Tag Archive | "nolan reimold"

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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Jimenez own worst enemy in struggles against Yankees

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Jimenez own worst enemy in struggles against Yankees

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Luke Jones

The book on Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throughout his major league career has been the tendency to be his own worst enemy.

With an array of pitches and ability that suggest he should be a perennial Cy Young Award candidate, Jimenez has instead struggled to find consistency due to command issues that once again plagued him in Monday’s 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

The right-hander surrendered eight hits — several of the bloop variety — and four earned runs over 4 2/3 innings at Yankee Stadium, but the five walks issued transformed a potentially-respectable outing into one in which he failed to make it out of the fifth inning and suffered his second loss of the season.

In addition to free passes elevating his pitch count, Jimenez began the bottom of the third with a walk to No. 9 hitter Yangervis Solarte, who scored the first run of the game on a double play. The Baltimore pitcher then walked Kelly Johnson with two outs an inning later to put a runner in scoring position before Solarte drove in the second New York run of the game.

Appropriately enough, Jimenez walked former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts to conclude his rough 109-pitch outing before lefty Zach Britton entered to walk Johnson to force a run home in the fifth inning.

Jimenez entered Monday’s game averaging 4.0 walks per nine innings in his career — which equals former Baltimore pitcher Jake Arrieta’s frustrating career mark — and has never been able to work deep into games consistently because of high pitch counts and free passes. His 3.30 earned run average a year ago was his best since his 2010 All-Star season with Colorado, but Jimenez only managed to complete 182 2/3 innings in his 32 starts and hasn’t reached the 200-inning plateau since 2010 despite having made at least 31 starts in each of the last three seasons.

No one doubts Jimenez’s upside — it’s why the Orioles gave him a four-year, $50 million contract in February — but his propensity for issuing walks and throwing too many pitches won’t bode well competing against the American League East and its patient lineups if pitching coach Dave Wallace can’t help the 30-year-old keep his unorthodox mechanics in check.

Over the course of the season, you’re going to get the good Jimenez and the bad Jimenez, but the Orioles have seen too much of the latter through his two starts of the 2014 season.

Hardy still on mend

Shortstop J.J. Hardy missed his third game in four days on Monday as he continues to nurse lower back spasms that started on Friday in Detroit.

He told reporters prior to the series opener against the Yankees that his back was improving, but it remains unclear whether he will be available to play on Tuesday afternoon. It’s understandable that the Orioles wouldn’t want to be hasty in placing the veteran on the 15-day disabled list, but his back spams have left manager Buck Showalter shorthanded on the bench.

With two runners on and one out in the seventh, New York manager Joe Girardi summoned lefty Matt Thornton to face the left-handed Ryan Flaherty, a situation that typically calls for a pinch hitter. The problem was that Showalter was without another infielder as Delmon Young, Steve Pearce, and Steve Clevenger were his only available bench options.

Young and Pearce provide viable options against left-handed pitching, but their lack of versatility and speed isn’t ideal off the bench. Should Hardy be sidelined any longer, the Orioles may need to take a long look at adding another infielder to the 25-man roster as they’ve already leaned heavily on Flaherty, Steve Lombardozzi, and rookie Jonathan Schoop in the infield.

And it’s part of the reason why the Baltimore lineup has managed just 22 runs in its first seven games of the season.

Reimold shifted to 60-day DL

With the acquisition of right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet from the Cleveland Indians on Monday, the Orioles transferred outfielder Nolan Reimold to the 60-day disabled list, which is just the latest disappointment in the 30-year-old’s career.

At this point, any health-related setback isn’t surprising for the right-handed hitter as he wasn’t progressing enough with his surgically-repaired neck to warrant a roster spot to begin the season. Monday’s development makes him ineligible to return until late May, and Showalter said Reimold continues to receive treatment on his neck in Sarasota.

There’s no question that Reimold has been through hell physically with two spinal fusion surgeries over the last two years, which is what made the Orioles’ decision to sign him to a one-year, $1.025 million deal over the winter so surprising. Inking him to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training would have been reasonable, but guaranteeing his contract seemed excessive at the time and certainly does now as he still isn’t 100 percent.

