Posted on 19 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 19 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 18 April 2014 by WNST Staff
Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Thursday…
* Alexi Casilla drove in two runs, but Triple-A Norfolk fell 3-2 to Durham
* Tim Berry pitched six strong innings despite Double-A Bowie losing a 3-2 final to Akron
* Michael Burgess homered and Adrian Marin drove in two to lead Single-A Frederick to a 7-3 win over Winston-Salem
* Steve Brault threw seven shutout innings as Single-A Delmarva won 3-1 over Greensboro
Posted on 16 April 2014 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — Miguel Gonzalez earned the win and Tommy Hunter secured his fourth save, but it was Zach Britton who deserved a gold star for his work in the Orioles’ 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
The left-handed pitcher moved his streak of scoreless innings to 11 1/3 to begin the season after blanking the Rays over three frames to bridge the gap from Gonzalez’s five-inning start to Hunter in the ninth inning as Baltimore swept an abbreviated two-game set in unseasonably cold conditions on Wednesday afternoon. Britton wasn’t perfect in his longest appearance of the season, but his strikeout of Wil Myers on a low-and-away sinking fastball in the seventh not only thwarted a bases-loaded scoring chance but provided the latest example of just how dependable the 26-year-old has been.
Entering spring training without any minor-league options remaining and coming off two straight disappointing seasons in which he battled a tender shoulder and inconsistency, Britton has embraced his middle-relief role while being one of the Orioles’ most valuable players thus far. He’s allowed just four hits and has struck out seven while walking four in his 11 1/3 innings this season.
“The first weapon is that he can get left- and right-handed hitters out,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s huge for a relief pitcher. He’s in a good place right now. You can see it presentation-wise as much as physically. We had other people who could pitch, but the situation puts you in a nice little rocking chair sometimes when you have a left-handed pitcher who can defend himself against right-handers. And that comes from his starting background and also comes from a pretty good sinker.”
Britton’s effectiveness with a sinker consistently in the low to mid-90s has led some to question whether the southpaw is worthy of another chance in the starting rotation. Showalter was comfortable in allowing Britton to throw 42 pitches since he hadn’t pitched since a 30-pitch outing on Saturday, but this development was particularly interesting given that the Orioles used only two relievers on Monday, were rained out Tuesday, and will enjoy another off-day Thursday before beginning a four-game set against the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.
Beyond right-hander Evan Meek, who pitched 1 2/3 innings Monday and was dealing with flu-like symptoms over the last two days, the rest of the bullpen was fresh even though Showalter alluded to other relievers potentially feeling the effects of the bug that’s been going through the Baltimore clubhouse over the last week.
Of course, Showalter isn’t going to broadcast any potential desire to stretch out Britton to the point that he would once again become a starting option and the latest turn through the rotation — sans Ubaldo Jimenez — provided improved results, but there’s no harm in having a relief option that can bring both length and results in close games like Britton has done. It’s the same way the Orioles used Arthur Rhodes — another former left-handed starting prospect — with great results in their 1996 and 1997 playoff seasons.
Before arguing that Britton should move into the rotation, it’s important to acknowledge that what he’s done while facing hitters one time through the order is a different story from being entrusted to retire batters three or four different times as a starter. Assuming success in relief translates into being an effective starting pitcher is often fool’s gold, and Britton has found a niche working out of the bullpen.
The temptation is certainly there to envision him as a starter again, even if the memory of his 4.95 earned run average, 1.725 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), and meager 4.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in eight appearances (seven of them starts) last season make it unsettling to try to mess with something that isn’t broken. But Britton hasn’t looked this good since his rookie season in 2011 when he was 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in his first 10 starts and appeared on his way to becoming a mainstay in the Baltimore rotation.
No changes in the starting rotation are imminent — nor should be at this early stage of the season — but Britton has provided Showalter with a major bullet out of the bullpen who could become an intriguing alternative if the likes of Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, or Bud Norris slip in the coming weeks. The return of Troy Patton from suspension in the near future will also add another left-handed arm to the bullpen.
Regardless of what happens, the Orioles are pleased to simply see Britton back on track.
“He’s throwing the ball with a lot of confidence,” Hunter said. “He’s got a game plan, and he’s sticking to it. Him and [catcher Matt Wieters] are on a good page right now. I’ll pat him on the butt and hope he keeps it up.”
Posted on 16 April 2014 by WNST Staff
Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Tuesday…
* Kevin Gausman allowed four earned runs, seven hits, and three walks as Triple-A Norfolk fell 15-0 to Gwinnett
* Double-A Bowie’s game at Erie was postponed
* Single-A Frederick’s game at Winston-Salem was postponed
* Single-A Delmarva’s game against Hagerstown was postponed
Posted on 15 April 2014 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — Dealing with significant rain and falling temperatures throughout the day, the second game of a three-game set between the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays was postponed on Tuesday night.
