Givens a lock to take mound in late innings

Orioles notes on Infante, Kremer, Reinheimer

February 14th, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. -- With more than a dozen pitchers seemingly in the mix for bullpen jobs this spring, it'll take weeks of assessment before candidates for certain roles begin to emerge. Even the club's few veteran holdovers will have to wait.

That includes , who finished 2018 as the Orioles' closer and arrived at camp the overwhelming favorite to reclaim that job. Though the 28-year-old right-hander is a lock to factor in the O's late-inning picture, where exactly remains to be seen -- and is subject to change.

Now healthy, Karns looks to revive career

"His role right now is to pitch in high-leverage situations, whether that's closing, or the seventh or the eighth," manager Brandon Hyde said. "We haven't talked about his role. We haven't talked about what we look for six weeks from now from him. I want him to be himself and be the lock-down guy he's been the majority of his career."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

<p. hyde=""> "I don't plan to be a closer, I just plan on doing anything I can to win a game," Givens said. "To be a bullpen guy, you need to be able to stop bleeding. That's my biggest mindset every single year, whatever role, whatever situation. … Whatever role they put me in, I'm going to try to go out there and succeed." </p.>

Hyde can also operate with the comfort provided by Givens' experience. The right-hander excelled in various middle-relief roles before graduating to closer role last season, as a longtime member of an excellent bridge to the ninth alongside , and Zack Britton.

Givens was the only member of that group left after the Orioles' flurry of midseason trades. He went 9-for-12 in save opportunities down the stretch, and finished the year with a 0-7 record and a career-high 3.99 ERA.

Though Hyde said, "I think the last three outs [of a game] are different," he relented that a more liquid approach may work better for a team with as many moving parts as the Orioles.

"If you have an elite closer, a Mariano Rivera or type, then you want them pitching the end of the game in an ideal world. But there are high-leverage situations that happen in the last nine outs of the game," Hyde said. "We have no idea what our roster looks like, to even talk about any type of role right now. … I'm not going to manage to a save statistic, I'm going to manage to win games. Whether that's certain guys pitching the seventh, eighth, ninth inning, that might change nightly."

Injury report

The second day of workouts spawned the first injury news of Orioles camp. Hyde revealed right-hander will be the second Orioles player from Venezuela to arrive with an excused lateness. While catcher is being held back due to visa issues, Infante is dealing with an illness that prohibits him from traveling, Hyde said.

Signed to a Minor League deal in December, Infante, 31, pitched to a 3.82 ERA across 62 relief appearances over the past two seasons with the White Sox.

He's expected to see action before right-hander Dean Kremer, who will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a left oblique strain. The O's No. 16 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Kremer said he suffered the injury throwing back home in California two weeks before reporting to Sarasota. The 23-year-old was acquired last summer in the deal that sent to the Dodgers, in the middle of a breakout year that saw him lead all Minor League pitchers in strikeouts with 178.

"The hard thing now is keeping away from the temptation to throw," Kremer said. "I'm counting down the days."

Worth noting

Infielder cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles announced Thursday. The versatile infielder, designated for assignment last week when the club signed right-hander , was originally plucked off waivers in January from the Mets. He'll be in camp as a non-roster invitee when position players are required to report Sunday.