Fox aware he could become odd man out

Fox aware he could become odd man out

SEATTLE -- Jake Fox had a long talk with Orioles manager Buck Showalter during this weekend's series in Oakland, a conversation he hoped would bring more clarity as to where he fits on the 25-man roster, if at all.

"I think my role is still very unclear," Fox said when asked what prompted him to seek out Showalter, who he praised as a straight-shooter. "They are not seeing me perform the way they want me to, and I think that has kept him from putting me in the lineup more. Obviously, with the number of at-bats I've had, it is going to take me a few games to get back in a rhythm. We had this conversation, and [I said] I feel like I'm still the same guy I was this spring. Nothing has changed. I'm still putting the ball in play -- my timing isn't quite there, my pitch recognition isn't quite there."

"[Showalter] did tell me that once [Craig] Tatum got called up, it was going to free up some opportunities for me. And from my perspective, I'm still staying patient, waiting for those opportunities. He's putting the best team out there that he thinks can win ballgames. And he feels that I'm not that guy that's going to win games."

Fox made the Orioles out of Spring Training as a backup catcher, but the addition of Tatum last week has him in more of a bench role. Fox enters Tuesday hitting .188 in 19 games, including 12 starts, and has struggled to get consistent playing time because of those struggles.

"If a guy is playing well and hitting well, it's not that hard to find opportunities," Showalter said. "Jake hasn't made good use of the opportunities he's had, with some exceptions. We saw in Spring Training, in that environment, what he's capable of. So we will see."

Even with Derrek Lee on the disabled list, the Orioles have used several different combinations at first base, including Luke Scott and Mark Reynolds. Fox started at first base on Thursday and Friday and went 1-for-5 with a walk, a strikeout and two double-play balls. Scott, a left-handed hitter, started Tuesday's game against Mariners lefty Erik Bedard.

"When you have some injuries, you hope you will be in there more and get a chance," Fox said. "But obviously [Showalter] went in a different direction, and he's trying to piece together a team to win until those guys get back."

With Lee's activation coming as early next week, Fox knows he could be the odd man out on the Orioles' roster. He is out of options, meaning the organization could try to work out a trade with another club before potentially losing him on waivers. That's how the Orioles acquired Fox from Oakland last season.

It's a situation Fox is aware of, but not one he's focusing on. He prefers to use his energy trying to get back on track at the plate.

"I know there's going to be a lot of moves made," said Fox, who is with his third organization. "When Tatum came up, I was like, 'OK, they got a backup catcher, now what are they going to do with me?' So, those questions always go through your mind. But if you get wrapped up in that, it prevents you from going out and doing your job.

"Obviously, when D. Lee comes back, there is going to be some kind of move made. If it's me, it's me. If it's not, then I'm going to do what I've been doing. Keep working hard and trying to improve at the job they've given me."