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USA Today’s Heaney thinks Samardzija trade only help his fantasy baseball value

Posted on 09 July 2014 by WNST Audio

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Orioles 9-Game Scorecard (Games 81-89)

Posted on 08 July 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 most recent “Orioles 9-Game Scorecard” during Tuesday’s show, click HERE.

1. Should the Orioles have been better or worse than their 7-2 mark?
Drew: Worse
Luke: Better

2. Most Valuable Player/Least Valuable Player
Drew: MVP – Nelson Cruz; LVP – Chris Davis
Luke: MVP – Adam Jones; LVP – Brian Matusz

3. Biggest surprise
Drew: The Orioles going 4-1 during the Manny Machado suspension
Luke: The struggling Chris Davis falling below the Mendoza line

4. Best thing about the nine-game stretch
Drew: The Orioles bats coming alive during the end of the last homestand
Luke: Winning the series finale in Boston despite squandering a 6-1 lead

5. Nine games from now…
Drew: The Orioles will be ahead by five games in the American League East
Luke: A limited platoon surfaces with Chris Davis losing some at-bats to Steve Pearce and Delmon Young

6. Record in the next nine games (three with Washington, three with the New York Yankees, three at Oakland)
Drew: 9-0
Luke: 6-3

7. Stock rising/falling over the next nine games
Drew: Rising – Miguel Gonzalez; Falling – Ubaldo Jimenez
Luke: Rising – Manny Machado; Falling – Steve Pearce

8. Grading Buck Showalter in games 81-89
Drew: A
Luke: B+

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Orioles promote Double-A pitcher DePaula, option Gausman to Norfolk

Posted on 07 July 2014 by Luke Jones

The Orioles needed bullpen help after Sunday’s 12-inning win in Boston and selected the contract of Double-A Bowie pitcher Julio DePaula prior to their series opener against the Washington Nationals.

The 31-year-old right-hander was signed from the independent York Revolution last month and has pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings with the Baysox. His only previous experience in the majors came in 2007 when he posted an 8.55 ERA in 16 appearances with the Minnesota Twins.

As expected, right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to make room on the 25-man roster. The Orioles will need to activate starting pitcher Bud Norris from the disabled list on Tuesday, meaning DePaula’s stay in the majors could be brief.

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Gausman’s rotation spot must be solidified after All-Star break

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Gausman’s rotation spot must be solidified after All-Star break

Posted on 07 July 2014 by Luke Jones

If the Orioles really wanted to have a sense of humor, they’d offer a Kevin Gausman yo-yo giveaway night at Camden Yards in the second half of the season.

Monday brought the expected news of the 23-year-old right-hander being optioned yet again to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for former York Revolution relief pitcher Julio DePaula, who provided manager Buck Showalter with an extra arm in the bullpen after Sunday’s 12-inning win in Boston. The 31-year-old DePaula figures to only be with the Orioles for one game with Bud Norris set to be activated from the disabled list for Tuesday’s start against the Washington Nationals.

Yes, Gausman has options and the Orioles needed an extra arm in the bullpen, making him a logical choice to be sent to the minors to create an open spot on the 25-man roster. With next week’s All-Star break looming, the argument could be made that the 2012 first-round pick could only miss one start before returning in the second half of the season.

But is the constant yo-yoing of the young pitcher between Baltimore and the minors what’s best for him and the Orioles? Shuffling the deck with the likes of T.J. McFarland, Brad Brach, and Evan Meek is one thing — executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has manipulated his roster as much as anyone over the last three years — but continuing to mess with the rhythm of your top pitching prospect wouldn’t appear to be the best way to maximize your investment.

Showalter often quips that you can’t mess up the good ones no matter how much you try, but starting pitchers are also creatures of habit. Gausman has only gotten used to a routine of unpredictability and travel over the last month as he’s been optioned twice, was called up to serve as the 26th man for a doubleheader on June 27, and has pitched for the Orioles, Triple-A Norfolk, and short-season Single-A Aberdeen over that stretch.

The Orioles say there is another reason why they’ve handled the young pitcher in the manner they have this season, but even that excuse will no longer be valid after the All-Star break.

