Tag Archive | "Mark Reynolds"

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Orioles interested in bringing back Reynolds?

Posted on 08 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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In what figured to be a slow news day for the Orioles as they travel to San Francisco to begin a three-game series with the Giants on Friday night, the sudden availability of an old friend has sparked debate about a potential reunion.

Cleveland Indians infielder Mark Reynolds has been designated for assignment in what’s been a difficult 2013 season, leaving many to wonder if the former Orioles slugger would be a good fit as the right-handed designated hitter option the lineup has lacked all year. Of course, the Indians are in the midst of their own pennant race and don’t view Reynolds as a viable contributor as he’s hit just .215 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs, with much of that production coming over the first five weeks of the season when he got off to a hot start with his new club. His .680 on-base plus slugging percentage is a career worst by a significant margin.

According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Orioles are interested in Reynolds if Cleveland can secure trade waivers on him, which would be necessary since the non-waiver trade deadline has passed. After a club designates a player, it has 10 days to either trade, release, or place him on waivers in hopes of outrighting the player to the minor leagues.

Since May 7, Reynolds has hit .179 with five home runs and 21 RBIs and has posted an abysmal .532 OPS while striking out 96 times in 267 plate appearances. Always known to be a streaky hitter as many Orioles fans can frustratingly recall, the Indians finally gave up after a three-month slump in which he’s been relegated to the bench for poor play.

The Orioles’ struggles at the DH spot are well documented this season as the position has produced a .210 average with 16 home runs, 46 RBIs, and a .389 slugging percentage, numbers not terribly different from what Reynolds brought to the Indians this year. Rookie Henry Urrutia has been the most recent to receive an opportunity as the DH against right-handed pitching, but he’s shown little power potential while hitting .273 in 44 plate appearances.

Switch-hitting veteran Wilson Betemit began a minor-league rehab assignment earlier this week, but he would only make sense as a DH option against right-handed pitching with his well-documented deficiencies against left-handers.

Currently, outfielder Steve Pearce and catcher Taylor Teagarden are the only right-handed bats off the bench, but a corner infielder wouldn’t provide as much defensive versatility as Pearce. This season, Reynolds is hitting .215 with six homers and 20 RBIs while posting a .745 OPS against southpaws.

Reynolds signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Indians last winter after the Orioles expressed no interest in retaining his services — declining an $11 million club option before eventually non-tendering him — but the 30-year-old was popular in the clubhouse and may feel revitalized returning to Baltimore where he expressed a preference to stay at the end of last season.

His numbers are alarmingly trending in the wrong direction this year after what was already an underwhelming 2012 season with the Orioles, but if he’s simply a waiver claim or the Indians would simply send him Baltimore’s way for cash considerations or a no-name minor leaguer, it might be worth the gamble that Reynolds can get hot for some portion of the final two months of the season.

But if the asking price is any more, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette should aim higher if he’s serious about adding a right-handed DH option to the 25-man roster. Realistically speaking, the executive should be looking to do better regardless of the cost to acquire Reynolds, who seems like more of a fingers-crossed hope than a real solution at this point.

In his two seasons in Baltimore, Reynolds hit .221 with 60 home runs, 155 RBIs, and a .786 OPS in 290 games.

 

 

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Ten Orioles thoughts with April in the books

Posted on 01 May 2013 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles concluding the opening month of the 2013 season by tying a franchise record with 16 wins in April, here are 10 thoughts to ponder as May begins:

1. Jason Hammel leads the club with four wins, but we’ve yet to see the 2012 version of the de facto ace show up this season. That’s not to say the right-hander hasn’t been one of the Orioles’ better starting pitchers, but the two-seam fastball that led to his renaissance last season hasn’t shown nearly the same bite through six starts this year. Despite a 3.79 earned run average, Hammel is averaging just 5.9 innings per start and his 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings is down dramatically from the 8.6 rate he held last season. Always possessing strong breaking stuff, Hammel needs to find a better feel for his two-seamer in order to make the rest of his repertoire more explosive. There was little debate that 2012 was a career season for Hammel prior to the knee surgery in July, but the Orioles didn’t actively pursue an impact starting pitcher with the thought — wise or not — that they had a pitcher with top-of-the rotation stuff. They’ll need better from Hammel over the next five months of the season.

