PHOENIX -- A day after Jim Johnson blew his Major League-leading ninth save of the season, Orioles manager Buck Showalter echoed his sentiment from the previous night, insisting that the 30-year-old will remain the club's closer.
Asked Wednesday if newly acquired righty Francisco Rodriguez could get an opportunity at the back end of the bullpen, Showalter said, "I don't foresee that." Rodriguez entered Wednesday having allowed just one hit over his last four outings after struggling in his first week with the club. In Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the D-backs, which took 14 innings, Rodriguez threw a scoreless eighth inning for his third hold since joining Baltimore.
Even before Wednesday's game, the past few days had been taxing for the O's bullpen as a unit. After working four innings in the series finale in San Francisco on Sunday, Baltimore relievers tossed 5 2/3 innings in the club's first two games in Arizona, both of which ended in walk-off home runs.
With the bullpen's heavy workload of late, the Orioles set up a flight for Wednesday just in case they wanted to call up an extra arm. Baltimore ultimately opted against that, and instead asked starting pitcher Bud Norris to skip his bullpen session in case the club needed to use him in emergency relief vs. the D-backs. Norris did appear in Wednesday's game, taking the loss upon allowing Arizona a run in the bottom of the 14th.
"Bud is available down there," Showalter said before the game. "You just can't pitch guys every night or five out of seven, you'll pay a price. Can't do it."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less