The good news for the Orioles is that they weren’t depending on Reimold to be a real contributor in the lineup as they were in each of he last two years as they acquired left fielder David Lough from Kansas City and signed designated hitter Nelson Cruz over the winter. Anything they get from Reimold is icing on the cake, but his shift to the 60-day DL certainly won’t create any optimism of him being able to contribute.

 

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Orioles acquire RHP Guilmet from Cleveland, transfer Reimold to 60-day DL

Posted on 07 April 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Monday that they have acquired right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet (pronounced GILL-met) from Cleveland in exchange for minor league outfielder Torsten Boss and optioned Guilmet to Triple-A Norfolk.

Guilmet, 26, owns a lifetime 2.57 ERA (297.2IP, 85ER) and 90 saves in 196 games (15 starts) over five minor league seasons in the Cleveland system. He has struck out 9.8 batters per 9.0 innings and walked 1.9 per 9.0. In 2013, Guilmet posted a 1.68 ERA (64.1IP, 12ER), 20 saves and 10.1 strikeouts per 9.0 in 49 games with Triple-A Columbus. He was selected in the ninth round of the 2009 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Arizona.

To make room for Guilmet on the 40-man roster, outfielder Nolan Reimold (cervical spine fusion surgery) has been transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

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Yankees want to win, they sign good players…Orioles want to win and…and…and…never mind.

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Yankees want to win, they sign good players…Orioles want to win and…and…and…never mind.

Posted on 04 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

I called the Jacoby Ellsbury to New York move back in September.

That one was as easy as predicting the Orioles won’t sign any REAL free agents in the winter.

The Yankees not only added a quality player, but they’re now going to face the Red Sox 19 times a year with Ellsbury on THEIR team instead of the other way around.

Ellsbury’s injury history makes it easy for people jealous of the Yankees to snicker and point their finger at New York’s front office while saying, “You dummies…that guy is always hurt!”

He wasn’t hurt last October when Boston was winning the World Series.

I completely understand that people in Baltimore are conditioned to criticize all free agent signings of the Yankees and Red Sox.  Go back and look at the way the orange apologists in town laughed and scoffed at Boston last winter when they inked Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino to contracts.

How’d that work out for the guys in Boston?

Back in 2009 when the Yankees landed Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett, lots of folks in Baltimore LOL’d at New York for forking over $400 million for those three guys.  They won the World Series that year.  Sabathia has been phenomenal in New York, Teixeira was very good until his injury last year and Burnett was outstanding the year New York won the title but has since moved on.

They signed those three players because they wanted to win.

And win they did.

We pick on everything those franchises do because we want their signings to fail — but as the Red Sox showed last year, when you sign good players they rarely fail.  That’s why they’re good baseball players.  Some of the signings don’t work out.  See my comments above about A.J. Burnett in New York.  But, if one girl in your high school economics class says, “No thanks, I’d rather feed my goldfish” when you ask her to the prom, do you not ask anyone else?

I also understand the need to review a player’s health while evaluating his worth, but please don’t be one of those goofs who says “I wouldn’t take Ellsbury on my team, he’s injury prone.”

No, he isn’t.

Nolan Reimold — now there’s a guy living in the definition of “injury prone”.

He doesn’t play.  Because he’s always hurt.

And, when you don’t play, you have ZERO value to the team.

Ellsbury — and some of his injuries have been more about his style-of-play than anything else — is a helluva baseball player who clearly got paid a king’s ransom in New York because he’s the proverbial “table setter” for the rest of the lineup.

Sure, he can’t be missing 60 games a year over the next seven seasons or his $153 million dollar deal will be outrageously out-of-balance, but you can’t go into any sort of “mega contract” pre-predicting a player’s health or you wouldn’t sign anyone of value.