2. Chris Davis’ historic opening-week start gained the most attention, but the free-swinging first baseman also collected 16 walks in April. His nine home runs have garnered plenty of press as opponents are pitching the left-handed slugger very carefully since the beginning of the season, but the walk totals have led many — including me — to praise Davis for an improved level of patience at the plate after he walked only 37 times during the 2012 season. However, the 27-year-old is seeing just 3.79 pitches per plate appearance after averaging 4.00 pitches per trip to the plate a year ago. Part of this can be explained by Davis’ strikeout rate decreasing (one every 3.5 at-bats compared to one per 3.0 at-bats last year), but it also indicates his walk numbers may not be sustained as his bat inevitably cools off at different points in the season. Regardless of just how much more patient Davis has become at the plate or not, it’s difficult to dispute how much of a force he’s become since the beginning of last season, making his acquisition in the Koji Uehara deal in 2011 a brilliant one by former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.

3. The decisions to let go of Mark Reynolds and Joe Saunders weren’t the problem, but electing not to replace them is looking more and more like a mistake. Anyone who expects the former Orioles first baseman to continue hitting .300 like he did in his first month with Cleveland will likely be disappointed, but his eight home runs would look very good in the Baltimore lineup right now. Considering Orioles designated hitters batted .144 and posted a .502 on-base plus slugging percentage in April, Reynolds occupying that role or first base — with Davis handling the other — would be a major boost to the lineup. Meanwhile, Saunders pitched a complete game against the Orioles on Monday night but has been abysmal away from Safeco Field (12.51 ERA) so far. As I said during the offseason, letting go of Reynolds and Saunders was fine if the intention was to upgrade each of their spots and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette expressed the desire to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat and a veteran starting pitcher. However, neither of those goals were accomplished and that could continue to plague the Orioles throughout 2013.

4. Zach Britton turned in a poor 2013 debut, but his quick demotion sends the wrong message to the organization’s young pitchers. No one expected the 25-year-old left-hander to have a long leash given the higher expectations in Baltimore these days, but I can’t subscribe to the idea of sending down a pitcher who you hope will fit into your future after only one rough start. This creates the impression that young pitchers looking for their chance in Baltimore need to be perfect, which isn’t a mindset conducive to being successful. I also wonder what kind of message it sends to Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin, who gave their recommendation for Britton to be the next call-up after Josh Stinson’s failed start last week. A spot start for an organizational depth guy like Stinson or even a journeyman like Freddy Garcia is fine, but if the expectation all along was for Britton to only receive one chance, the club would have been better served leaving him in Norfolk and not messing with his head. Again, allowing six earned runs in six innings was far from acceptable, but it wasn’t the type of disastrous outing that warranted an immediate exit.

5. It’s safe to say Nolan Reimold has yet to adjust to his new role as the club’s primary designated hitter. Reimold has two home runs, five RBIs, and a 1.029 OPS in 29 plate appearances as the club’s left fielder, but the 29-year-old has posted an ugly .477 OPS with one homer and two RBIs in 52 plate appearances while serving in the DH spot. The problem for Reimold is the remarkable play of Nate McLouth, who has been more productive at the plate and is better defensively in the outfield. Manager Buck Showalter can’t justify taking McLouth out of left field, so Reimold needs to adjust to his new role, which can be difficult for individuals accustomed to being in the game as a defensive player. The good news for Reimold is that he’s remained healthy after undergoing spinal fusion surgery last year, but the Orioles must get better production from the designated hitter or will need to begin looking at other options for the role. It’s fair to acknowledge he’s still regaining strength and is adjusting to not having quite as much range of motion in his neck after the surgery, but Reimold would be the first to tell you he needs to be better at the plate.

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Deadline looming to offer contract to Reynolds

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Having until Friday to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Orioles are appearing more and more unlikely to do so with first base Mark Reynolds, meaning he could hit the open market by the end of the week.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette already declined an $11 million club option last month — for which Reynolds was paid a $500,000 buyout — and the Orioles appear to be lukewarm to the idea of taking the 29-year-old to arbitration where he could command somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 million. Reynolds made $7.5 million in 2012 and would likely receive a raise in arbitration despite hitting only 23 home runs — his lowest total since his rookie season — and posting a career-low .429 slugging percentage this year.

According to a MASN report, the Orioles are attempting to sign Reynolds to a new deal prior to Friday’s deadline, which would pay him a lower salary than the projected figure he’d be awarded in arbitration but would likely offer the first baseman more security with an extra year or two on a deal while coming off arguably the worst season of his career. Reynolds batted .221 with 23 home runs, 69 runs batted in, and a .335 on-base percentage in 538 plate appearances.

After committing six errors in 15 games at third base early last season, Reynolds moved to first base where he showed improved defense, even if fielding metrics suggest many have overrated his work at the new position. Despite the defensive concerns being alleviated last season, Reynolds drop in power was a major concern after he slugged 37 home runs in his first season with the Orioles.

