Tag Archive | "Chris Tillman"

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Roberts, Britton to begin year on 15-day DL; Orioles make more spring cuts

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles continue to sort out which 25 players they’ll be taking north to open the season against the Minnesota Twins on April 6.

Second baseman Brian Roberts (concussion symptoms) and left-handed pitcher Zach Britton (left shoulder impingement) will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. The veteran infielder continues to progress from the concussion symptoms he’s dealt with for the better part of 18 months but is not ready to resume his role as the Baltimore second baseman. Britton is currently receiving platelet rich plasma therapy in hopes of rebuilding strength in his pitching shoulder and will likely be out until at least May.

The decision to place Roberts on the 15-day disabled list means he will remain on the 40-man roster. Some speculated Roberts would be placed on the 60-day list, but it appears he will travel with the club to Baltimore to get re-acclimated to a major league environment before potentially going on a minor league rehab assignment.

The Orioles trimmed their spring roster to 35 on Monday by optioning infielder Matt Antonelli and pitchers Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken to Triple-A Norfolk. They also reassigned pitchers Dontrelle Willis and Armando Gallaraga, catcher John Hester, infielder Steve Tolleson, and outfielder Scott Beerer to minor league camp.

The demotions of Antonelli and Tolleson make it apparent that Showalter will keep Rule 5 selection Ryan Flaherty as his utility infielder since Robert Andino will be the starting second baseman. The 25-year-old Flaherty is hitting .279 in 43 spring at-bats with one home run and eight runs batted in.

As for the starting rotation, it appears Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, and Tommy Hunter have locked up four of the five spots. Lefty Brian Matusz looks to be the favorite for the fifth spot, but Tsuyoshi Wada, Dana Eveland, and Chris Tillman remain in the mix over the final week and a half of spring training.

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Tillman Shaky But Orioles Top Twins

Posted on 16 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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I Answer Your Questions About O’s Rotation, Ravens Free Agency, Terrell Stoglin, More

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I Answer Your Questions About O’s Rotation, Ravens Free Agency, Terrell Stoglin, More

Posted on 13 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Excitement over Bundy painful reminder of Orioles’ underwhelming “cavalry”

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Excitement over Bundy painful reminder of Orioles’ underwhelming “cavalry”

Posted on 29 February 2012 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles beginning preparations in Sarasota ahead of their 20th anniversary at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, much of the buzz in camp has surrounded a young pitcher born seven months after the baseball cathedral first opened in downtown Baltimore.

Yes, let that marinate for a moment or two.

After being selected as the fourth overall pick of last June’s amateur draft, 19-year-old Dylan Bundy has drawn rave reviews from observers and teammates alike while displaying a plus-fastball in the mid to upper 90s and three other pitches that already have hitters shaking their heads during live batting practice, according to reports from Florida. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander will presumably begin his minor league career at Single-A Delmarva this season, but his track to the big leagues has the potential to be much shorter than the typical pitcher fresh out of high school.

“That kid Bundy is gonna be special….if he wants to,” center fielder Adam Jones said on his official Twitter account on Monday.

Never one to mince words, Jones tells it like he sees it.

Of course, before anyone proclaims him the future ace of the staff, Bundy has yet to throw a professional pitch — even if he appears to have more upside than any Baltimore pitching prospect in recent memory. Given their failed history in cultivating young hurlers over the years, the Orioles would be well served to protect their best pitching prospect in bubble wrap after the gushing about his potential since last June.

But the hype surrounding Bundy isn’t all that different than the anticipation for the famed “cavalry” of a couple years ago when then-manager Dave Trembley and many others were touting the potential of Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, and several others and how it would lead the Orioles from the abyss of losing season after losing season. It gave fans hope at the time, but the results have been mixed at best and generally regarded as disappointing when looking back at all the excitement.

Matusz? A disastrous 2011 season that included a 1-9 record and a 10.69 earned run average has made nearly everyone question the former first-round pick’s health, dedication to the game, and mental toughness.

