Tag Archive | "Cesar Izturis"

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Live from Camden Yards: Buck speaks as O’s begin 10 game homestand

Posted on 05 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

BALTIMORE – The Orioles begin a 10 game homestand Friday night with the first three contests coming against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tommy Hunter, acquired from Texas in the Koji Uehara trade, will be making his first start as a member of the Orioles.

Prior to the game, Buck Showalter met with the media and shared many interesting tidbits.

On Cesar Izturis coming off the DL: “It’s been a long road for Izzy. I’m proud of him to get back. Happy to get him back, as much as a person as a player. He’s ready to go. We’ll move him around a little bit.”

On the J.J. Hardy injury front: “J.J.’s got an upper ankle that’s bothering him. In fact it feels pretty good today. It’s kind of strange because he’ll go through periods when he doesn’t feel it at all early on in the day, and then the game starts and it got a little worse last night as the game went on. He can’t tell any one play or anything he did where he felt it. It just got a little progressively worse. We kind of lose sight that the doctors have other patients as important as our guys. So Dr. Wilkins will be here shortly, and he’s had a full day here to look at J.J. I would imagine we’ll get an MRI done tomorrow morning.”

On Arrieta’s elbow concerns: “He has an appointment on the 10th (of August). He won’t be pitching between now and the 10th. A lot depends on what Dr. Yocum says.”

On Tillman getting an extended look in rotation. “I hope so. I hope so. I hope he pitches well enough to do that. If he could put together (a start) like the first couple innings that he had, that would be there. It’s there for him if he’ll seize the opportunity. Very much like Simon.”

On being surprised at Mark Connor’s decision to return to the Texas Rangers organization: “No. Not at all. He’s very well thought of over there, and that job description fits him very well where he is in his life. He’s very familiar with all the pitching people, and they with him. It didn’t surprise me at all. I know they had called Andy about it.”

On that note, here are tonight’s lineups:


SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF: Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
3B: Mark Reynolds
C: Matt Wieters
1B: Chris Davis
LF: Nolan Reimold
2B: Cesar Izturis

SP: Tommy Hunter


SS: Yunel Escobar
LF: Eric Thames
RF: Jose Bautista
1B: Adam Lind
DH: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
2B: Aaron Hill
C: J.P. Arencibia
3B: Brett Lawrie

SP: Brad Mills

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Orioles’ concerns growing over Scott’s injured shoulder

Posted on 19 July 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Despite completing two rehab starts for Double-A Bowie, outfielder/designated hitter Luke Scott will not be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday as was previously hoped.

And judging from comments made by the left-handed slugger and manager Buck Showalter, surgery on Scott’s torn labrum in his right shoulder appears more and more likely. Despite nearly two weeks of rest in which he didn’t swing a bat or lift any weights, Scott did not appear to be encouraged with the health of his shoulder, claiming “it is what it is.” Scott told Showalter the shoulder is at 70 percent right now.

The tentative plan is for Scott to take a day or two to rest before potentially playing in a couple more minor league rehab games.

“It’s just been a challenge to deal with,” Scott said. “I took 13 days completely off, not doing anything, and it’s only just two days of rehab at-bats. I’m trying to build it up some more. … If I’m not 100-percent ready or if I’m not in a position where I’m really going to step in and help the team, I need to take the necessary means to get to that point.”

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Showalter said the decision for Scott to either undergo surgery or shut down the shoulder for a rehabilitation program will ultimately be up to the player. However, the Orioles manager also mentioned the timetable for recovery is getting tight for Scott to be ready for the start of next season if he elects to rehab the injury like Jason Berken did last season.

Whatever the route Scott ultimately chooses — surgery or a rehabilitation program — it’s appearing more likely that his playing days are numbered in 2011. With Scott making $6.4 million this season and facing arbitration (eligible for free agency following the 2012 season), the wise choice would be to take care of the injured shoulder sooner rather than later.

In other news, the Orioles have activated Alfredo Simon from the restricted list, and he is scheduled to make Friday’s start as previously hoped. Third baseman Josh Bell has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after a one-day stay in Baltimore, and Brian Roberts has been shifted to the 60-day disabled list to clear a 40-man roster spot for the returning Simon.