Few would dispute the premise of the Orioles trying to upgrade at first base, but the limited options on the free-agent market make it difficult to swallow the idea of simply allowing Reynolds to hit the open market, where he would be viewed as one of the better options at first base. Aside from veteran Adam LaRoche, who will command much more money than Reynolds’ arbitration projection, other options at first base include Mike Napoli, Lance Berkman, James Loney, and Carlos Pena.

Of course, the Orioles could elect to move Chris Davis to first base if they’re unable to work out an agreement with Reynolds, but they would then have to address the designated hitter spot in addition to left field, where they are still hoping to re-sign Nate McLouth to an affordable contract.

Despite his flaws, Reynolds still might be the best of the realistic options available as he likely would be motivated to prove his down year was an aberration if he were playing on a one-year deal. It’s also important to remember the former third baseman shed 20 pounds in order to improve his agility at the hot corner last offseason, which might be a factor in explaining his decreased power numbers in 2012. Knowing he’s now viewed as a first baseman, Reynolds could elect to add extra bulk to his frame to help revitalize his power numbers.

Looking beyond the low batting average and high strikeout numbers that give traditional fans fits, Reynolds holds more value than most realize if his power numbers were to return to the 2011 level in which he finished fourth in home runs in the American League. In 2012, he led the club in walks (73) and had the second-best on-base percentage on the club behind Nick Markakis despite playing in only 135 games.

Even at a projected $9 million price tag in arbitration, a third season of Reynolds with no commitment beyond 2013 would appear to make sense with a final chance to evaluate whether he’s part of the long-term plans at first base, but it’s looking like the Orioles appear content to let him hit the open market where it will be more difficult to retain his services. It’s a bold move considering the few options out there and the limited commodities in the farm system to offer in a trade, so it will be interesting to see if the club ultimately allows Reynolds to walk if contract talks are unsuccessful and Duquette is forced into making a decision on Friday.

The Orioles have a total of 14 arbitration-eligible players this offseason, which include:

INF Alexi Casilla
DH/OF Chris Davis
P Jason Hammel
P Tommy Hunter
P Jim Johnson
P Brian Matusz
P Darren O’Day
P Troy Patton
OF Steve Pearce
INF Omar Quintanilla
OF Nolan Reimold
1B Mark Reynolds
C Taylor Teagarden
C Matt Wieters

Third-base coach options

With former third-base coach DeMarlo Hale officially leaving the Orioles to become the new bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, the club is now looking at several candidates to replace him on manager Buck Showalter’s staff.

Various outlets are reporting former Rockies third base coach and former Orioles second baseman Rich Dauer and former Indians and Rangers third base coach Steve Smith as the primary outside candidates to take Hale’s place. Dauer would be the sentimental favorite and has extensive coaching experience in the big leagues while Smith has familiarity with Showalter, serving as his third base coach in Texas.

Former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu would also be an intriguing candidate after he nearly became the Orioles bench coach a couple seasons ago. He served as Showalter’s bench coach in Texas but also has experience as a third-base coach.

As for internal candidates, coordinator of minor league instruction Brian Graham and minor league infield coordinator Bobby Dickerson are reportedly on the short list.

Local product moves on

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Reynolds’ hand good to go and other notes for ALDS opener

Posted on 06 October 2012 by Luke Jones

When Mark Reynolds was plunked on the left hand by Rangers starter Yu Darvish in the second inning of Friday night’s game in Arlington, the Orioles feared the worst for their first baseman.

The club saw Nick Markakis break his thumb after being hit by a similar pitch nearly a month ago, but the news was better for Reynolds, who stayed in the game to finish an 0-for-3 night at the plate. He is expected to be in the lineup against the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

“This guy is a very tough, durable man, but that one had a little different look in his face,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I initially thought it might be broken. I haven’t heard anything yet, but I’d be surprised if he’s not a player [Sunday] night.”

Showalter officially named right-hander Jason Hammel as his Game 1 starter, but he wouldn’t go as far as naming the rest of his rotation. Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez will likely be the next two in line to pitch in the five-game series, but an uncertain weather forecast could alter plans.

Sunday is expected to be a very rainy day, which could put the series opener in danger of postponement. This would mean the Orioles and Yankees would play the entire series in five days without a day built in for travel. A postponement would alter the Orioles’ plans for the 25-man roster, which must be finalized by Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

“Right now, we’re probably looking at Chen and Gonzalez in [Games] 2 and 3, but that could change, depending on the rainout,” Showalter said. “If we have a rainout, then a lot of things change because we can resubmit a different roster provided we don’t exchange lineup cards.”

