Tag Archive | "George Sherrill"

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Orioles trade infielder Josh Bell to Arizona for player to be named

Posted on 21 April 2012 by Luke Jones

After designating him for assignment earlier in the week, the Orioles have traded infielder Josh Bell to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later.

The Orioles removed Bell from the 40-man roster on Monday to create room for catcher Luis Exposito, who was claimed on waivers from the Boston Red Sox.

Despite a few different stints in Baltimore, Bell was never able to establish himself as a major leaguer, hitting .200 with three home runs and 18 runs batted in over 79 games with the Orioles in 2010 and 2011. Bell had 78 strikeouts and only six walks in 226 plate appearances in the big leagues the last two seasons.

Bell was off to a miserable start at Triple-A Norfolk, going just 3 for his first 32 with one home run before being designated for assignment.

The switch-hitting infielder was acquired on July 30, 2009 along with right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Orioles closer George Sherrill.

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Orioles claim catcher Luis Exposito off waivers

Posted on 17 April 2012 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have claimed catcher Luis Exposito on waivers from Boston.

Expositio, 25, is a career .268/.324/.420 hitter in seven minor league seasons in Boston’s farm system.  He was the Red Sox 31st round selection in the 2005 first-year player draft.

 

To make room for Exposito on the 40-man roster, infielder Josh Bell has been designated for assignment.  Bell, 25, batted .200/.221/.264 in 79 games with the Orioles in 2010 and 2011.  He was acquired by Baltimore on July 30, 2009 in exchange for left-handed pitcher George Sherrill.

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50 words or less …. will Orioles fans flock to see Pujols and the Cardinals?

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50 words or less …. will Orioles fans flock to see Pujols and the Cardinals?

Posted on 12 May 2011 by Rex Snider

As the title of today’s blog entails, I’m wondering if crowds at Camden Yards will improve when warmer weather and some ROCKSTAR talent arrives for notable visits. Of course, we know WINNING at a consistent pace will eventually deem increased attendance.

And, as last night proved, this Orioles team can compete against the game’s elite pitchers. It stunned me, but that’s the magic of baseball …..

Here is today’s edition of “50 Words Or Less ….”
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Are You Kidding Me ???
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Last night serves as evidence that conventional wisdom and baseball knowledge sometimes have no value, at all. The Mariners clearly had a figurative advantage over the O’s, as they approached the second game of the series …..

One of baseball’s best pitchers against a kid with a 7.00+ ERA …..

The birds’ best bat against King Felix was idled with the flu …..

No problem. Adam Jones ensured no further questions regarding impressive play by his teammates would surface during clubhouse interviews. He carried the load, like it or not.
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It’s A Bet
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During yesterday’s AFTERNOON DRIVE, Nestor popped in-studio for a few moments and our cordial conversation quickly evolved into a heated debate and ultimately, a wager of sorts …..

As we talked about attendance at Camden Yards, I mentioned that crowds would increase for some of the upcoming inter-league visits. We haggled over the St. Louis Cardinals series, slated for June 28-30th.

I believe an impressive crowd will surface to see Albert Pujols. Nestor isn’t buying such logic. So, if 75,000+ people show up over the 3 game series, I win the bet. If the total attendance is less, he wins.
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Our wager? The loser gets the above pictured Bob Barker tattoo. The price can be right …. or wrong. I’m just hoping that I’m accurate on the overall attendance for the series.

By the way, Nestor balked at the proposition of a Hines Ward tat …..
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What Will Your Tombstone Say ???
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If you’re a WNST listener, I’ll venture an assumption that you’re aware of our staff’s musical tastes and varied allegiances. Springsteen, Rush, Van Halen and some group called Mumford & Sons are well represented.

But, would any of us take our musical preferences to the grave? I doubt it. That said, have you ever considered a message (if any) to be represented on your headstone? I guess the choices can vary.

Give Scott Silva’s family credit …. they pretty much ensured he gets noticed – 27 years after his death. I hope Mick and the boys are flattered …..
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If I Was The Skipper
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Yeah, yeah, I get it …. the most important part of baseball is WINNING. But, aside from the competitive angle, have you ever considered your rules and policies, if you wore Buck Showalter’s uniform?

Facial hair? No problem. Uniform pants dragging the ground? No problem. Long hair? Again, no problem. But, I would absolutely forbid the “FLAT BREEZY” look on players’ hats.

Who was the first Orioles player to wear his hat without bending the brim? Was it George Sherrill? Brad Bergesen? I recall the first baseball player I ever saw with the unbent brim was CC Sabathia.

I don’t care who started it …. this ridiculous look would end if I commanded the team.
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Some Men You Just Can’t Reach
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Have you looked inside the world of Jay Mariotti lately? The dude just can’t keep his hands off a former girlfriend – in fact, he can’t stop stalking her, either.