The Orioles also completed a minor-league trade, sending veteran infielder Nick Green and cash considerations to the Texas Rangers for left-handed relief pitcher Zach Phillips. Showalter received a favorable report from pitching coach Rick Adair and former pitching coach Mark Connor regarding the 24-year-old, who had a 4.43 earned run average in 33 appeances for Triple-A Round Rock.

Oft-injured minor league pitcher Chorye Spoone has been designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Phillips.

Infielder Cesar Izturis is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Friday as he moves closer to returning to the Orioles.

And everybody’s favorite starting pitcher, Justin Duchscherer, has received a recommendation from the doctor who performed his previous hip surgery to undergo another procedure.

To hear more from Showalter and Scott, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Morning Reaction Orioles Midseason Report Card

Posted on 06 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Orioles are now two games into the second half of the 2011 season. On Wednesday’s edition of “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, Drew Forrester and I gave our grades for Orioles players during the first half of the season.



Matt Wieters-Glenn Clark B+, Drew Forrester B
Jake Fox-Glenn D, Drew D
Craig Tatum-Glenn C-, Drew B



Derrek Lee-Glenn D+, Drew D
Brian Roberts-Glenn D, Drew D
JJ Hardy-Glenn A-, Drew A
Mark Reynolds-Glenn B-, Drew C-
Robert Andino-Glenn C+, Drew C
Blake Davis-Glenn C, Drew B-
Cesar Izturis-Glenn D, Drew D
Ryan Adams-Glenn C, Drew D
Brandon Snyder-Glenn C-, Drew C-



Luke Scott-Glenn D, Drew D
Adam Jones-Glenn B-, Drew B+
Nick Markakis-Glenn B-, Drew C-
Nolan Reimold-Glenn C+, Drew C-
Felix Pie-Glenn F, Drew D-
Vladimir Guerrero-Glenn D+, Drew D+



Jeremy Guthrie-Glenn C+, Drew C+
Jake Arrieta-Glenn B-, Drew C
Zach Britton-Glenn B, Drew B
Brian Matusz-Glenn D, Drew F
Chris Tillman-Glenn D, Drew D
Brad Bergesen-Glenn D+, Drew C-
Chris Jakubauskas-Glenn C-, Drew D



Koji Uehara-Glenn B, Drew B+
Jim Johnson-Glenn B+, Drew B-
Pedro Viola-Glenn C, Drew C
Kevin Gregg-Glenn C-, Drew C+
Alfredo Simon-Glenn C-, Drew C-
Jeremy Accardo-Glenn D, Drew D
Mike Gonzalez-Glenn D, Drew D
Josh Rupe-Glenn D, Drew D
Jason Berken-Glenn C, Drew C-
Clay Rapada-Glenn D-, Drew B-
Troy Patton-Glenn D, Drew F



Buck Showalter-Glenn C-, Drew B+

If you missed the breakdown of our midseason grades on Wednesday’s edition of “The Morning Reaction”, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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Brandon Snyder

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O’s former 1st round pick Brandon Snyder: “Any day you can get a chance to spend in the big leagues is a good day”

Posted on 07 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

On a night where all the buzz has been the selection of high school pitcher Dylan Bundy by the Orioles with their first pick in the 2011 MLB draft, another former first-round pick by Baltimore is still looking for his chance to prove he belongs in the big leagues.

Brandon Snyder

That of course is Norfolk Tides first baseman Brandon Snyder, who joined Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Monday morning to talk about his ever-continuing journey toward panning out as an Oriole and becoming one on a permanent basis.

Snyder-the O’s first round pick in the 2005 Draft out of Westfield High-did get a the call-up several weeks ago when the team was in need of position players with several of their starters hurting.

After hitting .276 with five home runs and 16 RBIs for the Tides in 35 games in 2011, Snyder was recalled to the Orioles on May 18th when shortstop Cesar Izturis was placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury.

And combined with an injury to first baseman Derrek Lee when he joined the club, he thought that he might be able to make an impact on manager Buck Showalter and the O’s front office with a lot of playing time.

It was a situation he was really looking forward to and he felt like he was never more ready than he was to show what he could do and that his time was now.

“I feel real comfortable in that atmosphere,” Snyder told Forrester. “I don’t feel like I’m over-matched at all…any day you can get a chance to spend in the big leagues is a good day.”

