Tag Archive | "Brian Roberts"

Roberts likely to be activated over weekend against Yankees

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Roberts likely to be activated over weekend against Yankees

Posted on 27 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — After no setbacks and some impressive work in his brief rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Norfolk, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts could make his 2013 home debut this weekend against the New York Yankees.

The 35-year-old was scheduled to play in two games with the Tides on Thursday night — likely serving as the designated hitter in the second one — and is likely to be activated from the 60-day disabled list at some point over the weekend, according to manager Buck Showalter. Roberts was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in his first rehab game on Tuesday and walked twice on Wednesday before rain suspended the contest between Norfolk and Columbus.

“I think we have a good chance to see Brian over the weekend,” said manager Buck Showalter, who’s received favorable reports on Roberts’ baserunning and defense from Norfolk manager Ron Johnson. “He’s progressing well.”

The Orioles skipper confirmed what most assumed in terms of Roberts’ role upon returning to action for the first time since April 4. The longtime infielder will be the starting second baseman while the club reevaluate how to handle the roles of Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla. The argument could be made to option Flaherty to Norfolk to allow him regular playing time while Casilla would remain in Baltimore, continuing to serve as the club’s utility infielder.

Casilla would have to give his permission to be optioned to the minors and is a speedy backup off the bench in late-inning situations as a pinch runner.

“We’ll spot [Roberts] here or there,” said Showalter, who added that the club has scenarios in which both Flaherty and Casilla remain on the 25-man roster as they were at the start of the season before Roberts’ injury. “[We view] Brian as the same way it was in the spring.”

Flaherty’s ability to play multiple infield positions as well as the corner outfield spots makes him more attractive as a bench piece should the Orioles want to keep him on the 25-man roster, but that would create a potential crunch once outfielder Nolan Reimold is expected to be activated from the DL sometime on the next road trip. That could push platoon DH Danny Valencia back to Norfolk.

For now, Reimold has extended his rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie — it can last up to 20 days but a player must approve it beyond 10 — though Showalter said he could rejoin the Orioles as early as the Chicago series next week. The 29-year-old is just 5-for-33 with 12 strikeouts in nine games with the Baysox.

“The good news is his leg feels really good,” Showalter said. “He’s not having any problems with the hamstring. It’s just getting comfortable at-bat wise.”

Veteran pitcher Freddy Garcia has elected to remain with the organization after weighing his options around the rest of the league over the last 72 hours. Technically, the 36-year-old opted out of his current contract, allowing the Orioles to sign him to a minor-league deal and assign him to Norfolk. This frees up a 40-man roster spot that will likely be used when Roberts is activated from the DL.

Showalter said the right-hander could be used in either a starting or relief role with the Tides, but it appears he will move into the Norfolk rotation for now.

“We were hoping he would [stay],” Showalter said. “It worked out good for both sides and presented some depth for us and we like the way Freddy’s handled himself professionally and pitching at times at both levels.”

The Orioles hadn’t named a starter for Friday’s game prior to the series finale against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night. Showalter acknowledged rookie Kevin Gausman had a light workday earlier this week to account for him not pitching in a game since last Wednesday when he was still with Norfolk, but the manager still wouldn’t give the official word Thursday afternoon.

Lefty long man T.J. McFarland has also remained an option to make the start in the series opener against the Yankees, but Showalter appeared to tip his hand in reference to most media and fans assuming that Gausman would get the ball before ultimately tabbing McFarland as the stater after Thursday’s game.

“You guys know who’s pitching tomorrow,” the manager said coyly at the end of his pre-game media session.

In five starts with the Orioles this season, Gausman is 0-3 with a 7.66 earned run average but fared very well against Detroit and Boston in two of his last three starts prior to being optioned to Norfolk due to needs in the bullpen. He was recalled on Monday to serve as a long man in the bullpen but wasn’t needed in the first three games of the Cleveland series.

Pitching prospect Dylan Bundy underwent Tommy John surgery in Florida at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, but Showalter hadn’t received an update when he spoke with reporters. The surgery was performed by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.

Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia was promoted from Bowie to Norfolk on Thursday, a day after being named to the MLB Futures Game at Citi Field during the All-Star break. He is hitting .365 with seven homers, 37 RBIs, and a .983 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) and his defense in the outfield is improving drastically, according to Showalter.

The 26-year-old hadn’t played competitive baseball over the last couple years as he defected from Cuba but was named an Eastern League All-Star as many within the organization think he could present himself as a real option for the major-league roster before season’s end.

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Orioles aiming to have Chen back prior to All-Star break

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Orioles aiming to have Chen back prior to All-Star break

Posted on 15 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen still has hurdles to clear in his recovery from a strained right oblique, but the hope is he will return to make at least a start or two prior to the All-Star break.

The left-hander threw off a full mound Saturday in Sarasota for the first time since the oblique injury occurred in a start against the Minnesota Twins on May 12. Chen threw 35 pitches without any reported discomfort or pain, according to manager Buck Showalter.

“We’ve kind of got his schedule mapped out now, so that’s good,” Showalter said. “I’m going to go over it with [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette] out on the field and hopefully we’ll proceed with that.”

The Orioles had planned to have Chen accompany them on this week’s road trip to Detroit and Toronto, but it appears they will at least have Chen pitch in a simulated game in Sarasota before he takes the next step of either rejoining the club for a bullpen session or two or beginning a minor-league rehab assignment.

Showalter has a step-by-step plan mapped out that culminates with Chen making his return to the mound for the Orioles, but he wants to play specifics close to the vest for now.

“I’ve got the date that if everything goes well that he’ll be pitching for us,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, if things go well, he can make a couple starts before the break, at least. But we’ve got to cross a lot of bridges here.”

Roberts inching closer to rehab assignment as Reimold starts his Tuesday

Injured second baseman Brian Roberts will travel with the Orioles on the next road trip to Detroit and likely Toronto as he continues to take batting practice and ground balls at second base.

Sidelined since April 4 with a right hamstring injury that required surgery in early May, Roberts could begin a minor-league rehab assignment as early as June 24 if everything goes smoothly. Completing a running progression to test his surgically-repaired hamstring has been the final major hurdle in determining when he can return to game action.

Showalter has liked seeing Roberts with the club to closely monitor the final stages of the recovery process after spending the better part of the last two months recovering in Sarasota.

“We all like Sarasota,” Showalter said. “It’s been great for the organization, but it’s not Baltimore and it’s not around your team and your teammates. I think that’s been good for him too.”

Former Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley will accompany Roberts on his minor-league rehab assignment that isn’t expected to last the full 20-day period a position player is allowed.

Crowley will also accompany outfielder Nolan Reimold when his rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie begins next week.

Showalter expects Reimold’s rehab assignment to be wrapped up prior to Roberts beginning his.

Hammel still under weather

Right-hander Jason Hammel was still under the weather dealing with a virus as the Orioles prepared for the third of a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

He has been instructed to stay away from Camden Yards in fear of him being contagious, but the Orioles hope to have him back at the ballpark on Sunday to more closely evaluate his status for Monday’s start in Detroit. Showalter remained optimistic that the 30-year-old will take the hill against the Tigers, but nothing is guaranteed until head athletic trainer Richie Bancells gets a better read on his condition Sunday.

“Right now, that’s a little bit of a challenge for us. We’ll see,” said Showalter, who revealed Hammel received some intravenous fluids on Friday. “Right now, I’m planning on him pitching Monday. Talking to Richie, until he gets his arms around it, [we won't know and] we’re not going to bring him in the locker room until he’s past that [contagious] stage.”

Machado in historic company

Third baseman Manny Machado continued a remarkable season on Friday night, clubbing two more doubles to give him a major-league-leading 30 in 68 games this year.

According to Elias, since 1900, the earliest any major league under 21 reached 30 doubles was 81 games by Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams in 1939. Machado’s 30 doubles in 68 games are the most by any player under age 22 since 1920, topping Williams’ 25 in 1939 and the 24 hit by Yankees Hall of Famer Joe Dimaggio in 1936.

