Givens a Bird on the rise

Reliever looking to continue quick journey upward

Givens a Bird on the rise

BALTIMORE -- Mychal Givens has had quite a quick ascent. A year ago, he impressed at the Orioles' January minicamp -- despite having just two seasons of pitching experience. In June, Givens made his Major League debut.

Now Givens is aiming to build on his success from 2015, and he could take on a bigger role in the O's bullpen this season.

"[It's] just a journey, just going through the Minor Leagues as a shortstop, that didn't work out. And they gave me a new, second life to be a pitcher," said Givens, speaking at the MLB/MLBPA's Rookie Career Development Program in Virginia over the weekend. "And I took that as God's gift to be able to still play baseball. So I took it and ran with it."

O's Spring Training information

Even Givens, Baltimore's second-round pick in the 2009 Draft, wasn't expecting to reach the Majors so soon.

"I was definitely surprised," said the right-hander, who turns 26 on May 13. "But at the same time, having a mentor [director of pitching development] Rick Peterson, [Double-A Bowie pitching coach] Alan Mills and all the pitching coaches that when I started got me over this hump and rushed to get me to the big leagues, that really helped.

"I had a lot of influence with a lot of good PC -- being around [relievers] Darren O'Day, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter when we had him. [They told me], 'Just go there and do your best and give it all you got and don't think negative about what's going on. You can't control it. Just go out there and have fun and do what you do.'"

Givens gets out of big jam

Givens, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as Baltimore's No. 6 prospect, did plenty last season, pitching 30 innings for the Orioles and posting a 1.80 ERA in 22 outings. He struck out 38 and walked just six over that stretch.

As for a return to the offensive side of baseball, Givens -- who nearly got an at-bat during Interleague Play in Washington -- laughed and didn't sound overly optimistic at getting to take part in batting practice any time soon.

"I'll stick to pitching right now," he said.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.