This, of course, speaks far more about the Yankees wanting to win than it does anything else.  They had a gaping hole at catcher heading into the winter and quickly solved it in a big way by bringing on Brian McCann.  They wanted an upgrade in centerfield and quickly solved it by adding Ellsbury.

Did they overpay for those two?

Most certainly they did.

Are the Yankees a MUCH better team this morning than they were two weeks ago today?

You bet your pin-striped rear end they are.

And that’s how they roll in New York, where their quest for winning trumps everything.

In Baltimore, where the Orioles have GOBS ANB GOBS of money at their disposal, the quest for winning comes in 3rd or 4th place on the list of “what’s really important to us this off-season?”

By the way, the Red Sox will also be heard from over the next month or so.

Sure, they just won the World Series – something we haven’t done in Charm City for 30 years now – but they’re not going to sit back and dismantle their team while the Yankees get better.

The Orioles don’t compete with the Yankees and Red Sox for players for one reason and one reason only.

Because they choose not to.

 

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O’s tender contracts to six, agree to terms with Pearce, Reimold

Posted on 03 December 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that they have tendered contracts to six of their arbitration eligible players: CA MATT WIETERS1B CHRIS DAVISRHP’s TOMMY HUNTER and BUD NORRIS and LHP’s BRIAN MATUSZ and TROY PATTON. Additionally, OF’s STEVE PEARCE and NOLAN REIMOLD have agreed to terms on contracts for 2014, and RHP EDDIE GAMBOA and OF JASON PRIDIE were not tendered contracts by the club.

Wieters, 27, batted .235/.287/.417 with 22 home runs and 79 RBI in 148 games in 2013.

Davis, 27, finished third in the American League MVP voting, leading the major leagues with 53 home runs and 138 RBI while batting .286/.370/.634 in 160 games.

Hunter, 27, was 6-5 with a 2.81 ERA (86.1IP, 27ER) in 68 relief appearances.

Norris, 28, went 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA (50.2IP, 27ER) in 11 games (nine starts) for the Orioles after being acquired from Houston on July 31. He went 10-12 with a 4.18 ERA (176.2IP, 82ER) in 32 games (30 starts) in 2013.

Matusz, 26, was 2-1 with a 3.53 ERA (51.0IP, 20ER) in 65 appearances.

Patton, 28, went 2-0 with a 3.70 ERA (56.0IP, 23ER) in 56 outings.

Pearce, 30, hit .261/.362/.420 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 44 games.

Reimold, 30, played in 40 games, batting .195/.250/.335 with five home runs and 12 RBI.

Gamboa, 28, had his contract selected on November 20. He went a combined 6-11 with a 4.43 ERA (142.1IP, 70ER) and 114 strikeouts for Double-A Bowie (16 GS) and Triple-A Norfolk (nine GS) in 2013.

Pridie, 30, had his contract selected on September 25 after batting .269/.333/.434 in 118 games for Triple-A Norfolk. He went 2-for-10 in four games with the Orioles.

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Reimold facing another neck surgery, Dickerson designated for assignment

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Reimold facing another neck surgery, Dickerson designated for assignment

Posted on 19 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

It was apparent that Nolan Reimold wasn’t producing enough for the Orioles to keep him on the 25-man roster and it appears we now have a better undertanding why.

Prior to the start of a three-game set in Texas, the Orioles announced they’ve placed the 29-year-old designated hitter and outfielder on the 15-day disabled list with what’s described as “nerve inflammation in the cervical spine.” Of course, Reimold underwent spinal fusion surgery last summer to have a herniated disc removed from his neck, but it’s now looking as though that procedure was unsuccessful.

Minutes prior to the Orioles’ official announcement, Reimold’s wife Jenny wrote on Twitter that her husband will be going under the knife next week, which would presumably put the rest of his season in serious jeopardy. According to MASN, Reimold will seek a second opinion on his neck, but all signs appear to be pointing toward another surgery.

“To clear things up, [Nolan Reimold] is not “injured again,” Jenny Reimold wrote Friday6 afternoon. “Failed spinal fusion. Cleared to play too early. Corrective surgery Tuesday.”

