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Orioles minor league recap – 4/14

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

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Machado approaching final hurdles before rehab assignment

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Machado approaching final hurdles before rehab assignment

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:

TAMPA BAY
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)

BALTIMORE
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)

Follow WNST on Twitter for updates and analysis throughout the evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Rays PBP voice Freed believes Balfour still has chip on his shoulder towards Orioles

Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/13

Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Sunday…

* Suk-min Yoon struggled over 4 1/3 innings to take his second loss as Triple-A Norfolk fell 4-0 to Charlotte

* Garabez Rosa hit a three-run homer to help Double-A Bowie prevail in a 7-5 final over Akron

* Glynn Davis drove in four runs as Single-A Frederick won 12-6 over Lynchburg

* Luc Rennie was tagged for six earned runs and took the loss for Single-A Delmarva in a 9-3 final against Greensboro

 

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Orioles still waiting for early return on $50 million investment

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Orioles still waiting for early return on $50 million investment

Posted on 13 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Even after investing a franchise-record amount of money for a free-agent starting pitcher, the Orioles knew they weren’t getting a sure-fire ace when they signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million contract in February.

His career has been consistently inconsistent, looking every bit the part of an ace at times and appearing more like a fringe fifth starter in other stretches of his major league career.

But the Orioles need much better than what they’ve gotten through three starts as Jimenez surrendered five earned runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings in Sunday’s 11-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards. He gave up two more home runs and saw his record fall to 0-3 to accompany a 7.31 earned run average and 2.06 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched).

Whether giving up homers (four in 16 innings) or walks (10) in his first three outings — all against American League East opponents — the root of Jimenez’s struggles are simple to identify but more complicated to fix with unorthodox mechanics that require plenty of maintenance over the course of a six-month season.

“His command,” manager Buck Showalter said. “If you look at his history, he gets better as the year goes on. He’s actually pitched competitively for us. He’s real close to keeping us there.”

The Baltimore skipper was being generous in referencing Sunday’s deficit only being 3-1 entering the top of the sixth inning, but Jimenez started the game with a career 5.10 ERA in April, easily his worst month throughout his eight-year career. Last season, it was even worse as Jimenez posted a 7.13 ERA over his first five starts before rebounding to post a 3.30 ERA and help Cleveland qualify for the postseason.

But history doesn’t make Jimenez — or the Orioles — feel any better as he tries to make a strong impression to justify the long-term investment paid to him. Of course, three starts — good or bad — will not determine whether executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette made a wise addition this winter, but the Orioles added Jimenez with thoughts of the high ceiling he possesses when he’s right on the mound.

So far, he hasn’t been able to climb out of the basement as he gave up a Eutaw Street homer to Colby Rasmus in the first inning and a home run to Brett Lawrie with one out in the sixth before being lifted a batter later. Jimenez only gave up 16 home runs all last season and is a quarter of the way to that mark before Easter Sunday.

“Tough one, really bad one,” Jimenez said. “I couldn’t be there for the team once again. I’m missing right down the middle of the plate. I’ve been making too many mistakes right down the middle.”

It’s too soon to panic as Jimenez’s track record suggests he’ll be much better than what he’s shown, but the Orioles are counting on him to be a top-half-of-the-rotation starter to go along with Chris Tillman. Improved starting pitching is a must for Baltimore to get back to the playoffs for the second time in three years.

In fairness, Jimenez is just one of several problems to plague the Orioles in their 5-7 start as an underperforming offense was limited to just five runs over the weekend and the defense has been shaky with Gold Glove winners Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy missing time. The Orioles have no choice but to be patient with their free-agent prize, hoping the good Jimenez will surface sooner rather than later and provide the quality pitching he’s capable of for significant stretches.

It hasn’t been there in the first half of April, but Showalter expressed confidence after Sunday’s outing that Jimenez is “better than that.”

“He’s got the right mentality. He’s been through tough times before, but he wants it to end now,” Showalter said. “I guarantee you. I understand what the numbers say, but you guys have seen it. It’s very close to there being some quality outings, but at this level and against this competition, close sometimes gets you in trouble.”

And close isn’t good enough in the AL East.

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Orioles Nation’s Conway would not be surprised to see rotation shake up in coming weeks

Posted on 12 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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Hardy receives cortisone injection, undergoes MRI on back

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Hardy receives cortisone injection, undergoes MRI on back

Posted on 11 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Shortstop J.J. Hardy was not in the lineup as the Orioles began a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, but measures taken on Thursday appear to have the infielder ready to return over the weekend.

Missing six of the last seven games with lower back spasms, Hardy underwent magnetic resonance imaging and received a cortisone injection for his back and was instructed to rest after previously planning to work out at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on the off-day. The 31-year-old returned to the ballpark Friday to take infield and batting practice and expects to be back in the lineup on Saturday, a sentiment shared by manager Buck Showalter.

“I’ve made a bunch of big strides the last couple days,” Hardy said. “I came in today early and took some groundballs and took some swings. It all felt good. I’ll go through a normal day of practice and anticipate being in there tomorrow.”

