Perlozzo insists his job shouldn't be in jeopardy

BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo says he doesn't read the newspaper anymore, has stopped watching sports on TV and doesn't bother listening to the radio.

Yet he's heard enough to know that his performance has come under scrutiny following a road trip in which Baltimore went 3-6 -- including four one-run losses.

Perlozzo spoke defiantly Tuesday before the Orioles then went out and lost to Toronto 6-4, insisting he has done nothing that should put his job in jeopardy.

"If you feel like you haven't put your people in the right place, you should worry about your job. I don't feel that's the case," he said. "If anybody knows anything about baseball, they'd know many of the games we lost our set-up man and closer have been
in it. You put the people in, if they don't do the job, you pick up the pieces and we go out there the next time."

The two most painful losses on the trip were a 6-5 defeat in Boston and a 4-3 loss in Washington. In the first game, setup man Danys Baez and closer Chris Ray gave up a 5-0 ninth-inning lead. Against Washington, Baez failed to hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth.

Perlozzo was second-guessed for turning to Baez on both occasions, but in his defense, the reliever was awarded a $19 million, three-year contract during the offseason to perform capably in those kind of situations.

Perlozzo said Tuesday that he is considering dropping Baez from the setup role, at least on a temporary basis. Even though the Orioles' woes can be blamed in part on Baez, a makeshift starting rotation and inconsistent hitting, Perlozzo is still feeling the heat.

"Nobody likes losing. I come in here and I want to have a good attitude, a clear mind and do the job that I'm paid to do and want to do," he said. "So I don't read the newspapers. I don't read anything anymore. I don't listen to the radio. I come out here. I'm in a good mood, I talk to my players, I want to have some fun. I manage the game the way I think it should be managed and let the chips fall."

Perlozzo was with the Orioles for 8½ years before being hired as manager on an interim basis after Lee Mazzilli was fired in August 2005. After going 23-32, he was awarded a three-year deal in October 2005.

Now, in his second full season, he's hit a snag.

"Maybe he's not doing all the right things, but it's our job to go out there and score runs," second baseman Brian Roberts said. "The manager is under scrutiny, but we've got to go out on the field and get the job done."

It would be easier if the Orioles were healthy, but that's not been the case.

"Let me tell you all where I think we stand. When we came into spring training, we [had] a starting staff of Kris Benson, Jaret Wright, Adam Loewen, Daniel Cabrera and Erik Bedard. We lost Benson, Wright and Loewen," Perlozzo said.

Still, there's no reason to panic. Yet.

"We're four games under .500 right now. We can make a move," Perlozzo said before Tuesday's loss. "We've got some guys that we think should be playing a little bit better. It's a simple fact. Have I given up on them? Absolutely not. I don't think you've heard me say a bad thing about anybody on this team. I believe in these guys. But sometimes it's just not me that has to believe in them. They've got to get it going and believe in themselves and play this game. And if we're good enough, we'll have a good record."

Will Perlozzo be around to see it through? Vice president of baseball operations Jim Duquette remains guarded on the subject.

"I'm not talking about the manager's job," he said.