Mariotti was convicted of assaulting his former flame, last year. He paid dearly …. losing his gig at ESPN, and virtually disappearing. Well, he almost disappeared …. before surfacing, again, to allegedly stalk and assault the same woman.

Yesterday, Jay Mariotti appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court, where he pled not guilty to three felony counts regarding his obsession with the ex-flame. He is being held on $250,000 bail.
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Finally …..
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Well, I have been waiting three years for this day. And, the past few months have provided a heightened anticipation of the inevitable …..

The greatest American rock band, EVER, is hitting the road. Van Halen will kick off their 2011/12 World Tour, on September 24th, in Brisbane, Australia.

Rumors persist that Buckcherry could serve as the opening act on many of the U.S. dates. But, if that falls thru, maybe they could let Rush open the shows …..

I’ll chat with you at 2pm …..

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 18

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 18

Posted on 18 March 2011 by Luke Jones

Leading up to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

Previous selections:
20. Matt Wieters’ debut
19. Hideo Nomo tosses the only no-hitter in Oriole Park history

18. Orioles stage greatest comeback in team history – June 30, 2009

Another merciless pounding at the hands of Boston, or so it seemed.

The Orioles had lost eight straight to the Red Sox, and their unruly traveling fans were basking in the glory of a 10-1 lead in the seventh inning. Most fans watching at home had given up on the massacre and flipped to reruns — hey, it’s hard to resist The Office — on a midsummer night of television. Nobody knew it, but the Orioles were about to thrill the few hometown fans remaining in the ballpark and stun the Sox supporters taunting those making their way to the exits.

By the time the Orioles went to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, starter Rich Hill was long gone after giving up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings and Boston veteran John Smoltz had missed his chance for a victory after a lengthy rain delay forced his exit in the fifth. As a result, a battle of the bullpens commenced, with the Orioles about to supplant a club-record eight-run comeback set in 1956 — against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

A five-run seventh made the deficit a reachable 10-6, with the key blow being a three-run homer from pinch-hitter Oscar Salazar. The home fans who stuck around for the early bludgeoning perked up, but realized a comeback remained very unlikely against the Red Sox bullpen.

However, Hideki Okajima had finished the seventh for Boston and remained on the mound for the eighth. Though one of the best lefty specialists in the American League, the hapless Orioles — of all teams — had owned the Japanese reliever for nearly two years.

It was about to continue.

Okajima would surrender four straight hits without getting an out, leaving the game with the bases loaded and Boston holding on dearly to its 10-7 lead. Two batters later, the score was 10-9 and Red Sox manager Terry Francona desperately turned to closer Jonathan Papelbon to prevent the record-setting Orioles comeback.

It was too late.

Nick Markakis’ two-run double to deep center plated pinch-runner Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Roberts with two outs in the bottom of the eighth as the Orioles had amazingly come all the way back to seize an 11-10 lead.

Roberts

Euphoric Orioles fans howled in laughter at obnoxious “Sahx” fans as George Sherrill recorded the save in the ninth, securing the greatest comeback victory in franchise history. An amazing 13 of Baltimore’s 16 hits that night came in the seventh and eighth innings.

“That was probably the best game I’ve been involved in, right there,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said after the game. “That was absolutely tremendous. When you talk about playing all 27 outs, that’s tonight.”

Ironically, the Orioles would be on the receiving end of that lesson the next afternoon, squandering a 5-1 lead in the ninth and falling 6-5 in 11 innings. Perhaps it was the baseball gods’ way of restoring order as the Orioles would lose 11 of the 12 remaining games with Boston that season.

But for one night, at least, the Orioles got the better of the hated Red Sox.

And, in case you were wondering, I flipped back to the game just in time to see the comeback.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 15 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday-

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because Drew and I were discussing our (high school) alma maters this morning; and I found out some interesting things.

You may know that Drew graduated (reportedly) from Glen Burnie High School. What you may NOT know is that there are a number of other significant former Gophers, including former Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tony Saunders (who was on with Rex Snider yesterday here at AM1570 WNST); Kansas City Chiefs OT Branden Albert and singer Toni Braxton.

I am a proud Perry Hall High School graduate, and if you check our Wikipedia page; we have plenty of notable alumni as well. Former Delegates Alfred Redmer and James Ports; Tonja Walker from “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital”; and CNN’s Reggie Aqui. Oh, and there’s another one…Craig M Horlacher. Not familiar with Craig Horlacher? Let’s see what Wikipedia says about Craig…

“Craig M Horlacher, (GUINESS) Largest weiner size ever recorded

Let’s go Gators!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Cal Ripken may join Orioles in part time advisory role, then transition to full time position after son Ryan Ripken graduates

This is the first sort of “clarity” we’ve received about what exactly is being considered by the Iron Man, Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos. This is a logical role, although the question of what exactly Cal would be “advising” still comes to mind.

