he could bridge the gap, so to speak."
Straight up: Aubrey Huff struck out in his first two at-bats with his new upright stance, but he said it may take a little longer for the change to manifest itself at the plate. Huff said he can get more leverage and see the curveball better when he stands straighter in the box, but he admitted the change was really more for change itself.
"All else has [not worked]. Why stick with the same thing that's not working?" he asked. "The other stance was more natural, but it wasn't yielding any results. Obviously, when you struggle, you've got to make adjustments."
Final plans: The Orioles have decided Melvin Mora's final path back to the active roster. The third baseman will play in two rehab games for the team's Sarasota affiliate in the Class A Gulf Coast League. If all goes well, Mora will be activated and join the team for the series finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Trembley said that Mora -- who missed virtually all of July with a sprained left foot -- will get four at-bats in Sarasota on Friday and four more on the road at Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday.
"I want him to DH both days," Trembley said. "After both games, he's going to stay out after and take extra batting practice and take extra ground balls and conditioning. That will be a good barometer for where he is."
Coming up: The Orioles will play the opener of their three-game series against the Devil Rays on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET, pitting Daniel Cabrera against Tampa Bay's James Shields.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.