Arrieta? He had been the steadiest of the original “Big Three” before elbow surgery cut his 2011 campaign short, but the tough right-hander still doesn’t show enough command to project as much better than a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Tillman? The tall righty has never shown more than brief flashes of the ability the Orioles saw in him when acquiring him as part of the return for the Erik Bedard trade over four years ago. His future appears to be in the bullpen.

The most promising arrival of the crop, left-hander Zach Britton shows great upside after a solid rookie season, but a shoulder strain has caused fans to take pause in the early stages of spring training.

After a disappointing offseason void of any significant moves and the trade of veteran mainstay Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies, the continued development of the young pitching will be even more critical in not only determining how the Orioles fare in 2012 but will also go a long way in deciding where the organization goes from here. With the current core of position players not getting any younger, the failure of Matusz, Britton, and Arrieta to take significant steps forward could entice executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to begin selling off key pieces such as Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis to essentially begin the rebuilding process again.

And for a fan base devoid of a winning product since 1997, that’s a sobering proposition.

For Matusz (52 career starts) and Arrieta (40 career starts), the time is now to begin showing significant signs of maturity to prove the organization can pencil each into the rotation every fifth day without having to think twice. Britton needs to build upon his 4.61 ERA in 2011 and show why many scouts project him as a potential No. 2 starter in a major league rotation. If the trio makes major strides in 2012, it might be enough to push ownership to spend more aggressively at the big-league level while continuing to build the farm system behind the scenes next offseason.

Of course, manager Buck Showalter has issued the challenge for all starting candidates to be ready to perform in spring training as he tries to piece together a starting rotation. The Orioles skipper has said the days of young pitchers holding a spot by default are over, which means some combination of Matusz, Arrieta, and Britton could wind up at Triple-A Norfolk to begin the season while short-term options such as Jason Hammel and Dana Eveland fill rotation spots. Frankly, it’s an even more deflating scenario than the continued struggles of the young pitchers at the big-league level.

If those goals don’t come to fruition, the Orioles may be back to square one — admittedly, not a very long fall — as fans will hopelessly look ahead to the likes of Bundy and top infield prospects Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop to lead the club back to respectability.

It will be no different than two years ago.

Or six years ago.

Or nine years ago.

Waiting on exciting potential, but wondering if it will ever become reality.

It’s a mantra Orioles fans are all too familiar with.

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The End of the Andy MacPhail Era- The View from the Balcony

Posted on 16 October 2011 by Erich Hawbaker

Well, Andy is officially out as the Orioles General Manager. And by most accounts, he hasn’t left the team in any better shape than he found it. There’s plenty of talk now about the possibility of Buck Showalter being promoted to the front office, but we’ll see. I don’t expect anything will happen fast.

I, for one, suspected for some time that MacPhail would be bowing out as soon as he had the chance. Most of us know that he’s gunning for Bud Selig’s job. And, it became rather apparent to me that he reached the same conclusion so many of us have: Peter Angelos has absolutely no interest in fielding a winning team, and there is a 99.9% chance that the Orioles will not see the playoffs again or possibly even a .500 season as long as he still owns them.

Andy’s ‘grow the arms and buy the bats’ plan may have looked good on paper, but turned out to be a total bust. His “cavalry” of young pitchers (Matusz, Britton, Arietta, Tillman, Patton) fared about as well this season as General Custer’s cavalry did at the Battle of Little Bighorn. I will concede that sometimes prospects simply don’t pan out, and that is not entirely Andy’s fault.

But as far as buying the bats goes, he deserves every vile criticism we can throw at him and more. In 4 years time, what legitimate bats were bought? As far as free agents went, Andy’s tenure was marked by making joke offers to the likes of Adam Dunn and Mark Teixeira, and then settling for past-their-prime B-listers like Derrick Lee and Vlad Guerrero (and don’t hold your breath about Prince Fielder coming to Baltimore either). Of course, there’s only so much you can do when you have Peter Angelos keeping you on such a tight leash, but Andy doesn’t get a pass here. The Orioles haven’t been serious about signing free agents in over a decade, and MacPhail did nothing to reverse that trend.