The easy answer would be “personnel”, as despite Cal’s incredible business accumen, I doubt he’s getting involved with the organization to give his ideas for how MASN can help market Adam Jones.

An organization would Cal Ripken involved for the advice he can offer to baseball players and regarding baseball players. He has value in Sarasota offering advice about fielding and staying healthy (Felix Pie should be the first player he talks to), but he also has value in the Warehouse telling Andy MacPhail “you know, I just don’t think Garrett Atkins fits the bill for what we’re looking for.”

Of course, now we’re entering the potential world of having “too many chefs in the kitchen.” Andy MacPhail is responsible for baseball decisions; but no one REALLY believes Peter Angelos has completely removed himself from that area. The organization is set to hire Buck Showalter as manager, and EVERYONE who knows ANYTHING about Buck Showalter has confirmed that he is going to have to have a hand in baseball and personnel decisions, if not more than that.

Now there’s a chance Cal Ripken joins that group.

Look, I don’t think ANYTHING bad can come from having Cal involved with the organization; and clearly they can use as much help as they can get in the baseball operations department. But this could end up being a combustible situation.

Of course, when you’re 29-59 it’s certainly worth trying.

2. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says former Birds closer George Sherrill placed on waivers by Los Angeles Dodgers

Jay points out in his column that MacPhail deserves some credit for “selling high” with Sherrill. I had no problem myself with the trade-as it appeared that the team got two reasonable prospects back in Josh Bell and Steve Johnson.

If we’re being completely fair though, Bell and/or Johnson need to produce at the big league level for us to TRULY say this was a good trade. Otherwise, it was a trade that cost the team a closer ahead of an annual tailspin.

As far as those who think the Orioles should try to re-acquire Sherrill for the 2nd half of the season are concerned, well….okay. Sherrill may be well served by returning to a no-pressure role in Charm City (maybe a 7th inning role); but I wouldn’t be in a rush to run out and bring back “Flat Breezy.”

As far as whether or not I thought George Sherrill would ulimately struggle at Chavez Revine?

“Never a doubt George, never a doubt.”

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says O’s will spend 2nd half trying to avoid worst record in franchise history

I really don’t want to think about this.

In fact, instead of thinking about this, let’s think about Rosie Jones. (Thanks Guyism!)

rosiejones

4. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Steve Bumbry homered for Delmarva Shorebirds on farm

Before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-After missing Mike Gonzalez yesterday, we missed Billy Rowell this morning as well. Damn. BUT-if you missed Rich Dubroff from the Carroll County Times or Golf.com/SI’s David Dusek live from the British Open at St. Andrew’s with Drew Forrester this morning-make sure you check it out today in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

-I found out this morning Sidney Ponson retired from professional baseball. Is this news? Did we know this before? How did I miss this? So long “Sir Sid”…we’ll always have…the memories???

5. National Football Post’s Joe Fortenbaugh says addition of Anquan Boldin means Ravens ‘have Super Bowl contender written all over them’

Which is about the most common theme I can think of when it comes to this football team.

The Ravens BEFORE acquiring Anquan Boldin were a team that was very good and had a chance to compete to win the AFC North. The Ravens AFTER acquiring Anquan Boldin are a team that has a REAL chance to get to Dallas for the Super Bowl.

Like I keep saying, just because they’re a Super Bowl CONTENDER doesn’t mean they’ll WIN the Super Bowl. The Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets are Super Bowl CONTENDERS as well.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say “that’s why they play the games.”

6. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens report fans have suffered injuries in Westminster

Which doesn’t surprise me at ALL. We’ve all seen it. It doesn’t mean the Ravens came up with a perfect policy to fix the problem (Edit from GMC: I think it’s far from it), but fan behavior and unruly crowds HAVE been a problem at McDaniel College. That’s really not arguable.

Now, if Brooke Erickson comes to Training Camp next year, I don’t care what policy is in place. There’s going to be trouble with unruly crowds (Thanks COED Magazine via Busted Coverage!)…

erickson

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says John Beck expects ‘battle’ for QB job in Training Camp

Which is something we really haven’t discussed much.

When the Ravens acquired Marc Bulger, it was so widely assumed that Troy Smith would be dealt that we basically just started putting together a 53 man roster without including him.

But with the Philadelphia Eagles apparently likely to hold on to Michael Vick; the one realistic trade scenario that was presented appears to be gone.

The Ravens will NOT just be giving Troy Smith away, no matter how quickly some fans would like to see him go. If he isn’t traded, he and Beck will be set for a battle for the #3 QB job…a battle that Smith would CLEARLY be the favorite to win.