No makeup date was immediately announced by the Orioles, but fans were encouraged to keep tickets and parking passes until more information was made available at a later time. Prior to the postponement, manager Buck Showalter suggested in his pre-game press conference that the possibility existed of playing a straight doubleheader on Wednesday, but the decision was made not to play a twin bill.
The Orioles and Rays will meet for a 12:35 p.m. game on Wednesday to conclude their series. Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Miguel Gonzalez, will start on Wednesday while Chris Tillman will be pushed back to Friday when the Orioles begin a four-game set in Boston. Gonzalez will be opposed by Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi.
The club also announced that the commemorative Jackie Robinson No. 42 jerseys players were scheduled to wear during Tuesday’s game would be used on a later date.
Jones, Meek sent home with illness
Before Tuesday’s game was postponed, the Orioles were preparing to play the Rays without the services of center fielder Adam Jones, who was sent home earlier in the day with an illness.
A nasty bug has made its way through the Baltimore clubhouse and has stricken others such as pitcher Brian Matusz and hitting coach Jim Presley. Relief pitcher Evan Meek was also sent home on Tuesday even though he wasn’t available to pitch anyway after he threw 1 2/3 innings in Monday night’s win.
The Rays had also changed their starting pitcher Tuesday afternoon as reliever Brandon Gomes would have filled in for Odorizzi, who was also dealing with an illness.
Third baseman Manny Machado sprinted three times from 90 feet and three times from 180 feet and also took five at-bats in a simulated game played at the Orioles’ spring training complex in Sarasota on Tuesday.
According to Showalter, the 21-year-old was scheduled to run the bases on Wednesday in what represents the last major test before he prepares to start a minor league rehab assignment.
Posted on 15 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 15 April 2014 by WNST Staff
Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Monday…
* David Adams drove in two runs despite Triple-A Norfolk falling 5-4 to Gwinnett
* Eduardo Rodriguez allowed four earned runs in six inning as Double-A Bowie dropped a 4-3 rain-shortened game to Erie
* Brenden Webb and Wynston Sawyer each homered in a losing effort for Single-A Frederick in a 5-4 final in 12 against Lynchburg
* Mike Yastrzemski drove in three runs as Single-A Delmarva won 9-2 over Hagerstown
Posted on 14 April 2014 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — Manager Buck Showalter has a date in mind for when we might see third baseman Manny Machado back in the Orioles lineup but isn’t ready to share it just yet.
The 21-year-old took another significant step toward his return on Monday as he began sprinting, running at full speed six times from 90 feet at the club’s spring training facility in Sarasota. Machado also had four at-bats in a simulated game in addition to the sprinting.
Machado will sprint from 180 feet Tuesday before attempting to clear the last major hurdle of running the bases this week.
Should the All-Star third baseman respond favorably to that task, he is expected to play in at least two or three extended spring training before beginning a rehab assignment that can last up to 20 days for a position player on the major league disabled list. Such a schedule would make a return to the Orioles possible by late April or — more realistically — early May even though Showalter hinted that Machado may not need the full 20 days of minor-league games to get ready after taking part in baseball-related activity to varying degrees since late January.
“Manny’s feeling good. Hopefully, he’ll feel as well tomorrow as he did today,” said Showalter, who exchanged text messages with Machado and spoke with minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker on Monday. “He’s been down this road enough that he knows. He wants to get it right the first time. He’s got a lot of good people around him who won’t let him get ahead of himself. The things they’re putting him through, it’s going to be pretty obvious if he can do them, he’s ready to go.”
The Orioles have used the combination of Ryan Flaherty and rookie Jonathan Schoop at third base in Machado’s absence this season. All three errors committed by Baltimore have come at third base where Schoop committed two miscues in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
While the organization continues to be conservative with Machado, Monday’s developments certainly presented some light at the end of the tunnel that’s remained somewhat ambiguous since the infielder complained of soreness from scar tissue that forced him to stop running in mid-March. Of course, the Orioles will at least hold their breath as Machado tries to cut around the bases this week, which is what he struggled with during spring training.
“As Dave said today, ‘He’s got a good face going right now,’” Showalter said. “We all know what he’s talking about.”
In other injury-related news from Sarasota, pitching prospect Dylan Bundy threw 35 pitches from the mound and mixed in some changeups to go with his fastball for the first time on Monday. Bundy is expected to begin throwing curveballs later this week.
Outfielder Nolan Reimold continues to receive treatment on his surgically-repaired neck but is still not taking part in any baseball-related activity after being moved to the 60-day disabled list earlier this month.
Here are Monday’s lineups:
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Desmond Jennings
DH Logan Forsythe
3B Evan Longoria
RF Wil Myers
1B James Loney
LF Brandon Guyer
SS Yunel Escobar
C Ryan Hanigan
SP Chris Archer (1-0, 1.38 ERA)
RF Nick Markakis
DH Nelson Cruz
1B Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
LF David Lough
SS J.J. Hardy
2B Steve Lombardozzi
3B Ryan Flaherty
SP Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 6.75 ERA)
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Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Audio