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Showalter not crazy about Davis’ Bo Jackson impersonation

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — With Tampa Bay lefty Matt Moore taking the hill against the Orioles on Wednesday night, manager Buck Showalter has altered his regular lineup in the second game of the series.

Switch-hitter Alexi Casilla will start at second base instead of Ryan Flaherty, but Nate McLouth will remain in left field in lieu of Steve Pearce earning the start as the designated hitter and Nolan Reimold moving to the outfield. In a small sample size of just two starts, Moore has actually allowed more hits to lefty bats (2-for-11) than right-handed hitters (1-for-24) and can struggle with his command against left-handed hitters. In his brief career that began in 2011, Moore is allowing right-handers to bat .229 while lefties are .238 against him.

Moore hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11 1/3 innings this season, but the 23-year-old has also walked eight batters, including six in his last start against Texas. Patience will be the theme for the approach at the plate for Orioles hitters.

With the Orioles schedule to face left-handed starters in each of the next two games following Wednesday’s tilt, Showalter didn’t want McLouth to sit for an extended period but said Pearce will be in the starting lineup on Thursday against Rays ace David Price. However, Casilla figures to see action in each of the next three games with Flaherty off to a 2-for-28 start this season.

Pitchers Steve Johnson and Tsuyoshi Wada will each throw in Sarasota on Thursday with the former expected to join a minor-league club on either a rehab assignment or an option if all goes well. The right-hander will throw four innings while Wada will toss three as he continues to make his way back from last year’s Tommy John surgery.

Despite rumors of the Orioles being interested in Rangers outfielder Julio Borbon, the 27-year-old was place on waivers this afternoon as Texas’ asking price was apparently too steep. The left-handed hitting outfielder provides good speed, but he wouldn’t appear to be a dramatic upgrade over current reserve Chris Dickerson, making it unsurprising that the Orioles weren’t willing to meet the Rangers’ demand.

Now, we’ll wait to see if the Orioles put in a claim and, more importantly, are successful in acquiring him.

The struggles of reliever Pedro Strop were also a topic of discussion prior to the second game of the series. Showalter was quick to remind everyone how successful the right-handed power arm was prior to his late-season struggles a year ago.

Strop allowed two home runs in the eighth inning and is sporting a 10.80 earned run average in six appearances covering five innings. Of course, the Orioles were forced to use five relievers with starter Jake Arrieta lasting only five innings in the series opener.

“I think he’s going to do some good things for us this year,” said Showalter, who noted that Strop hadn’t pitched since Friday and wanted to give him some work. “He already has. He’s gotten some big outs already; last night wasn’t one of them. It was a pretty long chain there because we only got five innings out of our starter.”

Showalter was asked about Tuesday’s incident in which first baseman Chris Davis broke his bat over his knee after striking out, which instantly became an internet hit. The Baltimore manager clearly didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but Showalter didn’t sound as though he wanted to see a repeat performance of the move Bo Jackson made famous in the 1980s.

“I’d just like to be able to do it myself,” said Showalter before answering more seriously. “What are you going to do? It’s risky. I think I’d be more inclined [to say], ‘Let’s do something that kept us from being that mad. Maybe you can take that pitch.’ He’s not the first guy or the last guy [to do it].”

Regardless of Showalter’s feelings, here’s another look at Davis’ bat-break, courtesy of Cork Gaines:

Here are Wednesday’s lineups…

BALTIMORE
RF Nick Markakis
3B Manny Machado
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Nate McLouth
DH Nolan Reimold
2B Alexi Casilla

SP Chris Tillman (0-0, 7.00 ERA)

TAMPA BAY
CF Desmond Jennings
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Ben Zobrist
3B Evan Longoria
LF Matt Joyce
DH Shelley Duncan
1B James Loney
C Jose Molina
SS Yunel Escobar

SP Matt Moore (2-0, 0.00 ERA)

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Health concerns mounting as Reimold, Ayala leave Sunday’s game

Posted on 07 April 2013 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 7: 15 a.m.)

The Orioles lost their series finale against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday and may have lost two more pieces for the time being.