“I think every time he goes out [to pitch], it’s good for him,” Showalter said after Sunday’s 7-6 win over the Red Sox. “We’re managing his innings so — at some point — he’s good enough and we’re good enough to pitch the rest of the season. There’s a method to what we’re doing here. We’re trying to make sure a guy like him is available the whole year.”

In 2013, Gausman pitched 129 2/3 innings split between the Orioles and the minor leagues, putting him in line to throw somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 150 to 160 innings this season. He’s pitched 78 2/3 innings so far in 2014, leaving him on track to easily be able to handle a full workload as a starter in the second half.

But the excuses appear to be running out as even Hall of Fame pitcher and MASN analyst Jim Palmer recently took the organization to task over how Gausman has been handled despite pitching to a 2.45 ERA in his five starts since June 7. Showalter made a point during the club’s last homestand that he didn’t want to send Gausman to the hill on abbreviated rest, but the right-hander has twice been recalled to make starts on three days’ rest this season, albeit following what were abbreviated outings each time.

The Orioles gave Gausman infrequent work out of the bullpen for a large stretch of his rookie season instead of allowing him to work every fifth day on his secondary pitches at Norfolk.

Showalter may quip that you can’t prevent the best prospects from reaching their full potential, but the Orioles have put on a clinic in trying to do just that with Gausman over the last calendar year.

The young pitcher’s upside — and performance over the last month — has made his inclusion in the rotation a no-brainer despite the lingering headache of what to do to make room for him. Yes, the Orioles have the ability to move him on and off the roster as needed, but that doesn’t mean they should continue doing it if they want to see him thrive in the majors — and help them advance to the playoffs for the second time in three years.

The Orioles can’t keep Gausman out of the rotation because of a $50 million investment in Ubaldo Jimenez or loyalty to Miguel Gonzalez or Wei-Yin Chen. They need to make it work in allowing their best arm to pitch in the major leagues, regardless of what that means for the rest of the rotation.

Gausman has taken the high road whenever asked about being bounced back and forth between the big club and the minor leagues, but he’s also a human being with emotions who has to be wondering what more he needs to do to stay in the majors. The right-hander could have the impact of a trade-deadline acquisition if the Orioles simply give him a chance to flourish on a regular schedule.

“That’s really not up to me,” Gausman told reporters after Sunday’s outing. “I just try to pitch well when I can and when I get the opportunity to, but I have options and they’re going to use them if they feel like they need it. If we need a bullpen guy, that’s what it’s going to be.”

Next week’s All-Star break provides a final excuse for the Orioles to send Gausman back to Norfolk for one last start or two, but it will be time to solidify his place in the rotation after that — assuming he continues to perform at a level deserving of one.

And it will no longer be good enough to simply say they needed his roster spot if the Orioles truly want Gausman to be a critical part of a second-half run to the postseason.

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Machado Suspension Not Actually A Big Deal

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Machado Suspension Not Actually A Big Deal

Posted on 03 July 2014 by Brandon Sacks

From June 6-8, the Orioles played the Oakland A’s in their first head to head series of the year.  On the sixth, Manny Machado had a bit of a meltdown and threw his helmet after an incident where he felt he was tagged too hard.  Two days later, he “accidentally” threw his bat at A’s pitcher Fernando Abad.  For these two incidents, Manny received a five game suspension from MLB, which was upheld after being appealed.

It seemed like this was going to be the most inopportune time for Machado to be forced out of the lineup, especially with his bat heating up.  The Orioles offense was not explosive as fans know it to be in the games leading up to the suspension.  He also is one of the best defensive players on the Orioles’ roster.  While he has not played to the same quality as when he won the platinum glove award last year, he has still been very dominant at third base this season.  When others were playing at third while Machado was coming back from his knee injury, it was evident that the birds missed number 13.

Not so much anymore.  Three games into the five game suspension, the Orioles are 3-0, outscoring the Rangers by a combined 21-8.  Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty have both played well above average defense at third.  The offensive output from the position, while minimal, has included the go-ahead home run by Flaherty last night.

Is the Machado suspension really the worst thing that has happened to the Orioles this season?  It seems like this season, more than any, the birds have done really well in the face of adversity, from the Machado injury to the Wieters injury to the suspension and more.  No matter what has happened, they have found a way to continue winning, and they have been able to stay in the race for the AL East.  As long as the Orioles continue to connect on offense like they have over the past three games, they will be on the verge of becoming the AL East powerhouse that has been mysteriously absent throughout this entire season.