Showalter would presumably go with Chris Tillman in the fourth game of the series in the Bronx, but what the Orioles decide to do after that remains to be seen. With no postponements, Hammel would be on regular rest for a potential Game 5, but left-hander Joe Saunders made a pretty convincing argument for his spot in the rotation after pitching 5 2/3 strong innings against the Rangers on Friday night.

As for the rest of the roster, Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette were to finalize plans after Saturday’s workout. The Orioles are monitoring the health of several players, including Wilson Betemit since the switch-hitter has seen his wrist improve dramatically since last playing on Sept. 13.

“There are a couple variables, like Betemit swung the bat and felt really good today,” Showalter said. “First time he took extended batting practice and he’s coming along quickly. We’re looking at a few injuries.”

The return of Betemit would give the Orioles a viable left-handed bat off the bench, regardless of whether Showalter would elect to use Thome or Betemit as the designated hitter in a given game. Betemit hit .302 against right-handed pitching this season, posting an .859 on-base plus slugging percentage. In contrast, Betemit is hitting only .140 from the right side of the plate against southpaws.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi revealed the rest of his starting rotation behind Game 1 starter CC Sabathia on Saturday. Veteran lefty Andy Pettitte will pitch Game 2 in Baltimore, Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3, and Phil Hughes in the fourth game of the series if necessary.

Sabathia would presumably return on regular rest for a potential Game 5 at Yankee Stadium, but those plans could change if Sunday’s game is rained out.

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Five biggest Orioles disappointments of first half

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Luke Jones

After recognizing the biggest individual surprises of the Orioles’ first half, it’s strange finding a large number of individual disappointments despite the club’s 45-40 start.

Amazingly, the Orioles have managed to find so much success despite their obvious flaws as a number of individuals have failed to meet expectations and others have been injured, leaving major holes and question marks as the club begins the second half on Friday. Even though they currently hold the second wild card position in the American League, the club’s minus-36 run differential (12th in the AL) is indicative of a group due for a substantial market correction in terms of wins and losses.

Many wonder how much longer the Orioles will remain afloat — in terms of staying in the wild card race, at least — after losing 13 of their last 19 game and scoring only 61 runs in their last 22 contests. In addition to their recent offensive struggles, three-fifths of the starting rotation entering the season was recently demoted to Triple-A Norfolk, putting an even greater strain on the Orioles’ dominating bullpen to keep them in games.

Regardless of how optimistic or pessimistic you might be about the Orioles’ chances, the next two weeks of baseball will go a long way in determining how active the club will be at the trade deadline.

Here are my five biggest individual disappointments of the Orioles’ first half:

Not-so-honorable mention: Tommy Hunter, Kevin Gregg, Nolan Reimold’s neck injury, Tsuyoshi Wada’s elbow injury, Brian Roberts’ hip injury

5. Endy Chavez

The 34-year-old wasn’t signed to be a full-time starter, but the Orioles figured they were getting a decent insurance policy for Opening Day left fielder Nolan Reimold when Chavez inked a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Instead, the 170-pound outfielder hasn’t even hit his weight in an injury-plagued, miserable first half.

While Chavez has made two different trips to the disabled list with intercostal and hamstring injuries, his abysmal .162 average in 105 at-bats makes him fortunate to even have a job at this point. Chavez figured to become the default left fielder when Reimold went down with a herniated disc in his neck, but his poor play has created a colossal hole in left field that manager Buck Showalter has attempted to fill with converted infielders (Steve Tolleson and Ryan Flaherty), journeymen veterans (Steve Pearce and Bill Hall), and a raw rookie (Xavier Avery).

Having completed his minor league rehab assignment over the All-Star break, Chavez is expected to rejoin the club on Friday, but his .402 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) must climb immediately for the organization to justify keeping him around much longer. The left-hander has a career .269 average over 11 major league seasons and hit .301 over 256 at-bats in a part-time role with Texas last year, making his horrendous first half even more shocking.

4. J.J. Hardy

Coming off a tremendous year in his first season in Baltimore, the shortstop has dealt with a tender shoulder since spring training and his production at the plate has dropped dramatically in 2012.

Hardy has never been a great hitter for average (.259 in eight seasons), but his .224 mark at the break reflects the horrendous slump he’s endured since late May. In his last 37 games, the 29-year-old is hitting .172 with two home runs and nine runs batted in.

