Gregg on closing, his struggles etc.

On a new team, in a new city, on a multi-year deal, this is not the start that Orioles closer Kevin Gregg envisioned this spring.

“You just try to deal with it,” Gregg said of his struggles in Baltimore, which include two runs on Monday night and a blown save on Thursday in New York. “Am I panicked about [my performance]? No. Am I disappointed about not starting better? Yeah. But I’m not worried about it. I know it will all even out as the season goes. You have good spells and bad spells, I could easily go eight scoreless innings and at the end of that nobody would even think anything of [this].”

I’ll have a full story up later, but here are some quotes from Gregg, who spent Tuesday afternoon in the video room with bullpen coach Rick Adair and pitching coach Mark Connor.

[on not getting a lot of work]

“This is an extreme [case of not throwing],” said Gregg, who could only think of one other stretch in his career where he was used less.

“I’d rather throw and keep myself sharp and if that caused me to throw three days in a row and only one is a save opportunity, if the team has a chance to win it’s going to make me better in the long run. I’d rather do that. We have the arms in here where I can take a day off and if I do have to throw in games that aren’t save situations, it’s not a big deal.

“I didn’t want to go in this year and say,’ I only want to throw in save situations.’ It doesn’t make me any good, and it doesn’t make our team any good.”

[on if manager Buck Showalter has talked to him about his job security given his performance lately]

“No. I have had two save opportunities. And if I’m going to lose my job over a non-save situation, then I’m never pitching in a nonsave situation. All over baseball go watch closers in a nonsave situation, it doesn’t work. Because the adrenaline, the sense of urgency, it’s not there. It never works. And that’s the hardest part about doing it. We live for having the game on the line.”

[on the sense around the team's 8-game skid]

“I think the anticipation of a great team that everybody had from last year coming into this year, it gets to guys. We are all excited about it too, but we are human. We play 162 [games] for a reason. We have high expectations for [Derrek] Lee, for [Mark] Reynolds, for Vladdy [Guerrero], but they aren’t producing the way we thought they would be producing. Are we worried about it? No.”

[on being booed at Camden Yards, and the sense that fans want Koji Uehara to close.]

“Koji’s a great pitcher, he’s done great things. But what does he have, 15 career saves? I’ve saved 17 in a row, or something like that. It happens. I’ve also blown three in a row before.

“I’m going to guess Koji didn’t save every game he ever pitched in, either. I think people are excited about what he’s done so that’s where all that anticipation is coming from. I was in the same situation in Chicago [in 2009, replacing Kerry Wood.]

[on his shaky command and high-wire act]
[In Chicago Carlos] Marmol was going to walk 2 or 3 and strike out five. He had that kind of stuff. I don’t have that kind of stuff…But it was never clean and [manager Lou Piniella] didn’t like that. He also exploded and sometimes it was 5 runs [he would allow].

“I might be trouble and I might give up a run, but I can bear down and catch myself in situations. Once it’s perspective right now. It’s April. There’s a difference…I could have 10 saves in a row and they could all be clean.”

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