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about how best to summarize the time Andy MacPhail spent in Baltimore, and I happened to stumble across the perfect illustration on Youtube. This will be a first for me, using visual aids in my columns. Now, when you go to the link below and watch the clip from the old classic Muppet Show, I want you to do something. Imagine that Milton Berle is Andy MacPhail, and that Statler and Waldorf (the two old men in the balcony) represent we, the disgruntled Orioles fans. And instead of talking about being funny, suppose the discussion centers around the ability to build a winning baseball team (you’ll have to copy and paste the address below into your browser, because for some reason WordPress won’t let me put a real link in here). Enjoy!




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So an Oriole walks into a bar…yes the Orioles have become a joke

Posted on 21 August 2011 by Tom Clayton

 Well the Orioles are finally on track…..on track to lose 100 games.  They have reached this once impossible feat after a terrible loss last night in which the Orioles “closer” blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the 12th; granted he wasn’t helped by the terrible defense behind him.  After the loss I jumped on to Facebook to see the outrage of Oriole fans after what can only be described as an appalling  loss and low and behold…not one post.  None, I mean a few months ago fans were ranting and raving that the team was awful, and Kevin Gregg was the antichrist but now the critics are silent and the fans have given up.  I have always found it fun to follow the reactions of Oriole fans on social media because I see such varied and passionate opinions but this “team” has sucked all of the fight and passion from everyone.

Let’s be honest the Orioles are a joke, and I mean that literally.  I remember watching SportsCenter and hearing the anchor say, “And we go to the highlights of the Blue Jays and Orioles….the Orioles are still in the majors?”  And then no less than twenty minutes later on ESPN News as they showed Mark Reynolds crush a homer into a completely empty second deck the anchor proclaimed, “plenty of good seats remain in Baltimore” and after a little girl came running into frame to grab the ball he continued, “Oh the Orioles still have a fan left”.  This is how the national media views the Orioles, we are a joke that doesn’t receive nor deserves any respect.

As I sit here and watch the Orioles boot the ball all around Anaheim and see Felix Pie rolling around in the outfield like one of the Keystone Cops I wonder, why do I put myself through this anymore?  Why would someone allow themselves to be punched in the stomach on a daily basis for a team that couldn’t give a damn about them?  And the sad answer is I don’t know anymore.

I look at Andy McPhail’s philosophy of “grow the arms and buy the bats” and I think, at least sticking to his flawed plan.  Maybe the plan would work in a functional organization but when you have a HORRIBLE scouting department that routinely misses on top draft picks and never finds a diamond in the rough in later rounds how can you possible grow the arms?  The arms that Andy and company have grown are quite simply not working out….take a look at the young cavalry of arms and their statistics heading into today’s game.

Brian Matusz – 1-5 8.63 ERA with a WHIP of 1.92 and an opponent batting average of .350.  Matusz’ WHIP of 1.92 means that ON AVERAGE he is allowing nearly two base runners per inning.

Jake Arrieta – 10-8 with a 5.22 ERA; sadly Arrieta is the only Orioles starter with a winning record even with and ERA well over 5.

Chris Tillman – 3-5 with a 5.52 ERA; Tillman was considered one of the top prospects in baseball two years ago now after working with Orioles instructors he is considered another in a long line of busts.

Zach Britton – 6-9 with a 4.66 ERA; honestly Zach pitched really well in the opening month of the season and looked like a potential Rookie of the Year candidate then the league caught up with him and he did nothing to make adjustments.

The Orioles pitchers seem to not only continue to fail they are shipped back and forth to the minors on a daily basis; in fact every one of these young arms has been sent back down to the minors except for Arrieta who is out for the season.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I turned on the Orioles pregame show and didn’t hear about a pending move or a player being sent back down to the minors.  The Orioles need to be honest with themselves and understand this team is going nowhere and nobody cares about anything they do anymore so why not let these pitchers stay in the rotation and let them try and make the adjustments needed heading into next season?