The club’s widespread struggles at the plate and injuries to Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis have limited questions about Hardy remaining in the No. 2 spot in the order, but Showalter will have no choice but to drop Hardy in the order if his .262 on-base percentage doesn’t improve soon. Even if Hardy’s production reflected his career numbers, he’s more suited to hit in the No. 6 or 7 spot to drive in more runs with his above-average power at the shortstop position.

Hardy’s defense is still a major asset for a defensively-challenged club, but the Orioles desperately need him to look more like the hitter he was in 2011 if they’re going to remain in the playoff hunt in the second half.

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Davis more than folk hero for Orioles in surprising 2012 season

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Chris Davis might be the best example of what the 2012 Orioles are all about.

Entering the season with untapped potential and more failure than success at the big-league level, both Davis and the Orioles have blossomed in the first 2 1/2 months of the season, surpising critics and even the most optimistic fans in what’s been Baltimore’s best start since 2005.

The 26-year-old Davis has morphed into a fan favorite in his first full season with the Orioles, not only becoming one of the team’s most productive hitters but providing one of the craziest memories in club history when he pitched two innings to earn the win in a 17-inning marathon at Fenway Park on May 6.

Add a broken-bat home run against Pittsburgh last week and his first games in right field at the big-league level this past weekend in Atlanta and you have all the makings of a folk hero in Baltimore.

Much like the 39-27 Orioles, at times, it’s difficult to believe what you’re seeing when watching the designated hitter/first baseman/right fielder/pitching extraordinaire.

But there’s no understating how important Davis’ emergence has been this season, especially with stints on the disabled list by Nolan Reimold, Mark Reynolds, and Nick Markakis. Center fielder Adam Jones has emerged as a superstar by leading the Orioles in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and runs scored, but Davis ranks second or third in all five of those categories in becoming a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat in the lineup.

His 12 home runs and 60 strikeouts in 211 at-bats entering Monday night aren’t overly surprising given Davis’ reputation when the Orioles acquired him in the Koji Uehara trade last July, but his .294 average defies what we saw over his last three years in Texas where Davis went from looking like a future star in 2008 to a player fitting the mold of a “Quad-A” hitter before being dealt.

The raw power has never come into question — evident by his broken-bat homer to right field off Pittsburgh reliever Tommy Watson last Wednesday — as Davis hit 17 home runs and batted .285 in 295 at-bats during his rookie season with the Rangers in 2008. However, the left-handed slugger quickly earned the reputation of a hitter who struck out too much, didn’t walk enough, and struggled to handle plus-fastballs in the major leagues. Those flaws led his batting average to plummet to .238 in 2009 and .192 in 2010, causing Davis to bounce back and forth between the Rangers and Triple A in his final three years in Texas.

It was difficult to project Davis as anything more than a less-patient, less-powerful version of Reynolds entering the season, which didn’t speak highly for his potential when considering how flawed Reynolds is as a player.

In 2012, Davis hasn’t made any dramatic changes to his overall approach — 60 strikeouts to just 13 walks — but his improvement against plus-fastballs has led to the substantial increase in average. A career .204 hitter in 255 career at-bats against power pitchers (those in the top third in the league in strikeouts plus walks) entering 2012, Davis has handled them at a .286 rate in 42 at-bats this season.

Davis has also handled left-handed pitching at a far more successful clip, batting .327 in 53 plate appearances against southpaws in 2012 after hitting only .236 against lefties in 275 career at-bats entering 2012.

While his high strikeout and low walk totals aren’t indicative of a hitter that will continue to hover around the .300 mark, Davis has been a model of consistency through his first 57 games this season. Aside from an abysmal seven-game stretch in May in which he went 3-for-28 and struck out 14 times, the left-hander has consistently sat somewhere between .290 and .310 as we reach the final two weeks of June. His .355 batting average for balls put in play indicates Davis has been fortunate, but it’s actually lower than the .366 combined clip he posted last year for the Rangers and Orioles.

When seeing the ball well, Davis shows exceptional power to straightaway center and the opposite field has eight of his 12 home runs have traveled in either of those directions.

After Markakis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken hamate bone, manager Buck Showalter turned to Davis to hold down the No. 3 spot in the order as the Orioles were depleted even further offensively. He’s hit only .206 in 34 at-bats batting third, but the lineup shift could present an interesting decision for Showalter when Markakis returns — projected to be some time during the next homestand, according to the right fielder.

Should Davis remain around the .300 mark, would you consider keeping him in the third spot and moving Markakis to the No. 2 slot? The move would allow Showalter to drop J.J. Hardy in the order, which would make sense with the shortstop hitting only .253 despite 11 home runs.