It isn’t popular necessarily, but it’s reality. Troy Smith might not LIKE being the team’s 3rd QB-but he might not have a choice. It might be the only job available.

And Troy Smith might very well be the best option for the Ravens as a 3rd QB.

We’ll have to wait and see what quarterbacks get hurt between now and Week 1. That would clearly impact where Smith could possibly end up.

8. ABC2′s Tia Craddock says Michael Phelps gave Baltimore City summer school students free swim lessons

Like I said yesterday, I think this is a great thing. I have said for some time that Phelps should be more visible with his charity and community involvement here in Baltimore; as he is likely the most recognized Baltimorean worldwide.

But with no offense to Michael-if I had my choice; I’d probably prefer to get my swim lessons from Lisa Angeline (Thanks NextRound.net via Uproxx!)…

lisaa

9. D1scrouse’s Patrick Stevens says Navy QB Ricky Dobbs named to Davey O’Brien Award watch list

Some of my feelings towards Ricky Dobbs are similar to my feelings towards former Morgan State Bears guard Reggie Holmes. I just really enjoy watching some college athletes-and Ricky Dobbs is ABSOLUTELY one of them.

There’s a new @DobbsForHeisman Twitter account that is pretty awesome. Not quite as awesome as getting a response from the Old Spice guy on YouTube, but it’s still pretty good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CijzuweLK4I[/youtube]

And by the way, Patrick and I posted a new D1scast this week discussing his preseason Top 25 Football poll, the new ACC TV deal, and why hitting “Reply All” isn’t always a great idea. Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to check it out!

10. Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Maryland, Texas in negotiations for future football series

I understand that the Terps will make a bunch of money from this series-and that’s important. But as I said on Twitter last night (follow us @WNST), it offers NOTHING football-wise. It’s a bit of a no-win; and I’m not sure how many recruits will be overly impressed by watching the Terrapins get pummeled by 35 points by the Longhorns at FedEx Field.

Now, playing a game in Austin (or Dallas, or Houston, or San Antonio) WILL get the next Maryland football coach (be it James Franklin or whoever else) in front of recruits in The Lone Star State. That IS a good thing.

And as I mentioned before, money is a factor. Cue AC/DC….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je7MqES4Wfk[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

I get a lot of questions about some of the music that’s played on the show. I figured I’d share a couple of the songs I get a particular number of questions about. One is “French Navy” by Camera Obscura…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3CkfvYMCWM[/youtube]

Another is “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep On Dancing” by Mike Doughty. At least the title isn’t too long…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9GzLOk52Wo[/youtube]

If you want to know about anything else we play on the show, feel free to let me know.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Former Orioles All Star Sinks in L.A.

Posted on 15 July 2010 by Jay Trucker

This season, Andy MacPhail has garnered his fair share of criticism for the O’s woes, some of which can be directly attributed to his offseason signings. In the interest of fairness, though, one of MacPhail’s trades last season is starting to look like a decent maneuver.

In July of ’09, MacPhail traded lefty closer George Sherrill to the LA Dodgers for minor leaguers Steve Johnson and Josh Bell.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers put Sherrill on waivers. Moved out of the closer’s role, Sherrill struggled against the NL West, posting a 7.32 ERA with a 2.237 WHIP. Now that he has been put on waivers, Sherrill could land anywhere, including the Dodgers’ minor league system, or heck, even the Orioles. I mean, he can’t be any worse than Matt Albers, can he?

Sherrill came to Baltimore in 2008, where he quickly earned the closer’s role and a spot on the AL All Star roster as the club’s sole representative. Sherrill pitched two innings in relief for Terry Francona’s All Star club.

Josh Bell did not impress in his first appearance with the Orioles, during which he hit .200 in 15 at bats. Steve Johnson is struggling at AA Bowie with a 6.33 ERA. However, both of these players are still young and regarded as legitimate prospects. Even if neither makes a significant impact in the MLB, appears to have “sold high.” Unless someone can help Sherrill get back to his All Star form.

Speaking of All Stars, I hope you didn’t blink during the seventh inning of the 2010 All Star game. That’s when Ty Wigginton stood at third base for three outs. He was lifted in the top of the seventh for a pinch hitter.

I guess he’ll always get to say he played in an All Star game.

This just in. George Steinbrenner, still dead.

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Orioles Pitching Prospect Steve Johnson on Father and O’s Broadcaster Dave: “We Really Have Been Talking About What I’ve Been Doing Lately”

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Orioles Pitching Prospect Steve Johnson on Father and O’s Broadcaster Dave: “We Really Have Been Talking About What I’ve Been Doing Lately”

Posted on 07 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Steve Johnson
Whenever Bowie Baysox pitcher Steve Johnson has a bad game, he first gets his lessons from his coaches down at the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate.