Now if only we could work on our starting pitching…

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Bundy to make next start for Single-A Frederick

Posted on 28 June 2014 by Luke Jones

As pitching prospect Dylan Bundy celebrated the anniversary of his Tommy John surgery with another successful outing for short-season Single-A Aberdeen Friday night, the Orioles announced where he’ll go next in continuing his injury rehab assignment.

Bundy will move up to the Carolina League to start for Single-A Frederick against Salem on Thursday after making three starts for the IronBirds. The 21-year-old went 0-1 with a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings, striking out 22 and walking three while allowing just 10 hits.

The organization was expected to move him to a higher level after he pitched five shutout innings against Hudson Valley on Friday, striking out seven and walking two. Reports indicated a better curveball and fastball velocity sitting 90 to 94 miles per hour in Friday’s start.

Thursday’s start will take place at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick.

Baltimore also announced that Rule 5 selection Michael Almanzar will continue his injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk. However, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette indicated Saturday that the corner infielder will only remain with the organization once his assignment is over if they can work out a deal with the Boston Red Sox, his former club.

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Orioles still not tipping hand on looming Reimold decision

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Orioles still not tipping hand on looming Reimold decision

Posted on 28 June 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles must make a decision on the future of oft-injured outfielder Nolan Reimold by Monday but aren’t tipping their hand until the last moment.

Neither executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette nor manager Buck Showalter indicated what the Orioles plan to do as Reimold’s 20-day rehab assignment is coming to an end. The 30-year-old is out of minor-league options, so the Orioles must either place him on the 25-man roster or expose him to waivers and take the chance that another club will claim him.

Many critics wouldn’t view the latter as a major loss since Reimold hasn’t performed at a high level in the majors since the start of the 2012 season. He has undergone two spinal fusion surgeries since then, but the Orioles thought highly enough of Reimold to sign him to a one-year, $1.025 million contract last offseason when many expected they wouldn’t tender him a deal.

In 46 at-bats with the Baysox, Reimold is hitting .326 with two home runs, nine runs batted in, and 11 walks.

“We hope Nolan will be a factor to help our team,” Duquette said during a forum for season ticket holders on Satuday. “He’s currently down in Bowie completing his 20-day rehab. [We’ll assess] Nolan’s capability to help our ball club right now or see if he can do that later in the season. But he’s getting on base, he’s played some games in the field and as a DH, and he’s done well. He’s on his way back.”

Unlike last year, the Orioles are receiving plenty of production in left field and at the designated hitter spot with Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce, and Delmon Young all having strong seasons. Showalter has struggled to find playing time for Young, so it wouldn’t appear to make sense to add another right-handed outfielder to the bench.

The only apparent way to make room for Reimold would be to designate light-hitting outfielder David Lough for assignment, but Showalter likes using him as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner. Lough also provides the Orioles a backup center fielder for Adam Jones, a position no other outfielder on the roster is equipped to handle.

Barring an injury over the next day or two, the Orioles’ only practical option for Reimold might be to designate him for assignment with the plan to outright him to Triple-A Norfolk if no other club decides to take a chance on him after two major neck surgeries. With so much sweat equity invested in his recovery, the Orioles would clearly prefer keeping him in the organization without compromising their major league roster in the process.

“I know we’ve had some discussions about it,” Showalter said. “[Vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson] has been down there a few times. He’s up to speed on him. He talks to Nolan a lot. Obviously, there’s a pending move there.”

In 936 career major league at-bats, Reimold has hit .252 with 41 home runs, 126 RBIs, and a .327 on-base percentage.

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Orioles 9-Game Scorecard (Games 69-77)

Posted on 27 June 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.

(Editor’s note: Glenn Clark filled in for Forrester on Friday’s show.)