However, he only saw action in five games only getting twelve plate appearances. He went 2-for-9 at the plate, with the two hits coming in Baltimore’s 8-3 victory over the Nationals on Saturday, May 21st.

The victory and his performance at the plate did take some of the focus off his critical error that allowed two Nationals to score.

It was a play that Snyder felt ashamed of considering how much he considers defense a facet of his game.

“I take a lot of pride in my defense,” Snyder told Forrester. “Obviously on that stage if you make one mistake, people are going to look at that and say, ‘he’s not very good defensively’. But I really feel like I’m a very good defensive first baseman.”

“And I trust that…and I don’t think that is going to be an issue at all.”

But clearly the team felt like there still was things he needed to iron out, and when the team felt like they needed catcher Craig Tatum as the full-time backup to Matt Wieters, Snyder was told he had to wait for his opportunity yet again-getting sent back down to the Tides on May 27th-more than a week after his call-up.

While the move frustrated him, he took the demotion respectably and said he understands that it’s tough to evaluate a ballplayer based on only a handful of looks.

“It’s kind of hard to get a feel for anything when you’re not getting as much action as you might like,” Snyder said. “Hopefully the next time it is a little bit longer.”

And while most players would take a five-game look as a sign of disrespect and let that down, Snyder is confident that he’ll be back up with the Orioles yet again.

But he told Forrester he’s not worried about it…his focus will remain in whatever town he is located in-whether it’s Baltimore or Norfolk.

“You and I have talked before about it before…whereas you start taking your mind elsewhere and start trying to worry about things not under your control…that’s where you get yourself in trouble. So, I’m just trying to finish up here, have a good season and whatever happens, happens.”

And given his pace since returning to Norfolk, including three home runs and nine RBIs in as many games back with the Tides, he could definitely be getting another call-up up I-95 real soon.

And Snyder hopes that Buck Showalter and the O’s front office continue to have the patience and trust in the former first round pick who many have said the team made a mistake in drafting.

“It’s obviously good to be able to come through an organization that has invested money into you and for fans that have invested time,” Snyder said, “and I guess you could say time and patience for me. I obviously have a lot of critics and it’s not something that I have ever really worried about, but I have also been able to have a lot of great fans.”

Snyder continued, saying that’s who he’s doing this for. He’s trying for the Baltimore Orioles community as a whole, not for his own personal gains.

“To be able to get there for them and to help a ball club that needs something…and to try and be a piece of that puzzle is a lot of  fun.”

WNST thanks Brandon Snyder for joining “The Morning Reaction” Be sure to follow him on Twitter @SnydRoast29 and check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault for the conversation! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Orioles place Izturis on DL, recall Snyder from Norfolk

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — A little more than an hour before the start of a brief two-game series with the New York Yankees, the Orioles placed utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the 15-day disabled list due to a right elbow ulnar nerve injury.

The move is retroactive to May 13.

In Izturis’ place, first baseman Brandon Snyder has been summoned from Triple-A Norfolk. Snyder was hitting .276 with five home runs, 16 runs batted in, and a .798 OPS in 35 games for the Tides. He will wear No. 29 with the Orioles.

With the offseason acquisition of shortstop J.J. Hardy, Izturis was re-signed in the winter but relegated to a utility role after being the starting shortstop for two seasons in Baltimore. The 31-year-old is batting .192 with four runs scored in only 26 at-bats in 16 games this season.

First baseman Derrek Lee was out of Wednesday’s starting lineup with a strained left oblique, but the Orioles have chosen to wait to see how he responds to rest and treatment before placing him on the disabled list.

Second baseman Brian Roberts was also absent from the start of Wednesday’s game as he continues to deal with headaches dating back to Monday night’s game in Boston.

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Live from Camden Yards: Injuries shuffle lineup as Orioles host Yankees, Orange Crush chat at 7

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as rookie star Zach Britton and the Orioles begin a brief two-game set with the New York Yankees**

BALTIMORE — As if an 0-4 start in the season series against the New York Yankees wasn’t enough, the Orioles return home with a plethora of injury issues as they try to secure their first win against the Bronx Bombers at 7:05 p.m.

