Tag Archive | "nolan reimold"

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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

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

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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Orioles reinstate Gonzalez from paternity list, send Pearce to DL

Posted on 21 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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

With right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez rejoining the club after the birth of his first child earlier this week, the Orioles have placed reserve outfielder Steve Pearce on the 15-day disabled list with left wrist tendinitis.

Gonzalez was placed on the paternity leave list earlier in the week, which created a roster spot for first baseman Travis Ishikawa but created a logjam that led to Pearce being sent to the DL. Like Ishikawa, Pearce could not be sent to the minor leagues without being designated for assignment and clearing waivers.

Pearce’s playing time has steadily declined since right-handed hitter Danny Valencia was recalled last month, and he received only four starts this month. He is hitting .235 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 90 plate appearances this season.

With outfielder Nolan Reimold continuing a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie, the Orioles have another roster decision looming when the 29-year-old is ready to return. The Orioles continue to look for a trade partner for Ishikawa, but Reimold’s return would also leave Pearce’s long-term status in question as Valencia has emerged to serve as the regular designated hitter against left-handed starters.

Gonzalez and his wife welcomed daughter Leah to the world on Monday night, and the 29-year-old is scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Blue Jays. He is 5-2 with a 3.75 earned run average in 12 starts this season.

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Orioles aiming to have Chen back prior to All-Star break

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Orioles aiming to have Chen back prior to All-Star break

Posted on 15 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 — Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen still has hurdles to clear in his recovery from a strained right oblique, but the hope is he will return to make at least a start or two prior to the All-Star break.

The left-hander threw off a full mound Saturday in Sarasota for the first time since the oblique injury occurred in a start against the Minnesota Twins on May 12. Chen threw 35 pitches without any reported discomfort or pain, according to manager Buck Showalter.

“We’ve kind of got his schedule mapped out now, so that’s good,” Showalter said. “I’m going to go over it with [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette] out on the field and hopefully we’ll proceed with that.”

The Orioles had planned to have Chen accompany them on this week’s road trip to Detroit and Toronto, but it appears they will at least have Chen pitch in a simulated game in Sarasota before he takes the next step of either rejoining the club for a bullpen session or two or beginning a minor-league rehab assignment.

Showalter has a step-by-step plan mapped out that culminates with Chen making his return to the mound for the Orioles, but he wants to play specifics close to the vest for now.

“I’ve got the date that if everything goes well that he’ll be pitching for us,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, if things go well, he can make a couple starts before the break, at least. But we’ve got to cross a lot of bridges here.”

Roberts inching closer to rehab assignment as Reimold starts his Tuesday

Injured second baseman Brian Roberts will travel with the Orioles on the next road trip to Detroit and likely Toronto as he continues to take batting practice and ground balls at second base.

Sidelined since April 4 with a right hamstring injury that required surgery in early May, Roberts could begin a minor-league rehab assignment as early as June 24 if everything goes smoothly. Completing a running progression to test his surgically-repaired hamstring has been the final major hurdle in determining when he can return to game action.

Showalter has liked seeing Roberts with the club to closely monitor the final stages of the recovery process after spending the better part of the last two months recovering in Sarasota.

“We all like Sarasota,” Showalter said. “It’s been great for the organization, but it’s not Baltimore and it’s not around your team and your teammates. I think that’s been good for him too.”

Former Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley will accompany Roberts on his minor-league rehab assignment that isn’t expected to last the full 20-day period a position player is allowed.

Crowley will also accompany outfielder Nolan Reimold when his rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie begins next week.

Showalter expects Reimold’s rehab assignment to be wrapped up prior to Roberts beginning his.

Hammel still under weather

Right-hander Jason Hammel was still under the weather dealing with a virus as the Orioles prepared for the third of a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

He has been instructed to stay away from Camden Yards in fear of him being contagious, but the Orioles hope to have him back at the ballpark on Sunday to more closely evaluate his status for Monday’s start in Detroit. Showalter remained optimistic that the 30-year-old will take the hill against the Tigers, but nothing is guaranteed until head athletic trainer Richie Bancells gets a better read on his condition Sunday.