Though he spent a large portion of the first half on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring injury, the Orioles acknowledged that Reimold’s ability would be a mystery entering the season after undergoing such a serious procedure that altered the range of motion in his neck. Manager Buck Showalter continued to give Reimold opportunities, but his contact percentage plummeted to a career-low 65 percent after four previous seasons in which it was never lower than 77 percent. It was clear to see that a player who’s been relatively productive when healthy in his career just wasn’t right at the plate on any regular basis this season.

In 140 plate appearances this season, Reimold is hitting .195 with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and 41 strikeouts. His .586 on-base plus slugging percentage pales in comparison to his career .766 OPS.

“It’s not ever going to be exactly what it was with his range of motion,” said Showalter about Reimold in late April. “He’s had to make a couple adjustments in the way he sets up to get two eyes there because he doesn’t have quite the same mobility with his neck that he had, but it’s getting a little better every day.”

Reimold remains under team control through the 2015 season, but he will turn 30 in October and will be eligible for arbitration, making it possible that the former second-round pick is be non-tendered after the season.

Needing to make roster moves for outfielder Henry Urrutia and infielder Danny Valencia prior to Friday’s game, the Orioles surprisingly designated outfielder Chris Dickerson for assignment. The move removed him from the 40-man roster and created a spot for Urrutia, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Norfolk.

Dickerson had recently been dealing with a left shoulder strain but played strong defense and a left-handed bat off the bench. The 31-year-old also provided one of the most exciting moments of the season with his game-ending three-run homer against the Detroit Tigers on May 31.

However, following that pinnacle moment, Dickerson was just 10-for-54 with no homers, two RBIs, and 23 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances. In 102 official at-bats this season, Dickerson hit .245 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

Many predicted that backup second baseman Ryan Flaherty would be the one to go instead of Dickerson — Flaherty has options remaining unlike Dickerson — due to his sporadic playing time since the return of Brian Roberts, but Showalter has said the club could elect to use Flaherty at other positions and doesn’t view him exclusively as a second baseman.

Since Roberts was activated from the DL on June 30, Flaherty has received just eight at-bats.

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Orioles DFA Dickerson, place Reimold on DL to make room for Urrutia, Valencia

Posted on 19 July 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Friday that they have selected the contract of outfielder Henry Urrutia and recalled infielder Danny Valencia from Triple-A Norfolk. To make room for them on the 25- and 40-man rosters, outfielder Nolan Reimold has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 14, with nerve inflammation in the cervical spine, and outfielder Chris Dickerson has been designated for assignment.

Urrutia, 26, has batted a combined .365/.427/.531 in 67 games with Double-A Bowie (52 games, .365/.433/.550) and Triple-A Norfolk (15 games, .367/.406/.467) in his first professional season. He appeared in the Futures Game for the World Team on Sunday, going 0-for-3 with a walk. Urrutia (pronounced ooo-root-EE-uh) was signed by the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent on July 11, 2012. He will wear uniform #51 and become the 12th Cuban born player in Orioles franchise history when he makes his debut.

Valencia, 28, has batted .230/.277/.508 in 21 games for the Orioles this season. He has hit .314/.350/.607 in 48 games with the Tides this season.

Reimold, 29, has batted .195/.250/.336 in 40 games with the Orioles this season. He was also on the DL, May 12-July 2, with a right hamstring strain.

Dickerson, 31, batted .245/.274/.412 in 46 games for the Orioles after having his contract selected on April 10.

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Cuban outfielder Urrutia joins Orioles to start second half

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Cuban outfielder Urrutia joins Orioles to start second half

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

After three red-hot months in which Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia feasted on minor-league pitching, it appears the wait to see him in Baltimore is over.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Orioles will promote the 26-year-old outfielder after he completed a short stint with Triple-A Norfolk in which he hit .367 in 60 at-bats. This success and his .365 average that included seven home runs and 37 RBIs at Double-A Bowie were more than enough to persuade the Orioles to give him a chance to pump life into a stagnant designated hitter role.