Then he gets to go home, and get schooled by his dad, current Orioles broadcaster and former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson, who we know from listening to him on the pre-and post-game shows, has his two cents to give often.

But the younger Johnson actually appreciates the advice his dad gives him, and he has for several years pitching in the Baltimore area.

“It’s actually helped,” Steve Johnson told Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction“. “It’s always something you can go back to and say, ‘what am I doing wrong?’ And luckily, he’s been able to see me pitch a couple times lately.  And we really have been talking about what I’ve been doing.”

Johnson, who came over to the Orioles from the Dodgers in the George Sherrill trade last year along with third baseman Josh Bell, is currently 3-5 down at Bowie with a 5.57 ERA for the Baysox.

He has started 16 games, holding batters to a .241 batting average in 82 innings of work while fanning 75 at the plate. So what exactly has been Johnson’s problem this year?

Johnson was quick to point out his issue. His dad, who spent parts of five seasons in the majors between the O’s, Pirates and Tigers, has been there to let him know about it. And his coaches have let it be known to the younger Johnson.

Walks-he has issued 48 free passes this spring-combined with some untimely hits have ballooned Johnson’s ERA to 5.57. Johnson knows that he is a funk right now, and he is working hard to get himself out of it.

“It’s a bit frustrating,” Johnson said. “It’s something that started this season right out of the gate. In spring training, I felt like it wasn’t there and the feel wasn’t where it needed to be.”

“I’ve been trying to find it the whole season, even when I was pitching good games. It still hasn’t felt like I am releasing the ball where I should.”

But rest assured, his confidence level and his faith in his ability to work through it has never been stronger.

“I’m working on it. I’ve been working on the side. I’ve just been in a funk, but I’ll get out of it.”

Iit been frustrating for Johnson, who has consistently pitched for extended innings for the Baysox and left the opposing teams scraping for hits; it’s just the bases-on-balls combined with untimely home runs have Johnson in a rut.

“That’s the most frustrating part. It’s when you give up eight runs and you only give up four hits doing it. That means you’re not putting the ball over the plate and making them hit the ball. And they’re hitting the ball in some bad situations. I’ve had a couple grand slams. It’s just been a couple situations where I shouldn’t have been in.”

Johnson also knows that it’s beneath a pitcher of his promise to allow those mistakes to happen; it’s just him making some unwanted mental lapses in his concentration and approach on the mound.

“I should have just thrown the ball over the plate, and made them hit it. It sounds really easy, but I’m trying to do it. When you’re throwing a lot of balls, and you finally throw one strike, you’re in for it.

Johnson does feel a little more comfortable with himself on the mound as of late, especially after pitching five strong innings against Akron on July 3.

He did walk five, but he said he tried his best to not over pitch and wanted to trust his defense behind him to do the trick. He bounced back from two straight starts where he gave up six runs in each of his appearances.

“It’s something I’m working on. I feel a little more comfortable now than a couple starts ago. There’s progress there. I know what I need to do.  I understand what I need to do now, and it’s just going out there and doing it.”

And this is actually maybe what the Orioles want to see out of Johnson. Andy MacPhail may want to see how the younger Johnson deals with adversity and struggles, and observe how he rebounds from those problems.

And Johnson hasn’t had a lot of those in his prep and early minor league career. He was born here in Baltimore with his dad pitching for the Orioles at the time, and he played his high school ball at St. Paul’s School for Boys.

During his prep career at St. Paul’s, he was an integral piece of St. Paul’s two MIAA ‘A‘ Conference titles in 2002 and 2003. He also threw two no-hitters in his senior year, and earned himself a scholarship to Boston College before signing with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers took Johnson in the 13th round of the 2005 amateur draft, and became one of LA’s top 20 prospects in the organization. When the O’s shipped closer George Sherrill to the Dodgers last year, they grabbed Bell, one of their top prospects, and brought Johnson back to his dad and the Baltimore area.

And the word is out on him apparently; as the Giants grabbed Johnson in this year’s Rule 5 draft, but with the Giants having to leave Johnson on the 25-man roster all season in order to retain his rights, they returned him back to the O’s for cash.

And knowing that the Orioles gave up a closer who made it to an All-Star game and money for him, Steve Johnson knows that they are going to expect a lot out of him, but he also has heard from Andy MacPhail and the parent club that they are going to give him all the time he needs to work out his mechanics so he is ready to face the best lineups in the major leagues.

“I know that if I have a bad year, I need to come back the next year and prove what I can do.”

“Whether it’s at the end of this year or if it takes next year to do it, you put up numbers and they’re going to have to do something with you. If not this year, I’ll do it next year. I’m not too worried about what they’re going to do with me.”

