Samuel embraces Interleague challenge

Samuel embraces Interleague challenge

BALTIMORE -- Interim manager Juan Samuel is excited for Interleague Play to resume on Friday, and not just because the first series will be against his former team, the Mets.

Samuel is embracing the added challenges that Interleague Play will present, such as adjusting to double-switch scenarios and finding ways to use players who are primarily designated hitters, when the Orioles travel to San Francisco and San Diego next week.

"You have to get creative, make sure you keep everybody fresh, map out some scenarios ahead of time," Samuel said. "It's a task that we're looking forward to."

Under former manager Dave Trembley, the Orioles played one Interleague series in May, going 1-2 against the Nationals in Washington. Their all-time record against National League clubs is 102-130, and they are 9-13 all-time against the Mets. They took a home series, 2-1, from New York in 2009 and are 6-8 all-time against them at Camden Yards.

For Jeremy Guthrie, who is starting the first game of the Mets series on Friday, one of the best parts of Interleague Play is the chance to step up to the plate.

"I was never a very good hitter in high school and never hit in college," Guthrie said, "but it's enjoyable, still, to go up there as long as you're not facing a guy that's throwing over 95 [mph] and you feel like you're going to get [beaned]."

But he isn't as thrilled at the prospect of facing pitchers from the mound.

"It's a lose-lose," he said. "If you get him out, you're supposed to get him out. And if he gets a base hit, you look a little silly."

The Orioles' Interleague slate spans their next 15 games, including series against the Mets, Giants, Padres, Marlins and Nationals. --Noah Rosenstein