This season, the Orioles have hit only .197 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs while posting an anemic .643 OPS (on-base plug slugging percentage) from the DH spot.

In addition to Urrutia, MASN reports Danny Valencia is also on his way to Texas as the Orioles begin their post-break schedule with a three-game set against the Rangers. The additions of both Urrutia and Valencia would appear to be bad news for Nolan Reimold, who has batted .195 and struck out 41 times in 140 plate appearances this season.

Reimold is out of options, meaning the Orioles’ only choice would be to designated him for assignment unless he is heading back to the disabled list. Since returning from the DL earlier this month, Reimold is just 6-for-27 with a homer, three RBIs, and 11 strikeouts.

Urrutia would likely serve as the left-handed DH with Valencia serving as a right-handed bat off the bench and potential DH against left-handed starters. Given the current construction of the Orioles bench that includes two second basemen behind Brian Roberts, Ryan Flaherty would be a logical option to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk due to his sporadic playing time since Roberts’ return.

With the non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Orioles need to see if Urrutia can provide the necessary production from the DH spot that they haven’t received all year, and the 26-year-old has certainly proven worthy of an opportunity after performing admirably at the two highest levels of minor-league ball.

Jurrjens chooses free agency after clearning waivers

As was anticipated last week, the Jair Jurrjens era has officially come to an end in Baltimore.

Despite clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, the 27-year-old pitcher has instead elected to become a free agent. The right-hander was designated for assignment to make room for right-handed reliever Jairo Asencio on the 40-man roster after the former Norfolk closer was promoted to the active roster.

In two appearances with Baltimore this year, Jurrjens made one start and one relief appearance, posting a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings of work. He had an up-and-down season with Norfolk, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 16 starts.

“At his young age, I still wouldn’t close the door,” said Showalter, who initially expressed hope that Jurrjens would remain with Norfolk despite a crowded starting rotation that now includes Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman. “I think Jair still has a chance to pitch competitively up here. He’s shown periods down there. It’s just been inconsistent.”

With his fastball only in the mid-to-high 80s, Jurrjens’ velocity never improved to the level at which he had so much success in Atlanta. His 2011 All-Star selection must feel like a distant memory for a pitcher who passed through waivers after he was designated for assignment by the club on July 12. Of course, injuries and declining velocity can spell disaster for any pitcher in a very short period of time.

Ironically, it was just two winters ago that the Orioles engaged in trade talks with the Atlanta Braves that involved current center fielder Adam Jones, with Jurrjens often being mentioned as a prominent name in a potential deal. Now, Jones is in the midst of his third All-Star season and Jurrjens is looking for work after going unclaimed by the other 29 major league teams.

The Orioles and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette couldn’t have dodged a bigger bullet.

Schoop thriving in rehab stint

Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop is nearing his return to Triple-A Norfolk after hitting his second home run in six games for the Gulf Coast League Orioles. The 21-year-old Schoop is 7-for-18 with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs, and four walks on his rehab assignment.

Schoop hasn’t played a game for the Tides since being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back in late May. Norfolk began its second-half action Thursday night in Charlotte.

While Schoop’s chances for a promotion to Baltimore during the 2013 season were diminished greatly due to the injury, it will be interesting to see whether a strong rest of the season would put him in line for an opportunity to win the starting second baseman job to begin the 2014 season.

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Orioles hoping returning players will stick — and produce

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Orioles hoping returning players will stick — and produce

Posted on 30 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — If you needed more evidence, the Orioles’ 11-3 win on Saturday should have done the trick.

The Orioles are better than the New York Yankees. They might be better even if — and that’s a big if — Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson somehow manage to get healthy and regain their old form in the second half of the season. Until then, the Yankees lineup continues to languish to score even three or four runs on a given night while their capable but unspectacular pitching struggles to pick up enough slack.

Trailing the division-leading Boston Red Sox by just 2 1/2 games entering play on Sunday, the Orioles are one of the best clubs in the league — even with their pitching flaws. They can improve further depending on what lies ahead at the trade deadline with the potential to augment what’s already a formidable roster.

