Givens tossed one-third of an inning to pick up the save Sunday against the Dodgers. He did not allow a baserunner or record a strikeout. Givens entered to get the final out after Daniel Bard struggled to start the frame. It marked the right-hander's first save of the campaign. Bard still figures to be first in line for save chances, though it certainly wouldn't be shocking if Givens gets another shot to pitch the ninth during the season's final week.
Givens gave up one run on one hit and one walk without recording a strikeout in one inning Friday against the Angels. He was charged with a blown save after giving up a solo home run to Jared Walsh in the top of the eighth inning. The Rockies still ended up getting the win in regulation, even with Daniel Bard giving up another run in the top of the ninth inning. Givens is the de facto setup man for his new team with Bard serving as the closer.
The Orioles traded Givens to the Rockies on Sunday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Baltimore's return in the deal remains unknown, but Givens will head westward to provide Colorado with another experienced late-inning arm while the team's top two closing candidates to begin the season -- Wade Davis (shoulder) and Scott Oberg (arm) -- remain on the injured list. Givens saved 20 games for the Orioles between 2018 and 2019, but he served in more of a setup role in 2020, posting a 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 19:6 K:BB over 13 innings while notching five holds. He could challenge Daniel Bard and Carlos Estevez for closing duties in Colorado, at least until Davis is back from the IL.
Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail said Sunday that Givens remains in the mix to close, but Baltimore has yet to decide on a top option for the ninth inning, Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun reports. Givens finished as the Orioles' save leader in 2019, but he netted only 11 of them for an 108-loss squad and supplemented that total with a 4.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 86:26 K:BB in 63 innings. Though Givens enters 2020 as the best of the established options in a weak Baltimore bullpen, his standing atop the depth chart is shaky after 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey showcased some dominant skills in a small late-season sample with Baltimore (11 strikeouts in 6.1 innings). Harvey looks like the better bet to be the long-term answer at the back of the bullpen, but it wouldn't be surprising if Givens opened 2020 as the team's preferred closer given his experience. Brocail also indicated that southpaw Richard Bleier could be in the mix for saves against lefty-heavy lineups, which would make it even more difficult to justify investing in either Givens or Harvey, especially with the Orioles expected to be one of MLB's weaker teams once again.
Givens threw off a mound at Oriole Park on Monday, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. The takeaway is that Givens is healthy and ready to start ramping up with less than three weeks before Opening Day. He and Hunter Harvey are expected to get the bulk of the save chances this season for Baltimore.
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