The Orioles are a team that is in a major need of a complete overhaul starting from the top on down; this rebuilding process didn’t work as the foundation has crumbled around it.  I think the organization needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and at the 40,000 empty seats in the stadium and make a tough decision.  Either blow this thing up COMPLETELY or continue to be a joke among major league baseball. 


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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ….

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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ….

Posted on 09 August 2011 by Rex Snider

When I reflect back on the final days of March and all the optimism that surrounded this 2011 edition of the Orioles, I come to one distinct conclusion:


And, this includes every single soul who follows, loves and ultimately believes the beleaguered franchise will eventually improve.  On such a list, fans, media members and anyone with a related interest in the ballclub are all heaped together.

Not a single one of my brethren thought this team would be WORSE than last year’s product ….

Not a single listener called me and voiced a pessimistic view of the season, especially with Buck Showalter at the helm for a full 162 games ….

Indeed, we consumed and digested the potion pitched by Buck’s birds over the final couple months of 2010.  We chose to rally behind the Showalter energy, especially with the visual reminders on billboards around town and the corny commercials courtesy of MASN.

All of us were fooled, because we chose to believe our hearts.  And, to be quite honest, we chose to ignore the very basics of baseball; pitching is the root of winning at this very highest level of the game.

A year ago, today …. on August 9th, 2010, the Orioles rattled off their sixth victory in seven attempts under the guidance of a newly appointed Showalter.  Under his tutelage, they displayed a renewed vigor and devotion to the basics of winning baseball.

Today, the team is reeling.  They’ve lost eight of the last ten contests and it seems as if they invent ways of squandering leads and outcomes, just as they did last night.  Of course, this dilemma is compounded by a current starting corps of pitching that might be the most dismal witnessed in years.

And, this is exactly where ALL OF US took the bait and fooled ourselves in the context of conventional wisdom and history’s teachings, if nothing else …..

It’s easy to sit back and blame Vlad Guerrero for not living up to expectations.  Say what you will, he’s not the primary problem.  Vlad is hitting a disappointing .274, with 9 homers and 15 doubles, but the problems run much deeper than a lackluster effort from the designated hitter.

Yes, you can defer any blame headed Mark Reynolds’ way, as well.  He’s hitting .219, with 26 homers and a peutrid 26 errors.  But, he too, is not part of the root problem with this Orioles team.

The blunt truth is Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter gambled the entire house on a young, inexperienced pitching staff ….



Prior to the start of this 2011 season, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman owned a combined 41 big league starts.  And, Britton claimed none of those numbers.  Yet, each of these young pitchers had a spot in the rotation to start the season.

Of course, Britton’s inclusion was necessitated by an injury to Brian Matusz – which surfaced just hours before the season opener. 

Yes, this is the same Brian Matusz who has not returned to his 2010 form.  Heck, he probably hasn’t found a repertoire consistent to 2008, when he starred in the rotation at the University of San Diego.

As for the others, we know where they’re hanging their hats these days …..

Jake Arrieta is done for the season, due to injury.

Zach Britton also finds himself on the disabled list.

And, Chris Tillman is in the current rotation, because there isn’t a body to challenge for the spot.

In vivid honesty, MacPhail obviously overestimated the durability and overall readiness of the organization’s young pitching prospects – and we bought in !!!!

Call it blind faith or a belief in what Buck Showlater produced in last season’s abbreviated window …. or a hope that things couldn’t get much worse.  But, just like the Orioles’ President of Baseball Operations, we too, overrated the inexperienced and largely untested pitching prospects.

Following last night’s loss, the Orioles find themselves at 44-68, which is just 6.5 games ahead of last year’s team.  And, remember that’s a team that mounted a 28-22 record over its fnal 50 games.

This current edition of the Orioles also has 50 games remaining.  They’re a team that has lost 9 out of 12, as well as 27 of its last 36 contests.  The starting pitching staff bears one name that would merit a spot in most rotations around the game.

They need to win 20 of the final 50 games to avoid suffering the worst organizational record since the trainwrecked 1988 season.

I’m betting they won’t do it.  I’m just being honest – I don’t see how this team wins 2 of 5 games throughout the remainder of the schedule. 

