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Showalter sets optimistic timetable for Darren O'Day's return from injury

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Showalter sets optimistic timetable for Darren O'Day's return from injury

SAN FRANCISCO—Buck Showalter is optimistic that Darren O’Day will return two weeks from now. O’Day went on the disabled list retroactive to Friday with a strain in his right shoulder rotator cuff. He's eligible to return on Aug. 27. 

“I have a lot of confidence that we’ll get it resolved in that period. He was as sore today. Said he felt better after the [cortisone] shot. Darren was pretty adamant about not going on the DL when we left Oakland, when he flew back, but today he had a little different feel for it,” Showalter said. 

He knew that O’Day was feeling differently because he didn’t fight the decision after consulting with team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs in Baltimore. 

Showalter will change some roles with O’Day out. Mychal Givens will move up. and as Zach Britton said, younger pitchers will more opportunities. 

“That’s what we did when Darren was out before. We’ve already kind of done that and we’ll continue to do it. That’s who we are, and how we have to do it,” Showalter said. 

“We’re always looking from within. Mychal’s pitched well in a time of need. Our starters have gotten longer into the games, which has kept us from having to pitch some innings that we’ve pitched a lot this year.”

Givens is better qualified to pitch in more important spots. 

“I think so. It’s been going on for a year and a half. Mychal is a rookie, right?” Showalter said. “But how do you get that experience? There’s only one way to get it and that’s to start doing it. People will ask, ‘How did you know Steve Pearce could play second base or third base?’ Well, I didn’t know but we’re going to run him out there and see what happens. He’s got the skillset to be able to do it. Some guys have to grow up quick.”

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Vance Worley may get in some higher leverage situations. 

“As opposed to who? It’s all hands on deck and our guys respond pretty well to that, what the team’s needs are. Like Zach was saying, there’s an opportunity around every corner. You’ve just got to be ready to take advantage of it. Some of it’s by necessity.”

NOTE: Steve Pearce, sidelined with a left forearm strain, isn’t in the lineup on Saturday for the sixth straight game. 

“He may play today. In order to play him and Chris [Davis], you’d have to play one of them in the outfield and I didn’t want to put Chris in left field today. Steve’s a good first baseman but you’re also taking what I think is a Gold Glove first baseman and sticking him out in left field in a place he hasn’t played much,” Showalter said. 

“The other big part of it is that we [are facing] two left-handed starters against Boston [Tuesday and Wednesday] and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize Steve being available for those games. He will give us a nice weapon off the bench.”

Showalter isn’t saying if Pearce who played only the infield with Tampa Bay, will be restricted to first base and DH duties. 

“No, I’m not going to commit to that. I feel like I could play him some places tonight if I had to if we had to switch and do some things. I’ll try to stay away from that, but we could. I talked to him today about managing it until we get to Tuesday. If we can manage it until Tuesday, we could have him back close to full strength I hope,” Showalter said. 

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

The Orioles have finally found their man.

After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.

Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.

Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
 
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.

Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.

Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.

Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.

The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.

Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.