SARASOTA, Fla. - Left-hander Troy Patton was handed the ball in the ninth inning today, and he picked up the save by retiring the side in order and striking out one in the Orioles' 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Manager Buck Showalter touched on the following topics:
On Jason Hammel: "He was good. He's facing a team that obviously knows him and has seen a lot of him. He's working on getting his times to the plate faster. We've challenged our pitchers with Matt (Wieters) and (Taylor) Teagarden back there. He had a really good time to the plate from the stretch. Threw a lot of strikes. Some that were called balls, some that were called strikes. This was his first time out in front of everybody and he had a lot of the guys behind him that he'll be playing with. I think he presented himself well."
On bench candidates:
"I think our so-called guys who are competing for the utility job have really ... it's a big upgrade from where we were last year with the picking pool there - (Matt) Antonelli, (Steve) Tolleson and (Ryan) Flaherty. All baseball players. They know how to play."
On Tolleson: "Very quietly, Steve has had a really good spring. He's been solid."
On Jai Miller: "You have to keep in mind that Jai hasn't played a whole lot of baseball. And that's one of the things where being out of options kind of hurts players. As much as it's there to protect them, it kind of hurts them because it's just tough to get them to a place unless they clear. He's been a prior outright, so we're looking at him defensively and what he might be able to do for us as an extra outfielder."
On Patton: "Troy's put himself on the map here and you can tell he's pitching with a lot of confidence. He's a guy who can get left and right out, the changeup. He's not a pure left-on-left guy."
Patton is viewed only as a reliever, not a candidate for the rotation.
"You can see his velocity little by little is creeping back from the surgery," Showalter said. "I don't think last September was an aberration. I think he's close to being back. That's why we have 20-30 scouts here every day, because they know how many guys we have who are out of options."