Whatever the Baltimore skipper decides, it’s a good problem to have.

For a team suffering its fair share of injuries and not receiving the same power numbers it enjoyed from Reynolds a season ago, Davis’ emergence has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season.

His willingness to do whatever is asked of him reflects the spirit of the 2012 Orioles.

Need someone to pitch? Not a problem.

You want to put me in right field in a National League ballpark, even though I’ve never played there in the big leagues? Sure thing.

Whatever it takes to win.

Much like watching the Orioles, you keep waiting and wondering if it’s going to last, but Davis has given no indication of slowing down any time soon.

And he just might be realizing the potential so many saw in him when he first arrived in the big leagues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Orioles activate Reynolds, place Pomeranz on 15-day DL

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles today announced that they have reinstated infielder Mark Reynolds from the disabled list and placed right-handed pitcher Stu Pomeranz on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 26, with a left oblique injury.

Reynolds was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 11 with a strained left oblique. He is batting .191/.324/.337 with two home runs and nine RBI in 27 games for the Orioles this season. He has hit safely in five of his last seven games before going on the DL, batting .348/.484/.739 with five extra-base hits in that time.

Pomeranz has pitched to a 3.00 ERA (6.0IP, 2ER) in three appearances for the Orioles. He did not allowed an earned run in 10 appearances this season with Triple-A Norfolk (five games, 10.0IP) and Double-A Bowie (five games, 13.1IP), striking out 35 and walking three.

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Roberts doubles, scores for Baysox in win

Posted on 27 May 2012 by WNST Staff

BOWIE, Md. – The Baysox (21-28) offense scored four early runs and the bullpen protected the lead the rest of the way as Bowie topped Altoona (22-26) 4-2 Sunday afternoon.

For the second game in a row, the Baysox offense did not record many hits, but took advantage of the opportunities they had to get enough runs on the board to win the game. The Baysox bullpen pitched five and one-third innings of one run ball behind an injured Bobby Bundy to hold the lead for the remainder of the game.

“What was great about today is that we got some big hits – some extra-base hits,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “We have gotten beat by teams with extra-base hits early in the season – guys are on and a guy comes up with a double and all of a sudden they are driving runs in. Offensively, there were some guys in the lineup that are not where they normally are, but they are competing out there and I will take those good at-bats and their effort in winning games.”

Three Baltimore Orioles players were in the Baysox lineup again Sunday afternoon on Major League rehab assignments. Brian Roberts started the game at second base and went 1-3 with a double and a run scored. Mark Reynolds played third base and went 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Endy Chavez played left field and went 0-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Altoona again struck first Sunday, this time scoring in the top of the first inning against right-handed starting pitcher Bobby Bundy. Leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman doubled to center field and Tony Sanchez hit a one out double to center field to plate Grossman and give Altoona a 1-0 lead.

The Baysox tied the score in the bottom of the first inning against Altoona starter Matt McSwain. Left fielder Chavez drew a one out walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch with center fielder LJ Hoes batting. Hoes then hit a two out double to center field to plate Chavez and tie the game 1-1.

“Batting clean-up has been a change – I have been seeing a lot more off-speed stuff, but it’s been nice because [the Orioles rehabbers] are always on base,” Hoes said.” My approach has been to go out there and just try to make good contact with the ball to drive a runner in some way.”

Bowie took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Designated hitter Buck Britton drew a lead off walk and catcher Allan de San Miguel followed with a one out home run to left field. Roberts doubled to left field and moved to third base when Chavez grounded out. Reynolds then drew a walk and Roberts scored when Hoes reached on a fielder’s choice and throwing error by the shortstop that made the score 4-1.

The Curve got one run back in the top of the fifth inning against left-handed reliever Chris Petrini. Kelson Brown hit a one out single to right field and stole second base with Brock Holt batting. With two outs, Holt singled to center field to plate Brown and make the score 4-2.

Bundy pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out four batters and walking two in the no decision. He exited the game in the top of the fourth inning with an apparent injury.

Petrini pitched three and one-third innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out four batters in relief of Bundy. Petrini also earned his third win of the season. Left-handed reliever Pedro Viola pitched one and one-third scoreless innings in relief and allowed one hit while striking out one batter. Closer Greg Burke recorded the final two outs of the ninth inning to earn the save.

McSwain earned the loss for Altoona, pitching seven innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits while striking out five batters and walking three.