Watch Steve Johnson walk the same path his father did 20 years ago on the station that Never Stops Talking Baltimore Sports…We are WNST and WNST.net!

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Orioles’ Minor Leaguers On the Move; Britton: “This is the Last Step of the Developmental Process for Me”

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Orioles’ Minor Leaguers On the Move; Britton: “This is the Last Step of the Developmental Process for Me”

Posted on 02 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

With a lot of movement around the Orioles minor leagues over the last two days, three Baltimore prospects, including two of the organization’s top players, made the most of their opportunities with new teams.

On Wednesday night, former Delmarva pitcher Nathan Moreau, in his first start since joining the Orioles’ Single A Frederick , threw a no-hitter in his Keys debut against the Salem Red Sox.

Not a bad start for Moreau, who not only threw the sixth career no-hitter for the Keys organization, but he also threw his first ever complete game and shutout all in the same night.

Moreau told Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” that he was really focused, cause he doesn’t really remember anything that happened outside of his pitching performance.

Nathan Moreau

“I was in the zone so much that I didn’t even feel what the audience was doing,” Moreau said. “I heard some cheers after the game…but during the game I couldn’t tell you.”

And his teammates made sure to not jinx him either.

“It all started in the seventh inning. I like to talk to guys in the dugout,” Moreau said. “Everybody started moving away, so I said “okay…I’ll sit down and do the role’.”

It is arguably the best start ever for the former Georgia Bulldog, who the Orioles took in the 11th round of the 2008 draft.

His fastball was strong on the night, and the Red Sox were caught off-balance by the southpaw’s ability to change speeds. Most of his outs were recorded via fly outs, and he struck out six.

“I was able to keep the ball down for the most part of the night. They put some good swings on a couple of the balls, and the outfielders ran them out and made tough plays making awesome catches at the wall. That really helps.”

He faced the minimum 27 batters despite two errors committed; ironically, one was made by Moreau himself.

Moreau said that he started thinking he was in good position after the fourth inning, because he had a start earlier this year in Delmarva where he pitched four perfect frames and eventually lost it in the fifth.

He feels like that while he is still only in Single A, it’s just another step in his progression toward hopefully making the big league club some day.

“That’s my plan. That’s why we all play. I go out there everyday, compete, and try and put up the best numbers I can.”

The promotions continued at the Orioles’ Triple A affiliate, Norfolk, where one of the top pitching prospects in Andy MacPhail‘s organization, Zach Britton, made his Tides debut as he moved up from Bowie.
Zach Britton
In his International League debut, Britton went six innings, allowing three hits while striking out four. But he did not earn the win, posting a no decision.

Britton spent a few minutes with Luke Jones and Rex Snider before making that first start at the highest level of the Orioles farm system.

At Double-A Bowie, Britton was pitching very well and certainly that was a factor in Orioles management making the decision to change Britton’s team.

A third-round pick by the Orioles in 2006 out of high school, Britton started 14 games for the Baysox, going 7-3 with a 2.48 ERA and recorded 68 strikeouts in 76 innings.

Britton said it’s a great league for young pitchers to start to acclimated to how teams face pitchers in the major leagues, when it comes to batters seeing your repertoire.

“It’s a good league to make adjustments,” Britton said. “I faced the Kinston Indians about 10-12 times out of my 24 starts. It’s a lot of time for them to see me and make adjustments on me.  I feel like it that’s a really good league where you learn how to pitch, since you can’t keep just doing the same thing.”

But while Moreau’s trip to Baltimore may be many years away, Britton( the 2009 Carolina League Pitcher of the Year) is maybe a step or two away from the big leagues if he continues to pitch well.

And given the movement of Orioles pitchers Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, and Jake Arrieta back and forth between Norfolk and Baltimore, Britton could be one phone call away from the big leagues if an injury or a trade-maybe Kevin Millwood or Jeremy Guthrie-occurs now that he is in the mix at Triple-A.

“During spring training, my goal was to get to Baltimore. They felt like that was something I could accomplish this year… toward the end of the season. It all depends on how I go out and perform.”

“This is the last step of the developmental process for me,” Britton continued. “They given me the promotion, and I’m going to take it as a challenge and hopefully continue to do well in Triple-A.”

And finally, in last night’s game between the O’s and the Athletics, if you want to talk about curve balls, the biggest one of the day was the decision to promote third baseman Josh Bell from Triple A Norfolk to start in the finale against Oakland.

Josh Bell

The move was retroactive to Baltimore placing Luke Scott on the DL Thursday after he hurt his hamstring taking a stroll around the base path Wednesday after hitting a home run.

Bell, the centerpiece of the George Sherrill trade to the Dodgers last year, went 1-for-4 in his major league debut and recorded his first career hit in the seventh inning-a single off A’s starter Trevor Cahill. He also struck out once and also committed an error.