But the 25-man roster will begin undergoing an internal makeover much sooner as second baseman Brian Roberts, outfielder Nolan Reimold, and — most importantly — starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will potentially rejoin the Orioles at different points over the coming week. It looks promising on paper, but the Orioles are certainly keeping their fingers crossed that all three will stay healthy, particularly with Roberts and Reimold, a pair of players stricken by countless injuries in recent years.

The intense doubts over the ability of Roberts and Reimold to contribute are unavoidable and certainly understandable.

“It’s tough from a human being standpoint for them,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’ll tell you we’re excited about getting Brian and Nolan and Chen back potentially. But by talking about it a whole lot, you jinx it.”

Even if the two position players and Chen manage to come back from the disabled list successfully, the Orioles are first faced with several decisions as it pertains to the players currently on the roster. Pitcher Jair Jurrjens would figure to be optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk after pitching 2 1/3 shutout innings in relief Saturday night to make room for Roberts, who is expected to be activated Sunday for his first action since suffering a severe right hamstring injury on April 4 that eventually required surgery in early May.

Making room for Reimold and Chen becomes trickier as Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette must choose from a projected pool of pitchers Kevin Gausman and Zach Britton and infielders Danny Valencia and Ryan Flaherty to determine who goes back to Norfolk. All of them have minor-league options but bring value in different ways.

Struggling reliever Pedro Strop, who allowed an earned run in the ninth inning Saturday, is the wild-card candidate who could go at any time, but it’s well-documented the 28-year-old is out of options and would very likely be picked up by another club thinking it can fix him. However, the simple reality that reliable reliever Darren O’Day began warming up with Strop on the mound and the Orioles holding an eight-run lead spoke volumes about the lack of faith in the maligned pitcher.

Showalter and Duquette have tried to remain as patient as possible with his 2012 performance lingering in their minds, but hiding an ineffective arm in the bullpen is very difficult when he doesn’t even provide the ability to pitch multiple innings in a blowout situation like Kevin Gregg did last year before the organization ultimately parted ways with him late in the season.

Regardless of the direction they ultimately go, the Orioles must weigh the positives and negatives of shaking up a roster that’s already on pace to win 90 games.

“It’s a good problem if we can get these guys back,” Showalter said. “We tried to set up the organization with a lot of the moves where we had the potential to keep some flexibility there.”

Chen made his first rehab start for Double-A Bowie on Saturday, pitching five innings and allowing four earned runs and five hits while striking out five and walking two. The Taiwanese lefty told reporters after the outing that he continues to feel no effects of the oblique injury that’s sidelined him since mid-May. Showalter said earlier in the day that Chen was tentatively scheduled to pitch on Thursday in Chicago or Friday in New York if he was deemed ready after Saturday’s start.

It’s always concerning when a starting pitcher misses an extended period of time in the middle of the season, but Chen hasn’t experienced any setbacks after taking ample time to allow the injury to heal before he began throwing again. Expecting Chen to pick up right where he left off might be asking too much, but there’s no reason to think he won’t be successful after some time to get his legs back under him at the big-league level.

Chen is arguably the Orioles’ most consistent starter and would fit quite nicely with the strong work turned in by Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez. He’s not the top-of-the-rotation starter the Orioles covet, but Chen regaining his pre-injury form would be a major boost to a rotation that’s been better of late but still lacks enough consistency to make you feel comfortable in the second half.

His return would leave the Orioles with an interesting decision over whether to keep Britton or Gausman as their fifth starter. The former pitched five shutout innings Saturday before melting down in the sixth inning for the second straight outing. Gausman turned in 4 1/3 stellar innings of shutout ball in relief to earn the win Friday night and only lost his job in the rotation a couple weeks ago due to short-term bullpen needs.

One of the two is all but certain to go, but figuring out what to do to activate Reimold will be the trickiest task.

