Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

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Ravens, 49ers to hold joint practices in preseason

Posted on 19 April 2014 by Luke Jones

As if a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII in the Ravens’ preseason opener wasn’t enough, head coach John Harbaugh will welcome brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers for a series of training camp practices in Baltimore.

The Ravens and 49ers will meet at M&T Bank Stadium on Aug. 7 to kick off the preseason schedule before the teams meet for four days of practices in Baltimore. The teams will hold a light practice at the stadium the day after the game followed by three days of joint practices at the Ravens’ training facility in Owings Mills.

“I called Jim about a month ago and asked him if he wanted to do it, and I wasn’t really sure if he’d want to,” Harbaugh told the team’s official website on Friday. “And he was like, ‘Absolutely. Let’s do it.’”

One of the annual themes of training camp is players growing weary of going up against their own teammates, so the decision to invite the 49ers to practice with the Ravens figures to break up the monotony of the summer. Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin will certainly be familiar returning to the training facility at which he spent three seasons.

It will be interesting to see how the brothers interact with one another while their teams prepare for the 2014 season, and their father, Jack Harbaugh, is expected to be present for the practice sessions.

“He’s going to be the unofficial, official,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to be in charge of breaking up all fights – different brotherly scuffles. If we start rolling around on the field my dad is going to have to jump in I guess. It’s going to be fantastic. We just can’t wait to do it.”

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/17

Posted on 18 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Thursday…

* Alexi Casilla drove in two runs, but Triple-A Norfolk fell 3-2 to Durham

* Tim Berry pitched six strong innings despite Double-A Bowie losing a 3-2 final to Akron

* Michael Burgess homered and Adrian Marin drove in two to lead Single-A Frederick to a 7-3 win over Winston-Salem

* Steve Brault threw seven shutout innings as Single-A Delmarva won 3-1 over Greensboro

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Ravens reinstate Rolando McClain from reserve-retired list

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Ravens reinstate Rolando McClain from reserve-retired list

Posted on 17 April 2014 by Luke Jones

Only two days after Rolando McClain reportedly bombed his workout with the Ravens, the linebacker was reinstated from the reserve-retired list.

It’s unclear what this ultimately means for the 24-year-old’s future in Baltimore, but the administrative move allows McClain to potentially take part in the offseason conditioning program set to begin on Monday. The Ravens own the rights to McClain after signing him to a one-year contract last year before he abruptly retired from the NFL following an arrest in Decatur, Ala. last spring.

The organization could monitor his progress in workouts before ultimately making a decision to move forward with him on the roster or to grant him his release.

McClain gained plenty of negative attention for his failed workout on Tuesday when he arrived more than 20 minutes late and couldn’t pass the team’s conditioning test, making this latest development somewhat surprising. The University of Alabama product has remained in contact with general manager and fellow Crimson Tide alum Ozzie Newsome over the last few months.

The eighth overall pick of the 2010 draft, McClain played three up-and-down seasons with the Oakland Raiders while accumulating 173 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, and 20 pass breakups in 38 starts.

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Britton continues coming up huge for Orioles bullpen

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Britton continues coming up huge for Orioles bullpen

Posted on 16 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Miguel Gonzalez earned the win and Tommy Hunter secured his fourth save, but it was Zach Britton who deserved a gold star for his work in the Orioles’ 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

The left-handed pitcher moved his streak of scoreless innings to 11 1/3 to begin the season after blanking the Rays over three frames to bridge the gap from Gonzalez’s five-inning start to Hunter in the ninth inning as Baltimore swept an abbreviated two-game set in unseasonably cold conditions on Wednesday afternoon. Britton wasn’t perfect in his longest appearance of the season, but his strikeout of Wil Myers on a low-and-away sinking fastball in the seventh not only thwarted a bases-loaded scoring chance but provided the latest example of just how dependable the 26-year-old has been.

Entering spring training without any minor-league options remaining and coming off two straight disappointing seasons in which he battled a tender shoulder and inconsistency, Britton has embraced his middle-relief role while being one of the Orioles’ most valuable players thus far. He’s allowed just four hits and has struck out seven while walking four in his 11 1/3 innings this season.

“The first weapon is that he can get left- and right-handed hitters out,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s huge for a relief pitcher. He’s in a good place right now. You can see it presentation-wise as much as physically. We had other people who could pitch, but the situation puts you in a nice little rocking chair sometimes when you have a left-handed pitcher who can defend himself against right-handers. And that comes from his starting background and also comes from a pretty good sinker.”

Britton’s effectiveness with a sinker consistently in the low to mid-90s has led some to question whether the southpaw is worthy of another chance in the starting rotation. Showalter was comfortable in allowing Britton to throw 42 pitches since he hadn’t pitched since a 30-pitch outing on Saturday, but this development was particularly interesting given that the Orioles used only two relievers on Monday, were rained out Tuesday, and will enjoy another off-day Thursday before beginning a four-game set against the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.