Leadoff hitter Brian Roberts and first baseman Derrek Lee are missing from tonight’s lineup as neither veteran escaped Boston without ailment. Roberts is suffering from headaches after diving into first base during Monday’s 8-7 collapse at Fenway Park in which the Orioles blew a 6-0 lead. Of course, Roberts dealt with headaches and concussion-related symptoms to close 2010 that failed to subside until the middle of the offseason.

Robert Andino will take his place at second base and hit ninth against Bartolo Colon and the Yankees.

Lee (oblique) may be placed on the 15-day disabled list, but manager Buck Showalter said before the game that the club may choose to wait a few days before making a decision. Luke Scott will slide from left field to first base, with Felix Pie taking his place in the outfield and hitting leadoff for the Orioles. Left-handed reliever Troy Patton is in Baltimore if and when Lee heads to the disabled list.

In a move anticipated before Tuesday’s postponed game against the Red Sox, the Orioles have officially placed utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow ulnar nerve injury. First baseman Brandon Snyder has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Izturis’ place on the 25-man roster.

In other news, pitcher Alfredo Simon is expected to be activated from the restricted list on Sunday and will likely pitch in a long relief role with the return of left-hander Brian Matusz right around the corner. Matusz is slated to make a second rehab start in Bowie on Saturday.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

New York
DH Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodgriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
LF Andruw Jones
SS Eduardo Nunez
C Francisco Cervelli

SP Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.74 ERA)

LF Felix Pie
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Vladimir Guerrero
1B Luke Scott
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Mark Reynolds
2B Robert Andino

SP Zach Britton (5-2, 2.42 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Twins April 18th- April 21st

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Orioles Series Preview: Home vs. Twins April 18th- April 21st

Posted on 18 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-8) head home Monday for a 4-game set against the Minnesota Twins (5-10).

Both ball clubs are limping into this series as the Birds have dropped 7 straight and the Twins are 2-6 in their last 8 games.

The Orioles seemed to unwind in Cleveland as they were swept by the Tribe, possibly having a hang-over effect from last Thursday night’s heart breaker against the Yankees in extra innings. Being outscored 20-7 during the weekend versus the Indians, the O’s look to thump the Twins and get back on their winning ways.

Joe Mauer, Minnesota’s all-star catcher, went on the 15-day DL last Thursday with what is described as a  “bilateral leg weakness”. It is the same left leg in which he had arthroscopic surgery last season. Manager Ron Gardenhire had significantly reduced his playing time during spring training to avoid this very situation.

Justin Morneau is day-to-day with what the Twins are describing as flu-like symptoms.

The Orioles are also prone to make another roster move Monday as RHP Chris Jakubauskas will head to the DL and LHP Clay Rapada will be promoted from AAA-Norfolk to join Mike Gonzalez as the only two left handed pitchers in the bullpen.

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

Posted on 15 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-5) travel to the ‘The Forest City’ and face the Cleveland Indians (8-4) Friday for a 3-game weekend series.

After a disappointing loss to the Bronx Bombers in extra innings Thursday night, the Orioles have to re-group and focus on the next opponent. This should be a test for the Birds and Buck Showalter to see how they rebound from a crushing 2-game set in New York.  

Welcome to the AL East.

Now the Birds will be challenged day-in and day-out for the rest of April taking on the red-hot Cleveland team this weekend and up-coming series-sets at home against the Twins, Yankees, Red Sox and away versus the White Sox to round out the month.

On the other hand, Manny Acta’s ball club has shocked the league so far by jumping out to an early lead in the AL Central, already compiling a 7-game win streak. The Tribe are led by the arms of Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA), Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA), & Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA), all of whom are scheduled to start against the O’s this weekend.

Due to the unconvenient weather during the O’s and Yankee’s series, decisions have been made to include the first ‘WNST Weather Predictor’. This will give fans, who live in Cleveland or plan on traveling there to dress accordingly.

Friday: Partly Cloudy- High 59, Low 48 – Chance of Cesar Izturis hitting a HR 30%.

Saturday: Rain/Thunder/Wind- High 55, Low 41 – Moderately to heavy K’s for Jeremy Guthrie.

Sunday: Partly Cloudy- High 54, Low 45 – Sunshine breaking through in the afternoon cause Buck Showalter called for it.

