OAKLAND -- With several rookies on the Orioles roster -- and the team trying to make its first postseason in 15 years -- it's a constant balancing act of not getting too high or too low, a mantra manager Buck Showalter has preached with his young players.
"If you feel something, I trust you the field," said Showalter when asked about Xavier Avery's caught stealing to end Friday's game. "That's one of the things you want to install in your players. You are on the field. This is about you. You have to take ownership and make some of those decisions and just a feel for a game and you let it fly. Where I'm going to get upset at them is they see something and they get passive and tentative. That's the real bugaboo.
"Just like Manny [Machado], Manny came off the field last night after a really tough play that ended up being a base hit and I walked right up to him and reminded him of what we are about. Turn the page. He went up there had a great at-bat and we moved on. You can't dwell on those things. Otherwise you get real passive and this game will eat you up if you get passive."
It'll also humble you in a hurry, and Showalter has been careful with his young players to not run them up the flagpole or heap on too much public praise. Machado's pump-fake play at third base, which created a stir in Wednesday's game, was a perfect example.
"He tries to deflect all that positive attention away from him to prevent him from getting too high," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "I think that's what [Showalter was] doing. Everyone realizes how great a play it was, but he's like, 'It wouldn't have worked if J.J. wasn't there.' I think 30 out of 30 big league shortstops would have been there. It's really not me. I think he was just deflecting that [attention.]"
Wolf will make first Orioles start on Sunday
OAKLAND -- Left-hander Randy Wolf will start for the Orioles against the A's on Sunday, his first since signing with Baltimore.
"I always thought somewhere, somehow there was going to be a silver lining," said Wolf, who last started Aug. 19 as a member of the Brewers.
"With Milwaukee it was a nightmare year. I never had a year where I felt good, I felt healthy and just things were brutal. I know I didn't forget how to pitch, my stuff is still there. It was just a nightmare time. Coming here you kind of feel a little rejuvenated and excited. I think those exciting feelings and rejuvenating feelings are enhanced when you get the call to make the start tomorrow."
Wolf has made three relief appearances with the Orioles, throwing 6 1/3 innings and allowing four earned runs on four hits and three walks. He has made two career starts against the Oakland A's, going 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and nine walks. The A's lineup has struggled more against left-handed starters, and the Orioles also figure to have right-hander Steve Johnson in long relief behind Wolf if needed.
"Our choices are about two guys and the other guy [in Johnson] will be right there behind him with some length," said manager Buck Showalter, who used right-hander Jake Arrieta for two innings Friday. "I think the way we are constructed with some injuries and things. Whoever pitches and whoever doesn't, I can kind of piggyback it. Hopefully they won't both be needed in the game, but there's that potential."
Signed as a free agent after being released by Milwaukee, Wolf has a career record of 129-117 with a 4.18 ERA in 366 career starts.
Designated hitter Jim Thome (herniated disk in neck) will take some swings in an instructional league game on Wednesday, with reliever Troy Patton scheduled to start Sunday's instructional league game.
The O's named their organizational Players of the Month for August, with the honors going to Double-A Bowie left-hander Jacob Pettit and Triple-A Norfolk outfielder LJ Hoes. Hoes recently was promoted to Baltimore.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.