Machado is on pace to hit 71 doubles this year, which would top the major league record of 67 set by Earl Webb for Boston in 1931. The franchise record for doubles is 56, set by Roberts in 2009.

Jacoby Jones and WWE

Ravens wide receiver and “Dancing With the Stars” third-place finisher Jacoby Jones threw out Saturday’s, but WWE chairman Vince McMahon may have been a more appropriate choice based on the atmosphere of the late-afternoon game.

It was the brainchild of center fielder Adam Jones, but the Orioles used professional wrestling theme songs for their walk-up music during Saturday’s game. Jones assigned a song to each player in the lineup as well as starter Freddy Garcia and the relievers in order to have some fun at the ballpark.

Among the themes heard during batting practice on Saturday were The Rock, The Big Show, Chris Jericho, Triple H, and D-Generation X. Jones promised a mix of some old-school themes as well and posed with a replica WWE title for the following photo prior to the game, courtesy of @PTisFLY on Twitter.

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Roberts returns to Baltimore for “homestretch” of recovery process

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Roberts returns to Baltimore for “homestretch” of recovery process

Posted on 10 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Injured second baseman Brian Roberts hadn’t been spotted in the Orioles clubhouse since early April when he was placed on the disabled list with a right hamstring injury, but the 35-year-old is glad to be home.

Even if he’s still a few weeks away from a potential return to major league action.

After rejoining the club during its three-game series against Tampa Bay over the weekend, Roberts has elected to continue his rehabilitation efforts in Baltimore after spending most of the last two months in Sarasota. The 35-year-old underwent surgery less than five weeks ago and described himself as being in the “home stretch” of the recovery process before going on a minor-league rehab assignment.

“It’s great to be back,” Roberts said. “You feel kind of isolated on an island down there. It is already good to be around the guys and feel like you are part of the team.”

Roberts has increased his activity level over the last couple weeks as he is taking batting practice, playing catch, and continuing to test his surgically-repaired hamstring as he works his way back to running at full speed. Roberts reiterated Monday what he said over the weekend about not anticipating a lengthy rehab assignment like the one he completed last year while returning from concussion-like symptoms.

Manager Buck Showalter seemed to agree with that assessment as long as Roberts felt he was ready, mentioning three to seven games as possible estimate. Meanwhile, Roberts is focused on testing the hamstring to make sure it’s 100 percent before he takes the next step of playing in minor-league games.

“Mainly the running progression,” Roberts said. “Just continuing to build up to where you can be explosive again [and] where you can cut, you can stop, you can backpedal. The running has really taken some good steps forward in the last couple of days and I’m hoping that is a sign we have reached the point where things can started moving a little quicker.”

Roberts hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in St. Petersburg on April 4 and is fully aware of the doubts expressed over his ability to remain healthy as the Orioles have struggled to find production at second base with the combination of Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla. The veteran infielder has played in just 118 games over the last four seasons combined.

For now, he’s happy to be back in a big-league environment while in the midst of the final year of a four-year, $40 million that obviously hasn’t worked out how either side had hoped.

“Nothing compares to being in this atmosphere,” Roberts said. “I don’t know how much longer I have left to be in it, and I want to be around it as much as possible.”

NOTES: Right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy began a throwing progression in Sarasota on Monday, completing 25 throws from 60 feet without experiencing any discomfort, according to Showalter. … Outfielder Nolan Reimold (hamstring) could be ready to go on a minor-league rehab assignment by the end of the current homestand. Showalter offered a similar range of games for Reimold as he spelled out for Roberts. … Left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will be summoned to Baltimore as soon as he’s ready to begin throwing off a mound, according to Showalter, which should be in the not-too-distant future barring any setbacks. …Casilla was not in the starting lineup after jamming his right index finger sliding into second base on Sunday. Showalter revealed that he likely would have started Casilla against the Angels after the utility infielder went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the series finale against the Rays.