Showalter added that Hardy was “more available” to come off the bench in the series opener than he was in the final game of the Yankees series. Ryan Flaherty has been filling in at shortstop with rookie Jonathan Schoop handling third base and Steve Lombardozzi playing second.

Hardy said his history of back issues earlier in his career has caused him and the training staff to take a cautious approach in not wanting to come back too soon and risk the back spasms being a recurring issue throughout the season.

“If I don’t play today, that will be six games and I can still play 156,” Hardy said. “That is kind of my goal. Trying to rush it and miss another six games because I tried to come back too early is definitely something I don’t want to do.”

In four games this season, the two-time Gold Glove Award winner is 5-for-15.

Outfielder David Lough was once again out of the lineup on Friday, but he is available off the bench, according to Showalter. He underwent concussion tests in Baltimore on Wednesday before returning to New York for the series finale and being used as a defensive replacement.

It remains uncertain what exactly is causing Lough’s symptoms at different points since mid-March, but Showalter said the organization is confident it is not because of a concussion.

Third baseman Manny Machado is scheduled to have two at-bats in a simulated game in Sarasota on Saturday, an encouraging step in his recovery from offseason knee surgery.

The 21-year-old will not run the bases but will face veteran left-hander Johan Santana at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Machado has yet to begin sprinting, but his participation in a sim game can’t be viewed as anything but good news.

Machado will be eligible to go on a minor league rehab assignment lasting up to 20 games once he is fully cleared to play, but it remains uncertain when that will happen.

Right-handed pitching prospect Dylan Bundy threw 35 fastballs off a regular mound in Sarasota on Friday as he continues his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery last year.

Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb was scheduled to throw out the first pitch for Friday night’s game.

Here are Friday night’s lineups:

TORONTO
LF Melky Cabrera
2B Maicer Izturis
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
1B Adam Lind
C Dioner Navarro
CF Colby Rasmus
3B Brett Lawrie
SS Ryan Goins

SP Dustin McGowan (0-1, 13.50 ERA)

BALTIMORE
RF Nick Markakis
DH Delmon Young
1B Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
LF Nelson Cruz
2B Steve Lombardozzi
SS Ryan Flaherty
3B Jonathan Schoop

SP Chris Tillman (1-0, 1.35 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter for updates and analysis throughout the evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/10

Posted on 11 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Thursday…

* Henry Urrutia hit two doubles and drove in two runs as Triple-A Norfolk topped Gwinnett in a 7-4 final

* Buck Britton hit two home runs as Double-A Bowie won 6-3 over Akron

* Matt Taylor’s solid five-inning effort was spoiled in Single-A Frederick’s 4-3 loss to Carolina

* 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey struck out six in five innings as Single-A Delmarva won 6-4 over Greensboro

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Orioles 9-Game Scorecard (Games 1-9)

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Orioles 9-Game Scorecard (Games 1-9)

Posted on 11 April 2014 by Luke Jones

During the 2014 season, Drew Forrester and Luke Jones of The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will provide the “9-Game Scorecard” for the Orioles, evaluating the club in nine-game increments in a number of categories and looking ahead to how Baltimore will fare over the next nine games on the schedule.

To hear the full explanation of the inaugural “Orioles 9-Game Scorecard” during Friday’s show, click HERE.

1. Should the Orioles have been better or worse than their 4-5 mark?
Drew: Better
Luke: Worse

2. Most Valuable Player/Least Valuable Player
Drew: MVP – Matt Wieters; LVP – Ubaldo Jimenez
Luke: MVP – Matt Wieters; LVP – Ryan Flaherty

3. Biggest surprise
Drew: Chris Davis not having a single home run so far
Luke: The impressive performance of Zach Britton out of the bullpen

4. Best thing about the nine-game stretch
Drew: Tommy Hunter hasn’t experienced any failures in the closer role yet
Luke: Managing a series win in the Bronx to conclude a 3-3 road trip with Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy missing so much time

5. Nine games from now…
Drew: Ubaldo Jimenez will still be struggling
Luke: Ubaldo Jimenez will have two wins under his belt

6. Record in the next nine games
(three with Toronto, three with Tampa Bay, three at Boston)
Drew: 5-4
Luke: 6-3

7. Stock rising/falling over the next 10 games
Drew: Rising – David Lough; Falling – Nick Markakis
Luke: Rising – Chris Davis; Falling – Matt Wieters

8. Grading Buck Showalter in the first 10 games
Drew: B-
Luke: B-

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/9

Posted on 10 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Wednesday …

* David Adams hit his first home run as Triple-A Norfolk fell 4-3 to Gwinnett

* Eduardo Rodriguez was roughed up for four earned runs in five innings as Double-A Bowie lost a 5-1 final to Richmond

* Starter Parker Bridwell surrendered six earned runs and 10 hits as Single-A Frederick was routed by Carolina in a 9-2 final

* Drew Dosch drove in two runs to lead Single-A Delmarva to a 5-3 win over Hagerstown

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