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Russell skippers O's with Showalter on leave

KANSAS CITY -- John Russell was the man in charge on Saturday night.

With manager Buck Showalter attending the law school graduation of daughter Allie in Dallas, it was Russell -- the Orioles' normal bench coach -- who ascended to the acting managerial role. The night was all the more special for Russell because his father, Jack, lives in Kansas City.

"My father was such a big part of my baseball life," Russell said. "He helped me with a lot of things when I was young, from Little League on through college and even when I signed [a pro contract]. He always comes out when we're here.

"We had breakfast this morning and he asked me about managing tonight. I said, 'Well, I guess you could call it that. I'm filling in.' He doesn't get too up or down about it. He just said to have fun and he'd be up in the stands enjoying himself."

Director of player development Brian Graham served as bench coach for Saturday's game with Russell in the manager's role.

"It's not going to be a big, huge difference for me, other than having to go make the pitching changes," Russell said. "I will rely on Dave [Wallace, pitching coach] and what he sees. I'm looking forward to it. We'll see what the night brings."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to
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