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Chen making slow progress on road back from oblique injury

Posted on 28 May 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

WASHINGTON — As rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman was making his second major league start on Tuesday night, the Orioles continue to wait patiently on the recovery of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.

Chen was eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, but the Taiwanese southpaw has yet to pick up a baseball as he rehabs a strained right oblique injury in Sarasota. The 27-year-old exited his start in Minnesota on May 12 after throwing five shutout innings and was officially placed on the disabled list two days later.

Oblique injuries are problematic with a high rate of setbacks because it’s difficult for training staffs to determine whether the muscle has truly healed until the player begins throwing again. Manager Buck Showalter and Chen both expressed the need to be cautious to make sure the lefty is healthy for the duration of the season.

“There’s a little progress, but not anything big,” Showalter said. “Little by little. It’s so hard to handicap that, but he’s doing OK.”

Chen is 3-3 with a 3.04 earned run average in eight starts covering 47 1/3 innings this season and had been the club’s most consistent starter at the time of the injury.

In other injury-related news, second baseman Brian Roberts has begun hitting off a tee and is on schedule for the projected six-week recovery laid out after he underwent surgery on his right hamstring nearly three weeks ago.

“He’s on schedule,” Showalter said. “He started increasing his baseball activities, his tee work, and soft toss, and he felt fine. I know him, he wants it to happen tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s ‘if,’ it’s ‘when’ with Brian.”

Infielder Wilson Betemit has finally begun some baseball-related activity as he is now playing catch and could continue to increase his level of activity. He has been sidelined since March with a Grade 2/3 PCL tear in his right knee and originally expressed hope that he would return in eight weeks.

With the Orioles struggling to find production at the designated hitter spot for much of the season, Betemit would be an ideal option against right-handed pitching after batting .302 and posting an .859 on-base plus slugging percentage against right-handed hurlers last season.

“Wilson’s a little bit of a forgotten guy in this [lineup],” Showalter said. “He did a lot of good things for us last year and we’re looking forward to getting him back.”

Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden (left thumb) caught five innings in an extended spring game on Monday and could be ready to go on a minor-league rehab assignment within the next few days. He will catch once again on Wednesday after serving as the DH in Tuesday’s extended spring training contest.

Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop will get a second opinion on his lower back in California on Wednesday after executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette revealed last week that the 21-year-old is dealing with a stress fracture in his back. That type of injury would likely keep Schoop sidelined until after the All-Star break, according to the initial prognosis.

 

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Orioles second baseman Roberts to undergo right hamstring surgery

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Orioles second baseman Roberts to undergo right hamstring surgery

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The news wasn’t encouraging for Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts after seeking a second opinion on his right hamstring as he’ll undergo surgery and will be sidelined at least six more weeks.

Roberts visited knee specialist Dr. Daniel Cooper in Dallas on Wednesday morning as it was determined the 35-year-old would undergo a “semitendinosus release” procedure on Thursday. Roberts will eventually report to Sarasota to begin rehabilitation in hopes of making his return this summer.

Earlier this week, Roberts was taking light batting practice before complaining that the back of his right knee didn’t feel right, which prompted the infielder to see Dr. Cooper. He is the same doctor who cared for Rays third baseman Evan Longoria’s injured hamstring last year.

“If you look at all the scenarios and the way it’s transpired, this is the best chance for him to get back and not have an issue with it again,” said manager Buck Showalter, who added that Dr. Cooper was the specialist who handled his recent knee surgery. “A lot of experts think this can get you back and not have it reoccur again because it keeps the scar tissue from forming, which creates other issues. Full support of it and hopefully he’ll make the time period and be able to pick up where he left off and not have that in the back of his mind. I know what his goals are.”

Roberts has played in only three games this season as the original prognosis for a return was three to four weeks after he injured his knee sliding into second base on April 4 at Tropicana Field. The club has officially labeled the injury a right hamstring strain, but Roberts actually tore the tendon behind his knee.

This procedure will hopefully facilitate quicker healing for the veteran infielder, who has played in only 118 games over the last four seasons while dealing with various ailments. It is all but a certainty that Roberts will be transferred to the 60-day disabled list once a need arises to make a 40-man roster move.