Beyond right-hander Evan Meek, who pitched 1 2/3 innings Monday and was dealing with flu-like symptoms over the last two days, the rest of the bullpen was fresh even though Showalter alluded to other relievers potentially feeling the effects of the bug that’s been going through the Baltimore clubhouse over the last week.

Of course, Showalter isn’t going to broadcast any potential desire to stretch out Britton to the point that he would once again become a starting option and the latest turn through the rotation — sans Ubaldo Jimenez — provided improved results, but there’s no harm in having a relief option that can bring both length and results in close games like Britton has done. It’s the same way the Orioles used Arthur Rhodes — another former left-handed starting prospect — with great results in their 1996 and 1997 playoff seasons.

Before arguing that Britton should move into the rotation, it’s important to acknowledge that what he’s done while facing hitters one time through the order is a different story from being entrusted to retire batters three or four different times as a starter. Assuming success in relief translates into being an effective starting pitcher is often fool’s gold, and Britton has found a niche working out of the bullpen.

The temptation is certainly there to envision him as a starter again, even if the memory of his 4.95 earned run average, 1.725 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), and meager 4.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in eight appearances (seven of them starts) last season make it unsettling to try to mess with something that isn’t broken. But Britton hasn’t looked this good since his rookie season in 2011 when he was 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in his first 10 starts and appeared on his way to becoming a mainstay in the Baltimore rotation.

No changes in the starting rotation are imminent — nor should be at this early stage of the season — but Britton has provided Showalter with a major bullet out of the bullpen who could become an intriguing alternative if the likes of Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, or Bud Norris slip in the coming weeks. The return of Troy Patton from suspension in the near future will also add another left-handed arm to the bullpen.

Regardless of what happens, the Orioles are pleased to simply see Britton back on track.

“He’s throwing the ball with a lot of confidence,” Hunter said. “He’s got a game plan, and he’s sticking to it. Him and [catcher Matt Wieters] are on a good page right now. I’ll pat him on the butt and hope he keeps it up.”

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/15

Posted on 16 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Tuesday…

* Kevin Gausman allowed four earned runs, seven hits, and three walks as Triple-A Norfolk fell 15-0 to Gwinnett

* Double-A Bowie’s game at Erie was postponed

* Single-A Frederick’s game at Winston-Salem was postponed

* Single-A Delmarva’s game against Hagerstown was postponed

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Rolando McClain reportedly fails to impress Ravens in workout

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Rolando McClain reportedly fails to impress Ravens in workout

Posted on 15 April 2014 by Luke Jones

The latest chapter in the Rolando McClain saga was once again a disappointing one for the retired 24-year-old linebacker as he failed to impress the Ravens in a Tuesday workout.

According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, the 2010 first-round pick couldn’t finish a conditioning test or complete any drills and even showed up late for the workout. Needless to say, this wasn’t the kind of impression McClain could afford to make after he abruptly retired from the NFL last year following an arrest in Decatur, Ala.

General manager Ozzie Newsome has remained in contact with McClain, but coach John Harbaugh has remained skeptical when asked about McClain potentially returning to the Ravens. The former Oakland Raiders linebacker confirmed earlier this offseason that he was preparing himself for a comeback.

“It all depends on a couple things,” Harbaugh said at last month’s league meetings in Orlando. “Who [is he] as a person right now? Has he grown up? He had a lot of growing up to do obviously. And how hard he’s working, how hard he’s working at Alabama right now. If he’s working his rear end off, then I’m kind of excited about him. If he’s not, then I’ve got no interest in him being on our team.”

The Ravens retain McClain’s rights after signing the troubled linebacker to a one-year contract last spring.

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Tuesday night’s Orioles-Rays game postponed due to rain

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Tuesday night’s Orioles-Rays game postponed due to rain

Posted on 15 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Dealing with significant rain and falling temperatures throughout the day, the second game of a three-game set between the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays was postponed on Tuesday night.

No makeup date was immediately announced by the Orioles, but fans were encouraged to keep tickets and parking passes until more information was made available at a later time. Prior to the postponement, manager Buck Showalter suggested in his pre-game press conference that the possibility existed of playing a straight doubleheader on Wednesday, but the decision was made not to play a twin bill.

The Orioles and Rays will meet for a 12:35 p.m. game on Wednesday to conclude their series. Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Miguel Gonzalez, will start on Wednesday while Chris Tillman will be pushed back to Friday when the Orioles begin a four-game set in Boston. Gonzalez will be opposed by Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

The club also announced that the commemorative Jackie Robinson No. 42 jerseys players were scheduled to wear during Tuesday’s game would be used on a later date.

Jones, Meek sent home with illness

Before Tuesday’s game was postponed, the Orioles were preparing to play the Rays without the services of center fielder Adam Jones, who was sent home earlier in the day with an illness.

A nasty bug has made its way through the Baltimore clubhouse and has stricken others such as pitcher Brian Matusz and hitting coach Jim Presley. Relief pitcher Evan Meek was also sent home on Tuesday even though he wasn’t available to pitch anyway after he threw 1 2/3 innings in Monday night’s win.