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

1. Should the Orioles have been better or worse than their 6-3 mark?
Glenn: Worse
Luke: Worse

2. Most Valuable Player/Least Valuable Player
Glenn: MVP – Steve Pearce; LVP – Miguel Gonzalez
Luke: MVP – Steve Pearce; LVP – Ryan Flaherty

3. Biggest surprise
Glenn: The Orioles winning three straight series for the first time all year
Luke: The Orioles winning games in which Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Sale started

4. Best thing about the nine-game stretch
Glenn: Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz providing late-inning heroics in the White Sox series
Luke: The Orioles bouncing back to win the Yankees series after the crushing loss in the opener

5. Nine games from now…
Glenn: The Orioles will begin looking for another catcher to add to the roster
Luke: Miguel Gonzalez will be on his way to the bullpen with Bud Norris returning from the disabled list

6. Record in the next nine games
(four with Tampa Bay, four with Texas, one at Boston)
Glenn: 5-4
Luke: 6-3

7. Stock rising/falling over the next nine games
Glenn: Rising – Chris Tillman; Falling – Caleb Joseph
Luke: Rising – J.J. Hardy; Falling – Steve Pearce

8. Grading Buck Showalter in games 69-77
Glenn: B
Luke: B

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Orioles minor league recap – 6/26

Posted on 27 June 2014 by WNST Staff

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

* Steve Clevenger and Ivad De Jesus homered, but Triple-A Norfolk fell 7-3 to Pawtucket

* Tim Berry allowed three earned runs over six innings as Double-A Bowie lost 4-2 to Richmond

* Brady Wager was roughed up for four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in Single-A Frederick’s 6-2 loss to Winston-Salem

* A seven-run seventh inning wasn’t enough as Single-A Delmarva fell 8-7 to West Virginia

* Stephen Tarpley pitched six strong innings, but short-season Single-A Aberdeen lost 6-2 to Brooklyn

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Norris officially sent to disabled list with right groin strain

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Norris officially sent to disabled list with right groin strain

Posted on 26 June 2014 by Luke Jones

(Updated: Friday at 12:05 p.m.)

BALTIMORE — After leaving his start with right groin discomfort last Saturday in New York, Orioles pitcher Bud Norris was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday’s doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The right-hander underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Thursday that revealed a strain that will force him to miss at least one start. Norris was still experiencing discomfort while completing a bullpen session on Wednesday that prompted the Orioles to recommend further testing. Norris is eligible to be activated from the DL on July 7.

“When [the doctors] said it was going to be four or five days before he can get on the hill again, waiting around isn’t very beneficial,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We feel confident that we can resolve it in the DL period.”

Showalter will not need another starter until Tuesday as Kevin Gausman was summoned to pitch the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays with Chris Tillman starting the nightcap in Norris’ place. Because of Thursday’s off-day, the Orioles will send lefty Wei-Yin Chen to the hill on Saturday and right-hander Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday to conclude the four-game series. Ubaldo Jimenez will then pitch Monday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers on four days’ rest.

Gausman served as the club’s 26th man roster exemption for the day-night doubleheader and will be returned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game to fulfill his 10-day requirement in the minors. He is expected to be recalled in time to make his next start on Wednesday, but he is not an option to pitch on short rest for Tuesday’s game, according to Showalter.

The Orioles could look at current long reliever T.J. McFarland to make a spot start on Tuesday before settling into a five-man rotation with Gausman occupying Norris’ original slot.

“Right now, we’re probably looking for a break from the weather,” quipped Showalter, who added that newly-signed Norfolk lefty Randy Wolf isn’t ready to be an option for Tuesday. “We’ll be alright. We’ve got some good options.”

Right-handed relief pitcher Evan Meek was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Norris’ place and serve as an extra arm in the bullpen for the twin bill. Meek is 2-0 with three saves and a 2.79 ERA in 17 games for the Tides and has gone 0-2 with a 6.39 ERA in 13 appearances for the Orioles this season

With third baseman Manny Machado’s looming suspension, the Orioles must play a man down in his absence and cannot use his spot on the roster, which led to them recalling Meek to use Norris’ roster slot for the time being with that spot expected to eventually address Machado’s absence. When a decision is made on Machado, the club will add an extra infielder — presumably in place of Meek or another reliever — and Jemile Weeks will likely be recalled as he traveled to Baltimore on Thursday night.

Though Norris isn’t expected to be sidelined for long, the news is a tough break for the 29-year-old as he’s been the club’s most consistent starting pitcher this season. In 14 starts, Norris owns a 7-5 record with a 3.62 ERA in 87 innings and has struck out 60 while walking 28 batters.

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