“He’s very frustrated by it, as we are, but Brian Roberts is going to come back and make a contribution to this club this year,” Showalter said. “I’ve got a good feeling about that.”

The starting second baseman was sent to the 15-day DL on April 5 and has been replaced by a platoon of Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla.

The hamstring procedure will mark the third time in the last year Roberts has undergone surgery after dealing with a torn labrum in his hip last season and a sports hernia in the offseason. The longtime Oriole is in the final year of a four-year contract that is paying him $10 million this season.

Markakis serves as DH again

Never one to miss much playing time before a 2012 campaign marred by two freak injuries, right fielder Nick Markakis served as the designated hitter for the third time this season on Wednesday night.

You can imagine the stoic Markakis isn’t thrilled about serving in a limited capacity, but the 29-year-old expressed appreciation to Showalter, acknowledging that it will help keep him fresh over the course of a 162-game schedule. The Gold Glove right fielder served as the club’s DH only four times combined from 2010 through 2012.

“It’s different,” Markakis said. “You just have to stay loose, stay stretched and wait for your turn to hit. Haven’t done it too much, but it’s good. It gives me time off and a chance to get my feet back under me. It’s a different mindset, but it’s good every once in a while.”

Showalter told Markakis he would see more time in the role this season and the right fielder denied there was any physical challenge that’s limiting his time in the field. Little-used reserve Chris Dickerson started in right field in the second game of a three-game set with Kansas City.

Observers have noted that Markakis’ throwing arm hasn’t looked as strong this season, which could be a product of wear and tear as well as long-term effects of serving as a power pitcher in college. Upon selecting Markakis with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft, many talent evaluators suggested the Orioles should make Markakis a pitcher at the professional level after he played in the outfield and pitched for Young Harris College.

“It’s tough to go out there and play every day, especially for a long time over years,” Markakis said. “This is good every once in a while. There is a lot of running in the outfield. To not have to worry about defense and just focus on offense, it gives you mentally a break as well as physically.”

Guesswork with Gonzalez

Right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez will throw a bullpen session on Thursday to test out the healing blister on his right thumb and determine whether he can make Saturday’s start in Minnesota.

Both Gonzalez and Showalter have admitted there will be a certain amount of guesswork in determine whether he will take the hill against the Twins or whether he will be skipped in favor of someone else. He will throw with a bandage covering the area to protect it while going through his workday, but Showalter acknowledged they won’t fully know whether he’s OK until he’s pitching without the added protection.

Gonzalez feels confident that his four-seam fastball won’t be an issue, but he expressed some hesitation whether his two-seam and off-speed grips will impact the healing area.

Depending on how the next few games go, Showalter could elect to make Saturday a bullpen day should Gonzalez need additional time before his next start or the club could dip to Triple-A Norfolk where Steve Johnson would be pitching on normal rest on Saturday.

The club will receive a break with the rotation headaches next week as Monday and Thursday are scheduled days off and will allow Showalter to reset his bullpen in a way he’d like while managing Gonzalez’s blister even more if necessary.

Betemit progressing slowly

Veteran switch-hitter Wilson Betemit continues to make progress in recovering from a Grade 2/3 PCL tear but hasn’t been cleared for baseball-related activities.

The 31-year-old is eligible to return from the 60-day DL at the end of the month, but Showalter acknowledged that would likely be a stretch at this point.

The Orioles would benefit from Betemit’s bat in the lineup against right-handed pitching as their DH position is hitting just .145 with three home runs and nine RBIs this season.

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Roberts to see knee specialist after slow recovery

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Roberts to see knee specialist after slow recovery

Posted on 07 May 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Taking light batting practice in Sarasota was supposed to be an important step in the return of Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, but it instead created more uncertainty regarding his status moving forward.

Complaining that the back of his knee didn’t feel right as he attempted to take swings, the 35-year-old infielder will see knee specialist Dr. Daniel Cooper in Dallas to get a second opinion on his recovery from a torn tendon suffered behind his right knee. Dr. Cooper is the same specialist who cared for Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria when the All-Star infielder suffered a hamstring injury last season.