The Rays had also changed their starting pitcher Tuesday afternoon as reliever Brandon Gomes would have filled in for Odorizzi, who was also dealing with an illness.

Machado update

Third baseman Manny Machado sprinted three times from 90 feet and three times from 180 feet and also took five at-bats in a simulated game played at the Orioles’ spring training complex in Sarasota on Tuesday.

According to Showalter, the 21-year-old was scheduled to run the bases on Wednesday in what represents the last major test before he prepares to start a minor league rehab assignment.

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/14

Posted on 15 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Monday…

* David Adams drove in two runs despite Triple-A Norfolk falling 5-4 to Gwinnett

* Eduardo Rodriguez allowed four earned runs in six inning as Double-A Bowie dropped a 4-3 rain-shortened game to Erie

* Brenden Webb and Wynston Sawyer each homered in a losing effort for Single-A Frederick in a 5-4 final in 12 against Lynchburg

* Mike Yastrzemski drove in three runs as Single-A Delmarva won 9-2 over Hagerstown

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Brooks Robinson expected to file lawsuit against Seminole tribe

Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson (Baltimore Orioles) is expected to file a lawsuit against the Seminole Tribe after he suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling off a stage at the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in 2012. He was on the property to attend a fundraiser for the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.  However, Mr. Robinson’s attorney Jack Hickey said Florida’s Tribal Sovereignty compact might prevent Robinson from receiving fair compensation to cover his medical expenses for his multiple and debilitating injuries.

At the heart of this story is a national consumer issue. With the proliferation of gaming facilities with added attractions such as ballrooms, hotels and concert venues, visitors are not protected if they are injured while they are not gambling. In other words, if you are on property “for gaming purposes” there is a waiver of the immunity allowing you to bring a claim and get full compensation. If you are not on property for gaming purposes (for example a fundraiser or concert) and you are hurt through the Tribe’s negligence, they have tribal immunity in which their liability is limited to the $200,000 statutory cap imposed on governmental entities by the Florida Legislature.

Mr. Robinson’s attorney said this is a horrible injustice to the public and should be addressed during this legislative session.

Here is a PDF of the demands letter.

DEMAND LETTER. 001 (REVISED)

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Machado approaching final hurdles before rehab assignment

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Machado approaching final hurdles before rehab assignment

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Manager Buck Showalter has a date in mind for when we might see third baseman Manny Machado back in the Orioles lineup but isn’t ready to share it just yet.

The 21-year-old took another significant step toward his return on Monday as he began sprinting, running at full speed six times from 90 feet at the club’s spring training facility in Sarasota. Machado also had four at-bats in a simulated game in addition to the sprinting.

Machado will sprint from 180 feet Tuesday before attempting to clear the last major hurdle of running the bases this week.

Should the All-Star third baseman respond favorably to that task, he is expected to play in at least two or three extended spring training before beginning a rehab assignment that can last up to 20 days for a position player on the major league disabled list. Such a schedule would make a return to the Orioles possible by late April or — more realistically — early May even though Showalter hinted that Machado may not need the full 20 days of minor-league games to get ready after taking part in baseball-related activity to varying degrees since late January.

“Manny’s feeling good. Hopefully, he’ll feel as well tomorrow as he did today,” said Showalter, who exchanged text messages with Machado and spoke with minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker on Monday. “He’s been down this road enough that he knows. He wants to get it right the first time. He’s got a lot of good people around him who won’t let him get ahead of himself. The things they’re putting him through, it’s going to be pretty obvious if he can do them, he’s ready to go.”

The Orioles have used the combination of Ryan Flaherty and rookie Jonathan Schoop at third base in Machado’s absence this season. All three errors committed by Baltimore have come at third base where Schoop committed two miscues in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

While the organization continues to be conservative with Machado, Monday’s developments certainly presented some light at the end of the tunnel that’s remained somewhat ambiguous since the infielder complained of soreness from scar tissue that forced him to stop running in mid-March. Of course, the Orioles will at least hold their breath as Machado tries to cut around the bases this week, which is what he struggled with during spring training.

“As Dave said today, ‘He’s got a good face going right now,’” Showalter said. “We all know what he’s talking about.”

In other injury-related news from Sarasota, pitching prospect Dylan Bundy threw 35 pitches from the mound and mixed in some changeups to go with his fastball for the first time on Monday. Bundy is expected to begin throwing curveballs later this week.

Outfielder Nolan Reimold continues to receive treatment on his surgically-repaired neck but is still not taking part in any baseball-related activity after being moved to the 60-day disabled list earlier this month.

Here are Monday’s lineups:

TAMPA BAY
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Desmond Jennings
DH Logan Forsythe
3B Evan Longoria
RF Wil Myers
1B James Loney
LF Brandon Guyer
SS Yunel Escobar
C Ryan Hanigan

SP Chris Archer (1-0, 1.38 ERA)

BALTIMORE
RF Nick Markakis
DH Nelson Cruz
1B Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
LF David Lough
SS J.J. Hardy
2B Steve Lombardozzi
3B Ryan Flaherty

SP Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 6.75 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter for updates and analysis throughout the evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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