After grounding into a double play to end the sixth inning, left fielder Nolan Reimold left the game with hamstring tightness and will be reevaluated on Monday. Meanwhile, relief pitcher Luis Ayala did not play in the series finale but was taken to the hospital after becoming ill in the sixth or seventh inning, according to manager Buck Showalter.

The pair joined a growing list of health concerns that has included infielders Brian Roberts and Wilson Betemit and pitcher Steve Johnson.

However, the Orioles received good news Sunday night as Ayala joined the team in Boston after only experiencing dizzy spells on Sunday, according to several reports.

Reimold’s status will be tricky as the Orioles are already playing with a three-man bench after activating right-handed pitcher Chris Tillman to make Saturday’s start. The club is preparing for contingency plans, which could include a trip to the 15-day disabled list for Reimold if the hamstring injury is expected to keep him out for more than a day or two.

“We’re trying to evaluate it now,” Showalter said after the 4-3 loss to the Twins at Camden Yards. “[Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette] is going on the trip with us to Boston. I talked to him a little bit during the game to let him know where we were.”

The Orioles play an afternoon game at Fenway Park against the Red Sox on Monday before a day off on Tuesday. One would assume the club would need to make a decision by then on Reimold’s status and the need to have another bench player available.

Reimold painted an optimistic picture regarding his status, but April night games with potentially chilly temperatures won’t do a tight hamstring any favors without adequate rest.

“I came in here and did some [treatment] and calmed it down,” Reimold said following the game. “It’s a little tight still, but it’s not cramping up anymore. It should be all right.”

Showalter expressed confidence that the club’s medical staff was just being proactive in sending Ayala to the hospital to be checked out. The right-hander didn’t accompany the Orioles on their flight to Boston.

The reliever’s status wasn’t as critical as Reimold considering the Orioles are currently playing with an eight-man bullpen.

“He had some things you normally don’t have and they decided after looking at him — better go check it out,” Showalter said. “I’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re dealing with. See how things go.”

Showalter also confirmed that the Orioles will push back Miguel Gonzalez’s next start until the weekend against the Yankees despite his turn falling during the Boston series. The Baltimore manager said there isn’t a health concern and wants to simply give the slight right-handed pitcher a few extra days.

The club gave Gonzalez an extra day or two on several occasions over the final two months of the 2012 season.

“We’re not matching people up,” Showalter said. “We’re going to have 20-something games in a row. We’ve got an opportunity here. It’s not going to come very often. We’re going to hopefully be pitching him every fifth day for a long, long time. He’s got a chance if he stays healthy to pitch over 200 innings, so we want to have him in good shape for the long haul.”

Gonzalez was the club’s most effective starter the first time through the rotation as the 28-year-old allowed two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory in the final game of the season-opening series against Tampa Bay.

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction 2013 MLB Predictions

Posted on 01 April 2013 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles scheduled to begin the 2013 season on Tuesday, The D&L Window Tinting offered its Major League Baseball predictions on Monday morning.

For a full breakdown of the National League from Drew Forrester and Luke Jones, click HERE. To hear their American League picks, MLB awards, and World Series predictions, click HERE.

LUKE JONES

AL East
Tampa Bay 91-71
*Toronto 90-72
Baltimore 85-77
New York 85-77
Boston 77-85

AL Central
Detroit
Chicago
Kansas City
Cleveland
Minnesota

AL West
Los Angeles
*Oakland
Texas
Seattle
Houston

NL East
Washington
*Atlanta
Philadelphia
New York
Miami

NL Central
Cincinnati
St. Louis
Pittsburgh
Milwaukee
Chicago

NL West
Los Angeles
*San Francisco
Arizona
Colorado
San Diego

* = Wild Card berth

AL MVP: OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles
NL MVP: OF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Detroit
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg, Washington
AL Rookie of the Year: OF Wil Myers, Tampa Bay
NL Rookie of the Year: OF Oscar Taveras, St. Louis

ALCS: Detroit over Los Angeles
NLCS: Washington over Los Angeles
World Series: Washington over Detroit, 4-3

See Drew Forrester’s predictions on the next page >>>>>

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Orioles’ 25-man roster set as Pearce grabs final spot

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Luke Jones

The Orioles have set their 25-man roster for the start of the regular season as outfielder Steve Pearce won the final bench spot on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Pearce beat out fellow outfielder Conor Jackson after both complete strong Grapefruit League performances. The right-handed batter will likely serve as the club’s designated hitter against left-handed pitching to begin the season.