“He started taking some batting practice and just didn’t like the way it felt,” said manager Buck Showalter, who supported Roberts’ request for a second opinion. “He said he wasn’t expecting that with the progression that we’ve done, and I think he’s just a little frustrated that it hasn’t come faster.”

The original prognosis for a return was three to four weeks after Roberts injured his knee sliding into second base on April 4 at Tropicana Field. The club has officially labeled the injury a right hamstring strain, but Roberts actually tore the tendon behind his knee.

In Roberts’ absence, the club has used a second-base platoon of Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla that’s provided little offensive production as Flaherty is hitting just .125 and Casilla is sitting at .200. After previously hesitating to place Roberts on the 60-day disabled list, which would officially keep him off the big-league roster until early June, it now appears the Orioles wouldn’t hesitate to make the move should a roster need arise elsewhere.

The new development also makes you wonder if executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will look more carefully outside the organization for help at second base, but Showalter is publicly remaining optimistic until Dr. Cooper provides answers that might suggest otherwise in regards to Roberts being a likely candidate for the 60-day DL.

“No more than he was before,” Showalter said. “I’m not looking at it that way. I’m still holding out hope that this will get going. I like the fact that we don’t have a need for it yet.”

Wait-and-see mode with Gonzalez

The Orioles won’t know when right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez will make his next start until he completes his bullpen day on Thursday to determine how well the blister on his right thumb has healed.

Gonzalez will cover the area with a bandage during his workday, but the pitcher isn’t allowed to wear as much as a Band-Aid on his finger when throwing in a game. The earlier Gonzalez would be ready to pitch is likely Saturday with his bullpen day falling on the final day of the Kansas City series.

Showalter isn’t ruling out the possibility of Gonzalez being skipped in the rotation entirely if the blister continues to be an issue.

“It’s getting better,” Showalter said. “It’s a blister underneath a callous. It’s kind of good in a way that it broke, tore off — whatever you want to say — so we’ve gotten all the way down to the bottom. Now, it’s a matter of getting [it] calloused over.”

Thursday would have been Gonzalez’s normal turn in the starting rotation, but veteran Freddy Garcia will instead take the hill against former Orioles Jeremy Guthrie in the series finale against the Royals.

Odds & ends

Shortstop J.J. Hardy received an injection in his right elbow from Dr. Lewis Yocum in Anaheim over the weekend for a case of mild tennis elbow, according to Showalter. It is not considered a big deal. … Starter Jason Hammel picked up his fifth win on Sunday to begin the year 5-1. According to Elias, with a win in his next decision, Hammel will become the first Orioles pitcher to go 6-1 or better to start consecutive seasons since Mike Boddicker, who started 6-1 in 1985 and 10-1 in 1986. … The Orioles have made just one error in the last 10 games and three in the last 17 games. … The Orioles (0-for-9) and Royals (1-for-10) are batting a combined .053 as pinch-hitters. … Baltimore has eight players with three or more home runs, the most for any American League team. Cleveland and Oakland are tied for second with six each. The Chicago Cubs lead the majors with nine players having three or more homers.

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Roberts still not back to baseball activity; Orioles-Rays lineups

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed what was already assumed on Tuesday that second baseman Brian Roberts will not be activated from the 15-day disabled list when he becomes eligible on Saturday.

In Sarasota since last week, the 35-year-old is improving in his recovery from what the club has labeled a hamstring strain. Roberts tore a tendon behind his right knee in the third game of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays and has yet to resume baseball-related activities.

With Roberts shelved, 26-year-old Ryan Flaherty has handled the bulk of the work at second base, going 2-for-24 with one home run in seven games. Utility infielder Alexi Casilla has gone 3-for-11 when given his opportunities at the position.

In other injury-related news, pitchers Steve Johnson and Tsuyoshi Wada are each scheduled to throw in Sarasota on Thursday. If all goes well, Johnson could be sent on a minor-league rehab assignment as he moves closer to a return from the back injury he’s dealt with since March.