(6 -5 )                                                                                  (8 – 4)


Friday, April 15th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Zach Britton (2-0, 0.66 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA)


Saturday, April 16th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Jeremy Guthrie (1-1, 0.64 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA)


Sunday, April 17th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Brad Bergesen (0-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA)



Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

.213 AVG / 1 2B / 3 HR / 10 RBIs

2. Nick Markakis- RF

.268 AVG / 2 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

.195 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 2 RBIs

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

.283 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

5. Luke Scott- LF

.211 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

6. Adam Jones- CF

.195 AVG / 0 2B / 2 HR / 5 RBIs

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

.250 AVG / 5 2B / 1 HR / 9 RBIs

8. Matt Wieters- C

.212 AVG / 2 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

9. Cesar Izturis- SS

.300 AVG / 0 2B / 0 HR / 1 RBIs

Cleveland Indians Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Michael Brantley- CF

.311 AVG / 4 2B / 0 HR / 6 RBIs

2. Asdrubal Cabrera- SS

.286 AVG / 2 2B / 4 HR / 10 RBIs

3. Shin-Soo Choo- RF

.200 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

4. Carlos Santana- C

.205 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 6 RBIs

5. Travis Hafner- DH

.282 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

6. Orlando Cabrera- 2B

.295 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 7 RBIs

7. Travis Buck- LF

.136 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

8. Matt LaPorta- 1B

.189 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

9. Jack Hannahan- 3B

.235 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs






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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Yankees April 12th- April 14th

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Yankees April 12th- April 14th

Posted on 11 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-3) battle against the New York Yankees (5-4) in a 3-games series beginning Tuesday.

These two teams have not a played a meaningful series in New York (in the Orioles eyes)… well… since This tragic moment in Baltimore history.

With the first full week of the MLB season in the books, it is still premature to make predictions, but the Orioles have impressed many around the league and may even break the 13-year consecutive losing seasons this year (who said it was too early to make predictions). Oh yeah, here is one more prediction… This ‘Already’ retired player will be the next to be linked to steroids… can’t you tell!!!

The Birds enter the mid-week series atop of the AL East, and the Pinstripes in second place. But with superb outings by their young starting pitching, timely hitting, and strong defense, it is no coincidence that the O’s have an early 1-game lead.

RHP Chris Jakubauskas joined the Orioles 25-man roster as the club sent RHP Brad Bergesen down to AAA-Norfolk Saturday. Jakubauskas is in the running to make his first 2011 start this Wednesday against the Bronx Bombers. He made only one start in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and went 6-7, with a 5.32 ERA in 35 games for the Seattle Mariners during the 2009 campaign.

SS J.J. Hardy is inevitably heading to the 15-day DL, mostly likely early Tuesday, with a strained left oblique, leaving INF Cesar Izturis and INF Robert Andino to hold down the position during his absence. Buck Showalter has said that the two will split time until Hardy returns. The club plans on bringing up another pitcher to fill the roster spot left by Hardy, many are speculating that RHP Brad Bergesen, who was just sent down to AAA-Norfolk, is the choice and the front-runner to start Wednesday’s contest.

(6-3)                                                                              (5-4)



Tuesday, April 12th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (2-0, 4.09 ERA)


 Wednesday, April 13th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Chris Jakubauskas (0-0, 15.00 ERA) or Brad Bergesen (0-1, 4.91 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (0-1, 16.50 ERA)


 Thursday, April 14th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Yankees- Yankee Stadium

Jake Arrieta (1-1, 8.68 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10 ERA)



Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

.189 AVG. / 1 2B / 2 HRS / 8 RBIS

2. Nick Markakis- RF

.250 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 3 RBIS

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

.219 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 2 RBIS

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

.270 AVG. / 1 2B / 1 HRS / 3 RBIS

5. Luke Scott- LF

.167 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 0 RBIS

6. Adam Jones- CF

.212 AVG. / 0 2B / 2 HRS / 5 RBIS

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

.241 AVG. / 3 2B / 1 HRS / 8 RBIS

8. Matt Wieters- C

.192 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

9. Cesar Izturis- SS

.167 AVG. / 0 2B / 0 HRS / 1 RBIS



New York Yankees Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brett Gardner- LF

