Buck Showalter on Kevin Gregg: “I think you will see him get better as we go on”

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Kevin Gregg’s latest ugly outing, in which he allowed three runs while recording one out, inflated his ERA to 12.27 and caused our own Matthew Pouliot to wonder how much longer the Orioles can possibly stick with the veteran right-hander.

Buck Showalter was asked exactly that by Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com and the manager replied:

I can’t sit here and say nonchalantly that there’s not something to it. But Kevin’s pitched in different roles in his career, I know Kevin and he just wants to contribute and do whatever, we’ve talked about this and I think you will see him get better as we go on.

Showalter is seemingly saying that because Gregg has been used as a closer in the past that’s causing him to struggle in a non-closer role, which is especially silly considering Gregg has always been mediocre regardless of his role and was never well suited for the closer job in the first place.

Gregg saved 20-plus games in five straight seasons prior to this year and in those five seasons he posted a 3.89 ERA with 4.7 walks per nine innings and a homer every 10 frames. That includes a 4.37 ERA and nearly as many walks (40) as strikeouts (53) in 60 innings last season, which along with the fact that Gregg is 34 years old provides a pretty simple explanation for his struggles.

Gregg was stripped of closing duties because he pitched poorly and now he’s pitching very poorly in a non-closer role. If not for his still being owed $6 million as part of a misguided two-year, $12 million deal the Orioles probably would have gotten rid of Gregg already.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.