Under Buck, O's outfield D is sterling

Under Buck, O's outfield D is sterling

BALTIMORE -- One of the most encouraging things about manager Buck Showalter's short time at the helm has been the Orioles' outfield. The trio of Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Felix Pie are all young, athletic talents, making balls that fall in for base hits few and far between.

"We've basically got three guys that are capable of playing center field in our outfield," Showalter said.

"With their arm strength and the things they do, we can match up with just about anybody defensively in the outfield with those three guys."

While Jones won a Gold Glove Award last season and Markakis -- who committed his first error in 1,481 innings Wednesday night -- is considered one of the game's premier right fielders, Pie's recent defensive surge hasn't gone unnoticed. Showalter raved about Pie's first-inning catch in foul territory Tuesday night, a play that retired Mariners leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki.

"You know the greatest thing? Did you see the look on Ichiro's face?" Showalter said of Pie's catch, which caused him to nearly topple over the railing. "That was worth the price of admission."

A natural center fielder, Pie hasn't had an effortless transition and is still adjusting to the nuances of left field, which occasionally results in slow jumps and poor reads on routine plays. But Showalter isn't worried about the excitable outfielder, who is only 25 years old, acclimating to the new position.

"[Center field is] probably the easiest place to play as far as reading the ball and seeing the ball, not necessarily covering ground, and a lot of people will tell you the toughest is left field," Showalter said. "I think you're seeing some of the plays that [Pie is] starting to make, he's starting to get more comfortable with the angles in left field."