Bell said that he was just trying to keep his whits about him after being given the news. Bell was probably just as shocked as the fans and the media were about the decision to promote him.

I’m anxious a little bit and ready to get after it,” Bell told the Carroll County Times’ Josh Land last night. “I feel good. I thought I would be a little more nervous, but I’m trying to control it.”

Bell is probably a temporary move with both Felix Pie and Mike Gonzalez both expected to rejoin the ball club in the near future.

For now, let’s hope these prospects continue to adjust to their new teams, and Bell can tear the cover off the ball for the time he’s playing for the big league club, so much so that he either helps the O’s get some much needed wins before the All-Star break, or learns a few things about the major leagues before continuing his progression down at Norfolk.

Tune into 1570 WNST as we continue to track the progress of these and all the Orioles prospects! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Orioles promote 3B Josh Bell, place Luke Scott on DL

Posted on 01 July 2010 by Luke Jones

The Orioles have placed Luke Scott (left hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list. We saw that coming.

What we didn’t see coming was a promotion for Triple-A Norfolk third baseman Josh Bell, but he will surprisingly take Scott’s spot on the 25-man roster.

Bell batted .266 (76-286) with 24 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 74 games for the Tides. In 24 games in June, Bell hit .272 (25-92) with nine doubles, four home runs, 19 RBI and a .500 slugging percentage. Bell’s 24 doubles are second-most in the International League and tied for 12th-most in all of minor league baseball. He is tied for 10th in the league in homers.

He was acquired on July 30, 2009 along with pitcher Steve Johnson from the Los Angeles Dodgers for closer George Sherrill.

Bell will wear No. 25, most recently worn by Garrett Atkins.

Update: Bell was 1-for-4 in his debut and made a throwing error at third base in the Orioles’ 8-1 loss to the Athletics Thursday night.

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Trading For Prospects Does Work …..

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Trading For Prospects Does Work …..

Posted on 09 June 2010 by Rex Snider

I’ll be the first guy to admit that Nick Markakis has no clue of my existence on this earth. But, if he did, what would his opinion of my OPINIONS be ???

While he seems like an aloof, free spirit, Nick also gives me the impression that he’s a straight-shooter and capable of an honest appraisal of his personal efforts.

Thus, I really do wonder how he sees himself and his overall contributions, as he settles into the thick of his fifth full season in the big leagues. Is he satisfied with his overall achievements? At 26, does he feel his game is still improving? Does he feel that he’s living up to the $66 million contract?

These are fair questions.

I’d bet his honest impression is that he expects more from himself. Indeed, this is one of those situations where the fans are less critical of the player’s contributions. But, as we know, Baltimore fans love themselves some Markakis !!!!

If he’s so indispensable, why hasn’t Nick been an All Star ….. on such a crappy team full of “stopgaps” and “never were’s” ??? Where are the Gold Gloves ??? How about the occasional vote for MVP ??? Better yet, has he led the American League in ANYTHING ??? Yep – games played, in 2009. Congratulations …..

Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Nick Markakis is a good, durable ballplayer. He is not the problem for this team.

However, I still stand by my argument that his value can be a marketable commodity for a team that must start taking chances and calculated risks.

And, no, I don’t buy into the EXCUSES regarding a lack of bats surrounding Nick Markakis. The whole “they’re pitching around him” argument is an overblown consideration.

If opposing pitchers were truly pitching around him, he would be piling up the walks, right? He undoubtedly has the best eye and most disciplined stick on the team. Yet, throughout his career he’s only walked 294 times in 2908 plate appearances (-37 SAC, HBP, etc.) …..

Yup, the math says that’s a blistering 10% of the time. But, to be fair, he’s walking in 14% of his plate appearances, in 2010.

What does this suggest? PITCHERS ARE NOT PITCHING AROUND NICK MARKAKIS. In fact, they’re pitching to him !!!! He’s seeing plenty of pitches to hit …..

He’s Nick Markakis ….. not Albert Pujols.

Got it?

Once again, he’s a damn good ballplayer. He’s a nice complimentary member of a lineup. But, he’s far from being untouchable. His value should be gauged during the upcoming off-season.

In last week’s blog, I was clear on my feelings – any deal for Nick Markakis must yield “Major League Ready” prospects, not kids getting their feet wet at the AA level.

A few remarks by readers suggested that acquiring PROSPECTS “equates to setting the ballclub back.” Really? Are they on the verge of contention?

the common thought among many fans is trading for prospects is a GREAT UNKNOWN. While I think that’s partly true, the risk is certainly minimized by ensuring the prospective players have utilized tools and succeeded at every level.

No, I’m not gonna drop the “Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee” trade, again. But, here’s a few more STARS FOR PROSPECTS deals that worked out …..