Is this team worse than 2010?  Heck yeah …. it’s going to be the worst Orioles team in the last 23 years. 

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Live from Camden Yards: O’s look to take series vs. Jays behind Alfredo Simon

Posted on 07 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

**Join us in the Orange Crush chat today at 1:30PM. If you’re watching the O’s, surfing the Internet, or both, stop by and share your thoughts with us. It’s always fun!

BALTIMORE – The Orioles haven’t won a series since they won the rubber game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 26th. They look to snap that streak today as they take on the Blue Jays at Camden Yards behind their most impressive pitcher of late, Alfredo Simon.

In Simon’s last four starts, he has given up just 8 runs in 25.2 innings. As Buck Showalter likes to say, he has seized his opportunity and ran with it. When the O’s have desperately needed a starter to give them quality innings, Alfredo Simon has stepped up.

“He’s pitching real well as a starter and especially with some of our injuries,” said Buck Showalter. “It’s worked out well. He’s been able to defend himself against left handed hitters for the most part.”

Showalter continued discussing Simon’s recent success.

“It seemed like last year in the bullpen he got a little defensive and…always seemed to go to the breaking ball….he kind of got away from his fastball,” Showalter said. “He’s been able to set that up and pitch more aggressively with it which has been able to set some other pitches up. I think he’s gotten more confident with the fastball as a starter.”

On a day when the Orioles are feeling good about the effort they saw from Chris Tillman on Saturday night, another quality outing by Simon along with a series win would certainly represent one of the better days of late here in Birdland.

Opposing Simon will be Ricky Romero. Romero has established himself as one of the better starters in baseball, sporting a mediocre 9-9 record but more importantly pitching to an ERA under 3 runs a game.

Just 10 days ago, Romero pitched into the ninth inning against the Birds in Toronto, going 8.1 innings allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out nine Orioles. Romero has started 11 games against the O’s over his career, going 5-3 with a 3.19 ERA.

Chris Davis and JJ Hardy update

“We’re progressing,” Showalter said. “We’re excited about what we got back from the CT Scan (J.J. Hardy) and the MRI (Chris Davis). We feel like it’s pretty imminent that they’re back on the field shortly.”

On Kevin Gregg’s leadership in locker-room

Buck was asked if it was rare that a relief pitcher can be such a mentor to all pitchers, relievers and even starters, in the locker-room.

“If you look at his background and the things he’s been through in his career to establish himself, there are reasons why those things happen,” Showalter said. “Kind of like the reason why the situation found him in Boston. He gets it. Kevin gets it. He understands the ups and downs and he also will call BS. He’s the voice of reality. If your looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear he’s the wrong guy. If you want to get an answer about reality then go sit down.”

Showalter believes Gregg is a great resource for young pitchers on and off the field.

“He’s very popular, I think he is, to most people,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of revealing the people that don’t seek him out, in a way. He’s not a guy that’s always initiating, but if you ask, he’ll try to help. But he knows he’s got challenges too that he’s attacking.”

O’s fans hope Gregg will get a chance on Sunday to close down the series for the Birds in the ninth inning.

Here are today’s lineups:


SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF:  Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
1B: Mark Reynolds
LF: Nolan Reimold
C: Craig Tatum
3B: Josh Bell
2B: Cesar Izturis

SP: Alfredo Simon


LF: Rajai Davis
SS: Yunel Escobar
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: Adam Lind
1B: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
C: J.P. Arencibia
2B: John McDonald
3B: Brett Lawrie

SP: Ricky Romero

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In Orioles’ disastrous season, Jones continues going about his business

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In Orioles’ disastrous season, Jones continues going about his business

Posted on 07 August 2011 by Luke Jones

Perhaps no other night better represented the embarrassment of a season gone horribly wrong than Saturday at Camden Yards.

On a night when bobbleheads of Brian Matusz — the young pitcher currently trying to find himself in the minor leagues — were handed out to the 19,396 fans in attendance, the Orioles appeared on their way to wasting an encouraging outing by 23-year-old Chris Tillman.