.167 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

2. Derek Jeter- SS

. 206 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 2 RBIS

3. Mark Teixeira- 1B

. 182 AVG. / 0 2B / 4 HRS / 10 RBIS

4. Alex Rodriguez- 3B

.321 AVG. / 2 2B / 3 HRS / 5 RBIS

5. Robinson Cano- 2B

.324 AVG. / 4 2B / 2 HRS / 5 RBIS

6. Nick Swisher- RF

.219 AVG. / 1 2B / 0 HRS / 6 RBIS

7. Curtis Granderson- CF

.172 AVG. / 1 2B / 2 HRS / 3 RBIS

8. Jorge Posada- DH

.138 AVG. / 0 2B / 3 HRS / 6 RBIS

9. Russell Martin- C

.300 AVG. / 1 2B / 3 HRS / 8 RBIS




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Orioles bats fall silent in series loss to Rangers

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles lineup started off with a bang against the Texas Rangers over the weekend, plating five runs in the first three innings of rookie Zach Britton’s masterful performance in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday, but quickly dissolved after that.

Adam Jones’ solo home run in the second inning of Saturday’s nightcap was the only run scored in the final 23 innings in the series loss to Texas as the Orioles fell 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

The Orioles entered Sunday afternoon’s game tied for 10th in the American League in batting average (.220), 11th in on-base percentage (.281), and 10th in extra-base hits.

“I can speak for myself and Brian [Roberts] at the top of the order, I think we need to do a little better job getting on base,” right fielder Nick Markakis said. “We’ve been facing some tough pitching. Other than that, I think we’re pretty pleased with our record right now considering the way we’ve been swinging the bats, which says a lot about our pitching. We’ll get the bats going.”

Considering the offense was considered the team’s strength entering the season, it makes the Orioles’ 6-3 start that much more remarkable. However, the Baltimore bats will need to heat up this week as the Orioles head to the Bronx to take on the powerful Yankees for a three-game set.

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Texas starters Matt Harrison and Derek Holland combined to hold the Orioles to one run over 13 innings of work in the final two games while the Rangers bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings over the three-game series.

“You face good pitching, that’s usually what tends to happen,” said left fielder Luke Scott, who flied out to center as a pinch-hitter representing the tying run in the eighth. “When that happens, you just tip your cap. You look at your at-bats as, ‘Did we give at-bats away against tough pitching?’ And no, we didn’t. We battled, and when guys needed to make a good pitch for the other team, they made good pitches.”

Gutsy Guthrie

It’s been an unbelievable nine-day stretch for Jeremy Guthrie. The veteran pitcher started with a masterful eight-inning performance on Opening Day, spent two nights in the hospital earlier in the week, and finally returned to the mound at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for his first home start of the year on Sunday.

Despite feeling deprived of his normal energy while still recovering from a bout of pneumonia, Guthrie gave the Orioles six innings against the Rangers, allowing one run on four hits. His fastball sat in the 91-92 mph range for most of the afternoon, but the 32-year-old was unable to reach back for something extra on several different occasions.

“It was a battle the entire time,” Guthrie said. “Was fighting, trying to make better pitches and didn’t always do that. I was fortunate a lot on some of the outs that they didn’t hit it a lot further than they did.”

Despite several screaming outs in his six innings of work, the lone scoring blemish came in the fourth inning when Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre homered into left-center to give Texas a 1-0 lead. Guthrie gave way after 84 pitches after feeling fatigued for much of the afternoon.

“I thought he gave us everything he had,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He was running out of gas there at the end. I was watching him when he backed up third on a fly ball for the last out. Gutty effort. [He] gave us a chance to win and you’ve got to have that with the pitching they run out there.”

The effort, however, was wasted as the Orioles couldn’t generate a single run of support as Guthrie fell to 1-1 on the season. He will next pitch on Saturday in Cleveland, with Monday’s off day providing an extra day of rest for the recovering pitcher.

“He threw great,” Markakis said. “You can’t ask for anything more from him. We couldn’t put up any runs for him, which as hitters is tough.”

Fox-hole at catcher

Spring training star Jake Fox made his second straight start on Sunday, but it came with the unconventional transition from catcher one night to left field the next. Showalter wants to get Fox’s bat in the lineup, but it poses a difficult problem when Matt Wieters is starting at catcher.