2005 – Josh Beckett & Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez & Anibal Sanchez

This is one of those deals that has certainly benefited both teams. Beckett and Lowell helped deliver a World Series Championship and have been part of making the Red Sox a consistent contender.

Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez has quietly become one of the game’s best players.
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And, Anibal Sanchez is one of the National League’s most impressive young pitchers.

Who got the better end of the deal? In the long term, and if they keep the players, it looks like the Marlins probably realized the greater return. But, the Red Sox have their World Championship trophy. Regardless, the Marlins clearly benefited from dealing Beckett and Lowell.
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1991 – Glenn Davis for Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch & Steve Finley

Still hurts, huh? Some folks actually wonder about the long term damage this deal had on the Orioles. Imagine Curt Schilling spending his career in an Orioles uniform. Sorry, the vision we’ll all remember is far for damning …..
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Glenn Davis is still a bad topic for discussion in this town.
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1992 – George Bell for Sammy Sosa & Ken Patterson

Regardless of all the drama surrounding Sammy Sosa’s steroids usage, he became a bonafide slugger with the Cubs. He put hineys in the seats and made the Cubbies a contender.
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On the flip side, the White Sox wanted a slugging outfielder and Bell seemed to fit the bill. Umm ….. bad move.
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1982 – Ivan DeJesus for Larry Bowa & Ryne Sandberg

When the trade occurred, DeJesus was one of the best shortstops in the game. Although, he was the prototypical “Pre-Ripken” player. But, the 22 year old kid with “Sandberg” across his back would end up being the steal of the deal. He switched to 2nd base and today, he’s got a plaque in Cooperstown …..
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Do you think Phillies fans stil regret losing Sandberg? Well, just ask “Mike in Chase”.
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2003 – AJ Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano & Boof Bonser

The Twins swallowed their pride and traded the 26 year old Pierzynski, following three full seasons of a compiled .301 batting average and 30+ doubles. Not bad for a young backstop, huh? Pierzynski did not disappoint and he’s had a very solid Major League career.

Nathan and Liriano, on the other hand, have become dominating pitchers. Joe Nathan saved ONE GAME before joining the Twins. And, Francisco Liriano, is now fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and nearing the explosive arsenal witnessed during his rookie campaign, in 2006 ….
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How is the TRADING FOR PROSPECTS idea working out for the Twinkies ???
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2008 – Erik Bedard for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler & Kam Mickolio

The O’s parted ways with one of the American League’s best starting pitchers during Andy MacPhail’s first off-season. At 28, Bedard has lived up to his fragile makeup and “soft heart” while spending most of his Seattle tenure on the disbaled list.

Meanwhile, Adam Jones has emerged into a starting centerfielder for the Orioles. Yeah, say what you want about Jones, but he’s exhibited the characteristics of a formidable big leaguer. Sherrill was an All Star for the Orioles, and Tillman is still regarded as a prime prospect. Of the handful of players, I still think Jones will have a very nice career …..
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2007 – Mark Teixeira for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus & Matt Harrison

On the surface, you might think “the Braves HOSED the Rangers”. Well, if you’re just considering Saltalamacchia, who appears to be a BUST, I can see the point. However, the Rangers hauled in much more …..
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Neftali Feliz has emerged as the Rangers closer, converting 15 saves, with a 2.73 ERA and ultra impressive 0.94 WHIP, along with 28 strikeouts in 26 innings. Feliz throws extremely hard (has hit 100+) and benefits from a power breaking ball and nice changeup. Oh yeah, he’s 21 years old.
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The other prime contributor from the trade is Elvis Andrus. He seized the starting shortstop job as a rookie, in 2009. He’s currently hitting .311, with 18 stolen bases. Like Feliz, Andrus is only 21 years old, as well.

When this trade took place, Rangers owner, Tom Hicks, defended it by insisting he couldn’t afford to re-sign Teixeira. Well, just 3 years removed, the Rangers are bankrupt and being operated under the domain of Major League Baseball. I guess Hicks wasn’t lying, huh?

As for Teixeira, the Braves turned around and dealt him before the 2008 non-waiver deadline. And, the Angels let him walk after the 2008 season. While I don’t argue his legitimate presence in a lineup, the Rangers got a good return for him.

So, what do these trades have to do with Nick Markakis? Well, they represent PROOF that acquiring legitimate, blue chip prospects for proven Major League players does work more often than on an “occasional” basis.

Once again, I don’t want to do anything rash regarding Markakis, but he might just bring a nice package of young guys (and I don’t mean Josh Bell types) to play here for years to come. Then again, a proposed deal might fail – plenty of those trades exist, too.

But, the Orioles are a miserable 16-42 – NOTHING should be off the table.

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