O’s today: Guthrie told to leave USA team and head for FLA

March 19, 2009 | Drew Forrester

The Orioles have sent word to Jeremy Guthrie that it’s time to pack his bags and head to Ft. Lauderdale to join the team in spring training.

Guthrie, along with Brian Roberts, accompanied the USA team to Los Angeles today for the continuation of the World Baseball Classic.  

If the O’s have their way, he won’t be in L.A. very long.

Guthrie started Wednesday night’s game against Venezuela and was torched for 7 hits in 1.2 innings.  He has not been very good in three WBC appearances thus far, with a 14.37 e.r.a. in 3.2 innings of work, including 10 hits allowed.  Not exactly #1 starter material now, is it?

O’s pitching coach Rick Kranitz sent Guthrie a text message after last night’s disastrous start in the WBC and urged him to re-join his employer in Ft. Lauderdale.  

This isn’t the Orioles being petty.  This isn’t even about the Orioles being “smart” and bringing him back for a few weeks of spring training.

This is about the Orioles being scared.  

They’re probably thinking, “Holy cow…if this guy has suddenly picked up a mechanical flaw, we need to get him back to Florida with us and work this thing out.”

I can’t blame them.

I CAN blame them for the bush-league tactic of trimming Guthrie’s salary from $770,000 to $650,000 ten days ago — “just because we can…”  —  That’s certainly not the way you treat a valued employee.

But, I can’t blame them at all for being super-concerned that Guthrie can’t get anyone out in the WBC. 

On April 6, it all starts for real.  And the Orioles, given the precarious nature of their starting staff, are relying on Guthrie to perform well for them in his 33 or so starts in ’09.

I’ve said this for the last two weeks: If Guthrie gets injured or is otherwise ineffective this season, the s*** is really going to hit the fan in Baltimore this summer.

So, I actually don’t blame them for asking Guthrie to come back to Ft. Lauderdale and join his team.

It sucks, I agree, since he’s been part of the USA team since day one.  There’s no doubt in my mind that if Guthrie’s WBC numbers included a 3.59 e.r.a. and 5 hits allowed in 3.2 innings of work — with 6 K’s and 1 BB — he’d be in Los Angeles today playing 18 holes at Porter Valley Country Club after practice. 

The Orioles are scared.

I can’t say that I blame them.

They have no starting pitching as it is.  It’s time to get your best pitcher back home and get him straightened out.