BALTIMORE—Fredi González managed 1,402 major league games for the Florida Marlins and the Atlanta Braves. Because Brandon Hyde is attending the graduation of his daughter Aria from Syracuse, he’ll fill in for Hyde for Saturday’s game.
González, who’s normally the Orioles’ bench coach, is in his fourth season with the team.
“I was nervous,” González said. “It’s a one-day thing … I just make sure that nobody gets hurt. Hyder comes back tomorrow.
“I told my wife this morning when we were having coffee and breakfast. She felt my energy. She goes: ‘Are you nervous?’ I’m nervous. I’m a little anxious. As soon as [Tyler Wells] throws that first pitch, I’ll be fine.”
Because he’s filling in for the manager, González will do his best not to be ejected. In his 10 years of managing, he was ejected 26 times.
“Don’t believe those YouTube videos,” he said, laughing. “I have changed, believe me. There’s no reason to get ejected other than balls and strikes. I’ll make sure one of the young coaches does that. I’ll keep the peace.”
González wasn’t sure who would manage if he were to get ejected, but he’ll try to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“I don’t want embarrassment to the organization. Here I am managing one game for Hyder who went to do something great to see his daughter graduate from college and I get ejected. I don’t want to explain that to him when he comes back.”
González on Orioles and his relationship with Hyde: González said he’s not surprised by the Orioles’ success this season.
“Sitting back and watching what we did last year, I think we just carried it over with a couple of different people,” González said. “We’ve carried it over, the momentum … We win games a lot of different ways, but there is a constant. The constant is when we have a chance to win, that bullpen has been able to close out games like it did last year. That is nice to see.
“Offensively we come every night and we don’t chase. We walk. We make the opposing pitcher work offensively. You look at all the information on Defensive Runs Saved, and we’re kind of in the middle of the pack, maybe below. We don’t make the fundamental errors. We don’t throw to the wrong base. We don’t make those types of errors that creates bigger innings for the opposition.
“I hope that we keep with that recipe. It’s really nice to be able to shake hands and talk strategy with Hyder during the course of the game, but winning the game.”
Hyde and González have known each other for years dating back to the Marlins’ organization nearly 20 years ago.
“My job is to prepare like he does and when he asks me a question, I‘ll know the answer or give him the answer that I prepared for during the course of the day. I get a lot of ‘no’s.’ He don’t want to do that. Sometimes he’ll put me on the spot: ‘What would you do?’ That’s when you come up with, ‘This is what I would do.’
“I think our relationship is awesome. I think we work together. I think I alleviate a lot of his problems. When [Hyde] needs to talk to a guy, he goes, ‘Can you talk to this guy? I’m not going to play him. Make sure you tell him the reason he isn’t playing is because this.’”
Ortiz on taxi squad: Infielder Joey Ortiz is on the taxi squad for the game in case outfielder Ryan McKenna is unable to play. McKenna has been hampered by a back injury.
“We’re hoping it doesn’t need any [injured list] time,” González said. “If something doesn’t turn for the better, we have him here.”
Ohtani pitches on Monday: The Los Angeles Angels will play the Orioles in four games beginning Monday night. Shohei Ohtani (4-1, 2.74) will face Grayson Rodriguez (2-0, 5.08) on Monday.
It’s Ohtani’s second start in Baltimore. On August 25, 2021, the Orioles beat the Angels, 10-6, breaking their 19-game losing streak, second longest in team history. Ohtani was not involved in the decision.