Toronto starter Brandon Morrow had retired 15 straight to begin the game and held a 2-1 lead with two runners on and two outs in the sixth.

After harmlessly grounding out twice in his first two visits to the plate, center fielder Adam Jones stepped to the plate with a chance to tie the game or put his team ahead. Jones ripped a low-and-away fastball onto the flag court, pumping his fist as he rounded first base to give the Orioles a 4-2 lead. The 26-year-old added a run-scoring single in the eighth as the Orioles completed a 6-2 win, giving them an opportunity to go for their first series win since late June on Sunday.

But instead of talking about his best single-season home run total (20) or four runs batted in after the game, Jones wanted to credit the maligned Tillman’s effort in picking up his first victory since May 11.

“I rarely show emotion on home runs, but Tillman battled his tail off and it was to take the lead,” Jones said. “A big home run for the team and for myself, but more importantly, it was for Tillman. We were behind him, and he went out in the seventh and had a really good inning.”

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A polarizing figure because of his fearlessness in speaking his mind, whether sounding off on Twitter or controversially encouraging Orioles fans to rough up visiting Yankees fans back in spring training, Jones leaves himself open for criticism. His Twitter profile mantra (“Me being me. Like it or NOT“) welcomes it, in fact.

Many love him while others hold disdain for the outfielder, evident by his interaction with followers on the social media site. Even on Saturday night, a spectator could be heard in front of the press box mocking, “Watch out for that low-and-away pitch!” only a second or two before Jones smacked the opposite-field home run that put the Orioles in front.

Though sometimes abrasive in his comments to the media, Jones is the position player most consistently available to talk after the many losses that commonly send players into hiding. It’s rarely warm and fuzzy — a 14-35 stretch will do that to even the friendliest players — but the center fielder helps the media do their jobs.

What you see is what you get with Jones. And that is a pretty darn good ballplayer.

Jones is quietly putting together a strong season that’s been lost in the collapse of the young starting pitching and everything else that has gone wrong for the Orioles in 2011. As many dwell on the declining power and patience of Nick Markakis, the lack of progress offensively for Matt Wieters, and the grim health of Brian Roberts, Jones continues to make strides in his fourth season with the Orioles.

With 20 home runs and an .829 OPS, the center fielder continues to produce — even if few teammates are doing their expected share. Though still not as patient at the plate as you’d like (only 22 walks in 460 plate appearances), Jones has improved his ability to lay off the low-and-away breaking pitches that plagued him over his first few seasons with the Orioles.

The San Diego native is on pace to hit 29 home runs, drive in 102 runs, and collect 63 extra-base hits, head and shoulders above his previous single-season highs.

Though still prone to defensive lapses despite his many highlight-reel plays in center field, Jones has been the “rock” on which manager Buck Showalter has relied through an otherwise miserable season riddled with injuries and poor performances.

“He’s got so much want-to in everything he does,” Showalter said. “But I’m proud of him, the way he approaches it every day. There’s not a day he’s not ready to play for the most part, and that’s a challenge when you’re playing every day in center field in the American League East.”

Despite the Orioles’ abysmal 4-17 record against the two big boys in the division, Jones has come to play against the Yankees and Red Sox, posting an .843 OPS against New York and a .944 clip against Boston.

As the organization ponders what to do after a season that started with such promise has morphed into a 14th straight losing campaign, locking up Jones long-term has to be something to strongly consider this offseason.

Under team control through 2013, Jones has to be frustrated with the losing and the negativity surrounding the organization. The closer he gets to free agency, the more difficult it will be to keep him in Baltimore.

In a season from hell that might be more disappointing than any of the previous 13 losing seasons, Jones has been one of the very few bright spots. The losses continue, but he continues to go about his business every day.

“I could be doing other stuff [in life],” Jones said. “I get the opportunity to come and play major league baseball. I’m just trying to relish the opportunity and take advantage of it.”

With so many of his teammates having not taken advantage of opportunities, Jones’ success is a rare breath of fresh air in an otherwise suffocating summer of baseball.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and Buck Showalter following the Orioles’ 6-2 win over Toronto on Saturday night.

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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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