RHP Oliver Drake (0-1, 2.25) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they play the final game in a four game home series against the Altoona Curve. He will be opposed by RHP Phil Irwin (0-2, 5.19).

The Baysox are home through Monday, May 28 for an eight game home stand that concludes on Memorial Day with a game starting at 2:05 p.m. The team then departs to Akron for a three game road trip before returning to Bowie Friday, June 1 for a three game home stand against Reading.

 

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Britton allows 3H, 2BB over 5IP for Bowie in rehab start

Posted on 27 May 2012 by WNST Staff

BOWIE, Md. – With three Baltimore Orioles players in the line-up, the Baysox (20-28) rolled past Altoona (22-25) 9-6 Saturday night to end a four game losing streak against the Curve.

The Baysox offense scored their nine runs on just eight hits, but were able to take advantage of seven walks to get the offense going. In the team’s four run second inning, the offense recorded just two hits, but also drew four walks to get more runners on base.

“We took advantage of some walks to give us a lead,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “We also had one inning where we came through with a base hit and then we got a two-run home run. I thought we ran the bases well and we took advantage of some stolen bases – we will take runs any way they come.”

Baltimore Orioles left-handed starting pitcher Zach Britton made his season debut for the Baysox Saturday evening, pitching five innings and allowing two unearned runs on three hits while striking out six and walking two in the win.

“I think tonight was a successful start,” said Zach. “I got my pitch count up and I definitely threw a lot more breaking balls than I normally would, but I just wanted to get the feel for that. Towards the end I got a little tired, but overall I though it was pretty good.”

Baysox right fielder Buck Britton, the older brother of pitcher Zach Britton, had a strong game in support of his brother Saturday. He went 2-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. This is the third season in a row that the two brothers have had some limited opportunities to play with each other.

“At that time in the game, I felt like we needed a big hit, the count went to 3-2 and I got a fastball over the plate and I put a good swing on it,” Buck said, “Last year every time [Zach] pitched I would hit a home run too. I don’t know what it is – I guess sometimes the Britton’s just get going.”

The Baysox also had two other Orioles players making Major League Rehab Appearances with the Baysox Saturday – third baseman Mark Reynolds and left fielder Endy Chavez. Reynolds finished the game 1-4 with a walk, two strikeouts and a fielding error. Chavez was 1-5 with two runs scored.

For the sixth time this homestand, the Baysox opponent scored first. Saturday night, Altoona struck first with two runs in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Miles Durham drew a walk and then moved to second base when Quincy Latimore reached on a fielding error by Reynolds. Elevys Gonzalez then singled to left field to score Durham and move Latimore to third when he scored on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0.

The Baysox jumped back into the lead in the bottom of the second inning against Altoona starter Nathan Baker. With one out, shortstop Manny Machado was hit by a pitch and catcher Caleb Joseph followed by drawing a walk. Buck singled to right field to load the bases and designated hitter Josh Barfield hit an infield single to score the first run. Chavez grounded into a force out and second baseman Jonathan Schoop followed by drawing a walk to score another run. With Reynolds batting, Baker threw a wild pitch that advanced all the runners and plated Barfield. Reynolds then drew a walk to load the bases and Baker was called for a balk with center fielder LJ Hoes batting to plate Chavez and give the Baysox a 4-2 lead.

Bowie extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning against Altoona reliever Kyle Cofield. Hoes drew a lead off walk and scored from first base on a double to center field by first baseman Robbie Widlansky. With two outs, Buck homered to center field to give the Baysox a 7-2 lead. Jeff Inman replaced Cofield on the mound to finish the inning.

The Curve got back in the game in the top of the sixth inning against left-handed pitcher Jake Pettit. Matt Curry hit a one out single to left field and Durham drew a two out walk. Latimore then hit a three-run home run to left-center field that made the score 7-5.

The Baysox again extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hoes drew a two out walk and stole second base with Widlansky batting. Widlansky then singled to center field to plate Hoes and extend the Baysox lead to 8-5.

Bowie added another insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning against Altoona reliever Vic Black. Chavez hit a lead off single to second base and scored on a Mark Reynolds double to right field after a throwing error by the right fielder to make the score 9-5.

Altoona mounted a last rally in the top of the ninth inning against right-handed reliever Kyler Newby. Elevys Gonzalez hit a one out double, but was then thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple. Robbie Grossman then hit a two out single to center field and scored when Brock Holt doubled to left field to make the score 9-6. Right-handed reliever Greg Burke entered to finish the ninth inning and record the save.

Pettit pitched two innings and allowed three runs on three hits while striking out two batters and walking one. Newby pitched one and two-thirds innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out four batters.