With Tuesday’s starter Jake Arrieta off to a poor start in his first two outings, the Orioles will be watching Johnson’s status closely as he could find an opportunity in the back end of the starting rotation sooner rather than later. Showalter expressed his wish that Arrieta simply provide the club a chance to win whenever he takes the hill, but the 27-year-old appears to be on a short leash already after allowing eight earned runs and six walks in his first two starts covering 10 innings.

“It doesn’t always follow a script like I’ve said too many times,” Showalter said. “Last year started out great [for him] and then had some challenges. Hopefully, he’ll get a little better each time out and give us a chance to win every time he takes the hill. We’re kind of living in the moment when he’s concerned. All of our pitchers are.”

Showalter expressed a desire for Arrieta to pitch deeper into games as he completed only five innings against Minnesota in the home opener and left last week’s start at Fenway that lasted five innings before a 43-minute rain delay ended his evening prematurely.

Here are Tuesday night’s lineups…

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

RHP Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.08 ERA)

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

RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 7.20 ERA)

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

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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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Infielder Navarro takes Roberts’ place on 25-man roster

Posted on 05 April 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Friday that they have recalled infielder Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Norfolk and placed infielder Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain.

Navarro, 25, was acquired from Pittsburgh on November 30, 2012 in exchange for minor league RHP JHONDANIEL MEDINA. He batted .276/.417/.379 in 29 spring training at-bats for the Orioles after hitting .279/.366/.491 in 66 games with Triple-A Indianapolis last season and going 8-for-50 with the Pirates. He will wear #54.

Roberts, 35, went 5-for-12 with a double, run scored, RBI and stolen base in the first three games of the season.

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Orioles remaining optimistic despite Roberts’ trip to DL

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Orioles remaining optimistic despite Roberts’ trip to DL

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Opening their 60th season in Baltimore on Friday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles were hoping for the best for second baseman Brian Roberts as he underwent an MRI earlier in the morning.

Manager Buck Showalter remained optimistic in his pre-game press conference, but the Orioles summoned infielder Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Norfolk with Roberts heading to the 15-day disabled list. Ryan Flaherty will start in Roberts’ place at second base in the home opener and newcomer Alexi Casilla will also be counted on to fill in for the 35-year-old infielder.

It was learned after the presser that Roberts ruptured a tendon in the back of his knee, an injury that will likely keep him out for two to four weeks. The good news is the injury won’t require surgery and it’s a tendon typically used for ACL repairs, making it inconsequential in the long run.

“Just because things are delayed doesn’t mean they’re denied,” said Showalter about Roberts’ injury that will likely send him to the DL. “It’s something that, regardless of what [the result] says, it will heal and he will play for us again.”

Right-handed pitcher Chris Tillman will be activated from the DL to make Saturday’s start, so the Orioles could have elected to wait a day with Roberts and go with a short bench instead while avoiding the need to make an additional move. Moving Roberts to the DL now means another one is coming on Saturday.

Tillman declared himself ready to go and will not have any limitations as he makes his first start of the year after dealing with abdominal soreness.

Right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta will make the start in the home opener for the third straight season, but Showalter downplayed Arrieta’s strong spring that resulted in him winning the final spot in the rotation and the exceptional start he made last year against the Twins to begin the season.

“Minnesota answers those questions. His next start, those guys will answer those questions,” Showalter said. “It’s something that you like seeing him do well [in the spring] and he did well at it, but just because he had a good start last Opening Day at home doesn’t mean it’s going to carry over.”

Here are Friday’s lineups…

MINNESOTA
CF Aaron Hicks
DH Joe Mauer
LF Josh Willingham
1B Dustin Morneau
C Ryan Doumit
3B Trevor Plouffe
RF Chris Parmalee
2B Brian Dozier
SS Eduardo Escobar

SP Liam Hendriks (2012 stats: 1-8, 5.59 ERA)

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

SP Jake Arrieta (2012 stats: 3-9, 6.20 ERA)

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