With no other backup catcher on the roster, the Orioles are left with a dangerous proposition when Fox is playing elsewhere in the field. In the unlikely scenario in which one of the two would be substituted and the other would have to leave the game, the Orioles would find themselves looking at another player on the roster as an emergency catcher.

Who it might be is anyone’s guess, including Showalter’s.

“[The emergency catcher] may not know it yet,” the manager quipped. “At one point, it was going to be [current Triple-A pitcher Rick] VandenHurk. That’d have been really tough. Take him out of the game pitching, put him behind the plate. Vandy was a catcher for three years, two years.”

Showalter pointed to the Detroit Tigers’ handling of Victor Martinez and Alex Avila as a similar situation. Ironically, the Orioles expressed interest in Martinez before the free-agent catcher signed with Detroit.

The Orioles found themselves without a backup to Wieters on Sunday when Scott hit for Fox in the bottom of the eighth when Texas closer Neftali Feliz entered the game with two men on base and a 3-0 lead.

“No, we’ve talked about that [emergency situation],” Showalter said. “It’s something we’ve got to be careful with.”

Fox’s struggles behind the plate continued Saturday night after allowing two stolen bases and catching a disastrous outing for Jake Arrieta, after which Showalter questioned the sequencing of pitches. Showalter made no secret this spring about Fox’s need to improve defensively if he is going to be a long-term solution as Wieters’ backup.

Last year’s backup Craig Tatum is currently catching at Triple-A Norfolk.


With J.J. Hardy scheduled for an MRI and expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique injury on Monday, the Orioles will rely on the combination of Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino while Hardy rehabs the injury at extended spring training in Sarasota.

“Izzy and Robert, both, present us with a good option,” Showalter said prior to Sunday’s game.

Defensively, yes, but the offensive implications are exactly why president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail pried away Hardy from the Minnesota Twins in the offseason. Baltimore shortstops hit just .236 with a .549 OPS in 2010, with Izturis receiving 142 starts at the position.

With Andino or Izturis manning the ninth spot in the order, it will likely create fewer RBI opportunities for Roberts, who is currently tied with third baseman Mark Reynolds for the team lead in runs batted in (eight).

Good starts not so rare

The final two losses to drop the Texas series take some of the air out of the Orioles’ sail, but a 6-3 record has Baltimore talking baseball with much excitement. Hyperbole and overreaction are synonymous with the first week of the baseball season, but it’s hard to blame fans for feeling enthused about a club with a reasonable chance to end the current streak of 13 consecutive losing seasons.

“We come out prepared everyday, play the game smart, play the game hard,” Scott said. “We’ve had some success up and down the lineup, and our pitching staff has done a great job for us. I think that’s where everything started. We’ve been getting good outings from our starters. The bullpen’s been coming in and giving us quality innings. It’s a good formula for success and hopefully we can continue that.”

However, with the Orioles heading to Yankee Stadium and following that with a three-game series in Cleveland against the red-hot Indians, optimism could come back down to earth in a hurry.

And it wouldn’t be that terribly different than a number of occasions over the last 13 years. For all the talk of this year being different, the Orioles are no strangers to strong starts.

Strong starts since 1997
1998 – 10-2 (finished 79-83)
2000 – 15-10 (finished 74-88)
2003 – 15-12 (finished 71-91)
2004 – 20-16 (finished 78-84)
2005 – 42-28 (finished 74-88)
2006 – 11-7 (finished 70-92)
2007 – 11-7 (finished 69-93)
2008 – 6-1 (finished 68-93)
2009 – 6-2 (finished 64-98)

Of course, most would correctly argue this year’s team has far more talent than those clubs of the past, but things can fall apart very quickly. In reality, many of the superlatives tossed around over the last nine days aren’t that terribly different than ones uttered in past seasons after strong starts.

The true test for gauging how much progress the Orioles have made will be watching them succeed in the middle portion of the season and, most importantly, seeing them play well in August and September when pitchers — especially young ones — tend to wear down.

Last season’s 34-23 finish under Showalter bodes well for this team’s chances, but it’s important for fans to brace themselves for struggles, especially in the starting rotation while the Orioles await Brian Matusz’s return in a few weeks.

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