Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Chris Ray Faces Confidence Issue

Not to suggest that Orioles reliever Chris Ray has been rushed to the big leagues, but it has been observed that he still has his shoes on backwards after frantically packing his suitcase at Double A Bowie. Though Ray has a strikeout per inning and an ERA under 1.00 this spring, pitching coach Leo Mazzone's search of the waiver wire and inititation of trade talks to acquire bullpen help strongly suggests a lack of confidence in the 24-year-old closer. Ray won the closer's job after striking out 42 in 39 innings in the minors, then another 43 in a 40-inning tryout in Baltimore last year. But Mazzone is aware that the league has seen so little of Ray that it is virtually inevitable that as time goes on hitters are going to start figuring him out, and it remains to be seen where Ray's rate of productivity will level out.