SARASOTA, Fla. – Barely a year after he was drafted in the second round by the Detroit Tigers, Andy Oliver was in the big leagues.
Oliver’s time with the Tigers wasn’t good. In 2010 and 2011, he had five decisions as a starter, and lost them all.
For the last five years, he’s been stuck with a major league stat line of 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA, and after failing to stick with Detroit, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Oliver is with the Orioles as a relief pitcher.
The left-hander turned to the bullpen in 2014, and last year with Norfolk, was 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 16 games.
Oliver was re-signed to a minor league contract by the Orioles last November and received an invitation to spring training.
What does he think his strongest attributes are?
“I have very good ability, I have very good stuff. I really think it’s really a matter of just trying to fine tune it and make it on a consistent basis,” Oliver said.
His only big league manager with the Tigers was Jim Leyland, and he’s noticed some similarities between his old manager and Buck Showalter.
“Everybody in the clubhouse respects him and plays hard for him,” Oliver says about Showalter. “I felt like he was a good manager from the first day.”
Oliver was taken with Showalter’s hands-on supervision of pitcher’s fielding drills.
“He’s always there. He’s always around. He’s always helping. He’s always talking to you. He’s always involved, and I feel like as a player, that’s pretty much what you’d want, to be with the guys all the time,” Oliver said.
“Everybody’s joking with him, but at the same time, he gets the respect out of all these guys to do the stuff he wants done.”