Showalter has already said that Roberts will become the starting second baseman upon returning, meaning Flaherty could be expendable with the thought that you’d like him playing regularly in Norfolk. But do you really want to send down Flaherty’s red-hot bat that’s seen his average elevate from .133 upon his return from the minors on May 29 all the way to .215 only a month later?

Flaherty hit his sixth homer of the season Saturday and currently sports an eight-game hitting streak with multi-hit efforts in six of those contests. He’s 14-for-29 with four homers and nine RBIs over that stretch and has played excellent defense at second base all season.

Fellow second baseman Alexi Casilla would need to give his consent to be optioned to the minors, meaning he isn’t a realistic candidate to go with Roberts returning. On top of that, Showalter prefers having Casilla on the bench as a late-inning pinch runner who can steal bases.

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Orioles recall Jurrjens, designate Ishikawa for assignment

Posted on 29 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — Needing a long reliever after using both T.J. McFarland and Kevin Gausman in Friday’s 4-3 win over the Yankees, the Orioles have recalled right-handed pitcher Jair Jurrjens and designated first baseman Travis Ishikawa for assignment.

Jurrjens will be available to pitch out of the bullpen for at least Saturday and possibly Sunday as manager Buck Showalter wants to stay away from McFarland and Gausman through the weekend. The Orioles are electing to keep Gausman on the 25-man roster as an option to make a start on the road trip this coming week should Wei-Yin Chen’s rehab start for Double-A Bowie not go well enough to feel confident you can activate him for his next start.

Ishikawa’s standing on the roster was always considered short-lived since his only true position is first base and he provides limited offense in backing up a man many consider to be the American League MVP to this point in the season in Chris Davis. The Orioles now have 10 days to trade Ishikawa or he must be put on waivers. Should he not be claimed, Ishikawa would then have the choice to accept an outright assignment to Norfolk or to become a free agent.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has been seeking a trade partner for Ishikawa over the last few weeks when it was apparent he intended to invoke his opt-out clause from his minor-league deal. The Orioles’ fear is the Yankees would claim Ishikawa to provide more help to their first base situation after it was learned that Mark Teixeira would miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury.

The 29-year-old Ishikawa went 2-for-17 in six games for the Orioles after hitting .316 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in Norfolk.

“We’d like to have Travis back in Norfolk,” Showalter said. “I like Travis. He’s better than he’s shown here. I know that; you know that.”

Jurrjens, 27, is making his second trip to Baltimore after making his only start of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 18. He didn’t factor in the decision but allowed four earned runs in five innings before being optioned back to Norfolk a few days later.

He is 5-5 with a 4.06 earned run average in 14 starts with the Tides this season.

After completing his rehab assignment with Norfolk, second baseman Brian Roberts arrived at Camden Yards Saturday and is expected to be activated from the 60-day disabled list on Sunday.

Outfielder Nolan Reimold is still scheduled to travel with the club to Chicago where he will be activated from the 15-day disabled list. He will continues his rehab assignment with Bowie through the weekend and entered Saturday’s game having gone 7-for-38 with a triple, four RBIs, and 12 strikeouts with the Baysox.

Showalter said the tentative plan for Chen would be for to pitch on Thursday in Chicago or Friday in New York if the organization is happy with what it sees in Saturday’s Double-A start. Should he pitch on Thursday, he could potentially make three starts prior to the All-Star break.

Wilson Betemit continues to make slow progress in Sarasota as he continues to build strength in his quad. The infielder suffered a Grade 2/3 PCL sprain in his right knee during spring training, an injury originally diagnosed to keep him sidelined for a minimum of eight weeks.

The 31-year-old did not have surgery on what was considered a serious injury, but the Orioles remain hopeful that he can make some contributions at some point after the All-Star break. When that will be, however, is anyone’s guess.

“It’d be nice to get Wilson back,” Showalter said, “but I don’t see a projectable date right now.”

Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada was scheduled to pitch for Norfolk on Saturday night and was not considered for the spot Jurrjens will fill at least for the next game or two. Showalter wants to see Wada continue to make progress over his next few starts after providing a more competitive effort over his last couple outings with the Tides.

 

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