As expected, manager Buck Showalter named right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta his fourth starter and left-hander Brian Matusz will pitch out of the bullpen to begin the season. Next Friday will mark the third consecutive time Arrieta has taken the hill in the home opener.

Utility players Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla and catcher Taylor Teagarden will occupy three of the club’s four bench spots to begin the season. Flaherty became all but a certainty to make the team following the knee injury suffered by corner infielder and designated hitter Wilson Betemit earlier this week.

The bench took a substantial hit after Betemit tore the PCL in his right knee as Showalter would have had either Betemit, Nolan Reimold, or Nate McLouth off the bench on a typical night, depending on the pitching matchup. However, Casilla provides a base-stealing threat while Flaherty will serve as the primary pinch hitter against right-handed pitching.

Showalter must decide whether he will keep Rule 5 selection T.J. McFarland in the bullpen beyond the first few days of the season after the left-hander was told he made the team to begin the season.

The 23-year-old impressed this spring but must remain on the 25-man roster in order to stay with the organization. The decision to send fifth starter Chris Tillman to the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 22) was made in order to buy time for the Orioles to either trade another relief pitcher or to work out a deal with the Cleveland Indians — McFarland’s original club — that would allow them to option McFarland to the minor leagues.

Right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson is expected to be placed on the DL as he deals with a back injury.

Teams have until 3 p.m. on Sunday to finalize their 25-man rosters for the start of the regular season.

Here’s a look at where the roster stands right now, including a projected lineup:

LINEUP
RF Nick Markakis
LF Nate McLouth
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
SS J.J. Hardy
DH Nolan Reimold
3B Manny Machado
2B Brian Roberts

BENCH
INF Alexi Casilla
UTI Ryan Flaherty
C Taylor Teagarden
OF Steve Pearce

STARTING ROTATION
RHP Jason Hammel
LHP Wei-Yin Chen
RHP Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Jake Arrieta

BULLPEN
RHP Jim Johnson
RHP Pedro Strop
RHP Darren O’Day
LHP Brian Matusz
LHP Troy Patton
RHP Luis Ayala
RHP Tommy Hunter
LHP T.J. McFarland

DISABLED LIST
RHP Chris Tillman (will become fifth starter on April 6)
INF Wilson Betemit
RHP Steve Johnson
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction predicts Orioles’ 25-man roster

Posted on 26 March 2013 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles only a week away from the start of the 2013 season, The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction puts together its 25-man roster in a collaborative effort.

You can hear the full explanation from Drew Forrester and Luke Jones HERE.

CATCHERS
Matt Wieters
Taylor Teagarden

INFIELD
Chris Davis
Brian Roberts
J.J. Hardy
Manny Machado
Alexi Casilla
Ryan Flaherty

OUTFIELD
Nick Markakis
Adam Jones
Nate McLouth
Nolan Reimold
Steve Pearce

STARTING ROTATION
RHP Jason Hammel
LHP Wei-Yin Chen
RHP Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Chris Tillman
RHP Jake Arrieta

BULLPEN
RHP Jim Johnson
RHP Darren O’Day
RHP Pedro Strop
RHP Tommy Hunter
LHP Brian Matusz
LHP Troy Patton
LHP T.J. McFarland

NOTES: Jones and Forrester predict Luis Ayala will be traded and Wilson Betemit will be placed on the disabled list to begin the season.

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Orioles reassign five to minor league camp

Posted on 07 March 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Thursday that they have reassigned RHP MIKE WRIGHT, LHPs ZACH BRADDOCK and EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ, and CAs ALLAN DE SAN MIGUEL and LUIS MARTINEZ to minor league camp.

