Villar vying for everyday role with Orioles
ARLINGTON -- Jonathan Villar is ready for a fresh start in Baltimore.
Villar, who was acquired from the Brewers on Tuesday, is part of the three-player package the Orioles received for Jonathan Schoop. He already recognizes there is an opportunity for him to once again become an everyday player on a rebuilding Orioles team.
Villar played in 156 games for the Brewers in 2016, and 122 last season, but a sprained right thumb has limited him to 87 games this season. Milwaukee also recently traded for Mike Moustakas, which has created a crowded infield for the Brewers and likely would have limited Villar's playing time.
"I feel good because I'm coming to Baltimore, that's a new opportunity to play every day here," Villar said. "That team in Milwaukee has too many in the infield … that's not too easy to put in one lineup back-to-back [games]. Now, I feel happy, because I'm coming here. New team, new guy, it's very personal for me. I'm happy for that."
Villar already got that opportunity in the team's series opener against the Rangers at Globe Life Park on Thursday, when he hit leadoff and played second base. He singled in his first at-bat with Baltimore, and came around to score the O's first run on a groundout from Mark Trumbo.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, however, isn't fully ready to commit to making Villar the everyday second baseman.
"We'll see. We'll keep everybody in play there," Showalter said. "We'll take a good look at him. …We'll see if he can take advantage of the opportunity we'll give him."
Villar said he is hoping to make an impact on the bases. He has 14 stolen bases this season and wants to help improve the Orioles' run game. Baltimore entered the day with 38 stolen bases, which ranked 12th in the American League.
"I talked earlier today [with the coaching staff] about that situation, because I love running the bases," Villar said. "That's my game. That's my baseball. That's the game I need to play. Whatever they need, I can do that."
Givens prepared to take on leadership role in bullpen
With the recent trades of left-hander Zach Britton and right-handers Darren O'Day and Brad Brach, righty Mychal Givens suddenly finds himself as one of the veterans in the Orioles' bullpen, and he's ready to take on a leadership role in it.
"It's been grateful to have those guys, with Darren and Zach and Brad to influence me to be prepared for situations like this, and how to be a bullpen guy, and to teach the guys that come in," Givens said.
Entering the day, Givens led Baltimore relievers in appearances (48) and strikeouts (59), and was second in innings pitched (53). He's also the second-oldest player in the bullpen at 27 years old.
Givens, however, is also looking to break out of a recent slump. He's allowed five runs (four earned) in his past four appearances.
"I know Mike's frustrated right now," Showalter said. "He's going through a tough spell, but we'll keep running him out there, and he'll figure it out."