Baker earned the loss for the Curve, pitching three innings and allowed four runs on three hits while striking out three batters and walking five.

RHP Bobby Bundy (2-7, 5.26) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they play the third game in a four game home series against the Altoona Curve.

The Baysox are home through Monday, May 28 for an eight game home stand. Baltimore Orioles players Brian Roberts, Mark Reynolds and Endy Chavez will be making Major League Rehab Appearances with the Baysox over the weekend.

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Orioles roster stands pat as Yankees come to town

Posted on 14 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Barring something unforeseen such as a player slipping on the wet dugout steps or the mascot eating some bad birdseed, the Orioles will avoid making a roster move for the first time in a week.

Beginning with last Monday, the club has made 22 individual roster moves, optioning five players to the minors, selecting the contract of five, recalling three, placing three on the 15-day disabled list, sending two to the 60-day disabled list, and designating three for assignment. Needless to say, it’s been difficult to track as a reporter or a fan over the last week.

The Orioles welcome the New York Yankees to town for a brief two-game set with Jason Hammel making his return to the mound for the first time in nine days after a sore right knee forced him to be pushed back a few days. With the bullpen having thrown 5 1/3 innings in Sunday’s loss, manager Buck Showalter would prefer to see a lengthy outing from Hammel, who has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his six starts this year.

While the return of Hammel is a piece of good news for a club stricken with injuries in recent days, the latest update on left fielder Nolan Reimold did not sound very encouraging. After receiving an epidural injection for the bulging disc in his neck a few days ago, Reimold has not felt any significant improvement, according to Showalter.

Reimold could receive a series of three injections, but the training staff was hoping Reimold would respond more favorably to the first shot. He is eligible to return from the disabled list on Wednesday, but Showalter’s comments before the start of the New York series did not suggest an imminent return for the outfielder.

“He doesn’t seem to be markedly better,” Showalter said. “Initially, that’s part of a three-shot series, but some people recover and get great results from just the first one or the second one. There doesn’t seem to be the marked improvement we had hoped that Monday would bring.”

In Reimold’s absence, Showalter has used several different players at the top of the order, including the now-injured Endy Chavez, Ryan Flaherty, and Xavier Avery, who made his major league debut on Sunday and was in the leadoff spot again on Monday. Second baseman Robert Andino has hit in the top spot in the order against a few left-handed starters this season, and Showalter said he’s considered moving him into the leadoff spot on a more permanent basis — at least until Reimold returns.

“Robert is a weapon for us down below, and it stretches our lineup out,” Showalter said. “I’ve looked at the numbers where he’s concerned leading off and hitting in other places. I’m not saying it won’t happen — it could. But, I’d like to exhaust other possibilities before we have to go there. We’re still holding out hope that [Brian Roberts] comes back and takes back over that spot at some point.”

Andino carries a .328 on-base percentage this season and is a career .238 hitter in 178 plate appearances while hitting in the top spot in the order. He has batted .267 in 568 career plate appearances in the No. 9 slot.

The Orioles are still awaiting word on what the doctors make of the MRI on reliever Matt Lindstrom’s right middle finger. Lindstrom was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday after feeling a pop in the finger in the final game of the Texas series on Thursday.

Tommy Hunter will make the start in Kansas City on Wednesday, meaning Dana Eveland has been moved to the bullpen to serve as a much-needed long reliever for the time being.

Triple-A Norfolk pitcher Joel Pineiro missed his scheduled start on Sunday due to soreness in his shoulder capsule, but Showalter expressed optimism that it wasn’t considered a serious concern.

And in the latest chapter in a bitterly disappointing career for former first-round pick Billy Rowell, a 50-game suspension has been handed down to the 23-year-old for violating the minor league drug prevention and treatment program for the second time. He becomes the third minor league player in the organization to be suspended this year, joining catchers Brian Ward and Michael Ohlman.

The Orioles were attempting to make Rowell a pitcher in Sarasota, but there were few indications much progress was being made in that project prior to the suspension. He is listed on short-season Single-A Aberdeen’s roster, meaning his suspension will not begin until the start of the season in June.

Here are Monday night’s lineups…

New York
SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Alex Rodgriuez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Eric Chavez
C Russell Martin

SP Ivan Nova (4-1, 5.02 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Xavier Avery
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
3B Wilson Betemit
1B Chris Davis
DH Nick Johnson
2B Robert Andino

SP Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.09 ERA)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Buck Showalter and remember to follow us on Twitter for live updates and analysis from Camden Yards throughout the evening.

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