With these reassignments, the Orioles now have 56 players at major league spring training, including 16 non-roster invitees.

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Orioles’ Valencia listed in records of alleged PED clinic

Posted on 06 February 2013 by WNST Staff

With Major League Baseball investigating the Biogenesis clinic and operator Anthony Bosch, the Orioles have now been drawn into the story as third baseman Danny Valencia is listed in the records in a report from Yahoo! Sports.

According to the article, Valencia’s named is not linked to any specific performance enhancing drugs, but his mention will draw scrutiny along with the many others including Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Melky Cabrera.

Valencia released a statement Tuesday evening that was passed along by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:

“As any innocent person would be, I am shocked and troubled that my name is in any way connected to this story. I have never met or spoken to anyone connected with Biogenesis, in fact I had never even heard of this company prior to the New Times’ story. I take tremendous pride in the hard work and dedication I put into being a professional baseball player and have never taken PEDs or failed a drug test of any kind during my career. I look forward to fully cooperating in MLB’s investigation in any way that I can, and will explore taking legal action if this issue is not resolved in a timely fashion.”

The Orioles purchased his contract from the Boston Red Sox in late November.

Last season, Valencia hit .188 with three home runs and 21 runs batted in in 154 at-bats with the Minnesota Twins and Boston. He will be a candidate to platoon at the designated hitter spot with Wilson Betemit.

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Orioles claim INF Canzler from Yankees

Posted on 06 February 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have claimed infielder Russ Canzler off waivers from the Yankees. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, catcher Luis Martinez has been designated for assignment.

Canzler, 26, is a career .278/.347/.472 hitter in nine minor league seasons with the Cubs, Tampa Bay and Cleveland. He has hit .271/.304/.396 in 29 major league games in 2011 (Tampa Bay) and 2012 (Cleveland). In 31 major league plate appearances against left-handed pitching, Canzler has hit .400/.419/.667.

Martinez, 27, is a career .272/.362/.364 hitter in six minor league seasons in the San Diego (2007-11) and Texas (2012) systems. In 2012, Martinez batted .270/.350/.386 in 65 games with Triple-A Round Rock and also appeared in 10 games for the Rangers, going 2-for-18. He was originally drafted by San Diego in the 12th round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft.

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Former Orioles catcher E. Williams dead at 64

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

Former Orioles catcher Earl Williams died Monday night at the age of 64 after being diagnosed with acute leukemia last summer.

Known as a poor defensive player, Williams was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1971 as he hit 33 home runs and drove in 87 runs in his first full season. He followed that up with 28 homers a year later, prompting Baltimore manager Earl Weaver to covet the offensive catcher that offseason.

Prior to the 1973 season, Williams was traded with Taylor Duncan to the Orioles for second baseman Davey Johnson, pitchers Pat Dobson and Roric Harrison, and catcher Johnny Oates.

Williams was a flop in Baltimore, hitting .245 with 36 home runs in two seasons. Meanwhile, Johnson went on to have a career year in 1973 with 43 home runs and 99 runs batted in.

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Three Orioles named finalists for Gold Glove awards

Posted on 29 October 2012 by Luke Jones

Major League Baseball will announce the Rawlings Gold Glove winners on Tuesday night with the Orioles having three finalists this season.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy, center fielder Adam Jones, and catcher Matt Wieters have been named finalists for the 2012 awards at their respective positions. Wieters — along with right fielder Nick Markakis — won his first Gold Glove last season and Jones nabbed his only fielding honor in 2009.

Hardy is competing with Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus and Seattle’s Brendan Ryan at the position. The 30-year-old committed only six errors and posted a career-best .992 fielding percentage in 2012 as he was regarded as one of the finest defensive shortstops in the league.

Jones is up against Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson and the Angels’ Mike Trout. The 27-year-old outfielder committed eight errors and had a .982 fielding percentage in 2012.

Despite committing a career-high 10 errors and five passed balls in his third full season in the big leagues, Wieters is up for his second consecutive Gold Glove. He is competing with Detroit’s Alex Avila, Yankees catcher Russell Martin, and Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski.

The awards will be announced at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night on ESPN2.

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