Orioles Season Opener Pregame Notes
Showalter Names Johnson the Closer: During his pregame press conference, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he told Jim Johnson that he would be the team's closer. Johnson responded, "I know."
Showalter said the closer role wouldn't be easy, but he'd seen enough of Johnson through the years to think he could seal wins for the Birds.
"Jim Johnson is going to pitch in the ninth inning," Showalter said.
Showalter said last year's closer, Kevin Gregg, would remain a late-game choice for him, making it likely that he has switched roles with Johnson.
Reimold Ready To Lead Off: Buck Showalter might play with the leadoff spot this season until Brian Roberts returns to the club from his concussion issues, but Nolan Reimold is the man for now.
Showalter admitted the choice was unconventional. Reimold has spent the majority of his career known as a power hitter.
Reimold, for his part, said the "goal's to be on base … to get hits. In that respect, nothing really changes."
Showalter Still Rooting For Roberts: Roberts is starting the season on the DL, trying to recover from the concussion symptoms that kept him out of much of the 2011 season. Buck Showalter said he had dates in mind when he would like updates, but would not push the issue.
"It's just unchartered territory," Showalter said of Roberts' recovery efforts. "I think we all know what it would mean to our club if he were to come back and play."
Showalter said he's not going to bother Roberts by asking him whether he's ready. Roberts' wife is expecting a child and Showalter said baseball was still important to the second baseman, even as other aspects of his life expand.
Posted April 6, 2012