“Right now, that’s a little bit of a challenge for us. We’ll see,” said Showalter, who revealed Hammel received some intravenous fluids on Friday. “Right now, I’m planning on him pitching Monday. Talking to Richie, until he gets his arms around it, [we won't know and] we’re not going to bring him in the locker room until he’s past that [contagious] stage.”

Machado in historic company

Third baseman Manny Machado continued a remarkable season on Friday night, clubbing two more doubles to give him a major-league-leading 30 in 68 games this year.

According to Elias, since 1900, the earliest any major league under 21 reached 30 doubles was 81 games by Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams in 1939. Machado’s 30 doubles in 68 games are the most by any player under age 22 since 1920, topping Williams’ 25 in 1939 and the 24 hit by Yankees Hall of Famer Joe Dimaggio in 1936.

Machado is on pace to hit 71 doubles this year, which would top the major league record of 67 set by Earl Webb for Boston in 1931. The franchise record for doubles is 56, set by Roberts in 2009.

Jacoby Jones and WWE

Ravens wide receiver and “Dancing With the Stars” third-place finisher Jacoby Jones threw out Saturday’s, but WWE chairman Vince McMahon may have been a more appropriate choice based on the atmosphere of the late-afternoon game.

It was the brainchild of center fielder Adam Jones, but the Orioles used professional wrestling theme songs for their walk-up music during Saturday’s game. Jones assigned a song to each player in the lineup as well as starter Freddy Garcia and the relievers in order to have some fun at the ballpark.

Among the themes heard during batting practice on Saturday were The Rock, The Big Show, Chris Jericho, Triple H, and D-Generation X. Jones promised a mix of some old-school themes as well and posed with a replica WWE title for the following photo prior to the game, courtesy of @PTisFLY on Twitter.

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Roberts returns to Baltimore for “homestretch” of recovery process

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Roberts returns to Baltimore for “homestretch” of recovery process

Posted on 10 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 — Injured second baseman Brian Roberts hadn’t been spotted in the Orioles clubhouse since early April when he was placed on the disabled list with a right hamstring injury, but the 35-year-old is glad to be home.

Even if he’s still a few weeks away from a potential return to major league action.

After rejoining the club during its three-game series against Tampa Bay over the weekend, Roberts has elected to continue his rehabilitation efforts in Baltimore after spending most of the last two months in Sarasota. The 35-year-old underwent surgery less than five weeks ago and described himself as being in the “home stretch” of the recovery process before going on a minor-league rehab assignment.

“It’s great to be back,” Roberts said. “You feel kind of isolated on an island down there. It is already good to be around the guys and feel like you are part of the team.”

Roberts has increased his activity level over the last couple weeks as he is taking batting practice, playing catch, and continuing to test his surgically-repaired hamstring as he works his way back to running at full speed. Roberts reiterated Monday what he said over the weekend about not anticipating a lengthy rehab assignment like the one he completed last year while returning from concussion-like symptoms.

Manager Buck Showalter seemed to agree with that assessment as long as Roberts felt he was ready, mentioning three to seven games as possible estimate. Meanwhile, Roberts is focused on testing the hamstring to make sure it’s 100 percent before he takes the next step of playing in minor-league games.

“Mainly the running progression,” Roberts said. “Just continuing to build up to where you can be explosive again [and] where you can cut, you can stop, you can backpedal. The running has really taken some good steps forward in the last couple of days and I’m hoping that is a sign we have reached the point where things can started moving a little quicker.”

Roberts hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in St. Petersburg on April 4 and is fully aware of the doubts expressed over his ability to remain healthy as the Orioles have struggled to find production at second base with the combination of Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla. The veteran infielder has played in just 118 games over the last four seasons combined.

For now, he’s happy to be back in a big-league environment while in the midst of the final year of a four-year, $40 million that obviously hasn’t worked out how either side had hoped.

“Nothing compares to being in this atmosphere,” Roberts said. “I don’t know how much longer I have left to be in it, and I want to be around it as much as possible.”

NOTES: Right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy began a throwing progression in Sarasota on Monday, completing 25 throws from 60 feet without experiencing any discomfort, according to Showalter. … Outfielder Nolan Reimold (hamstring) could be ready to go on a minor-league rehab assignment by the end of the current homestand. Showalter offered a similar range of games for Reimold as he spelled out for Roberts. … Left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will be summoned to Baltimore as soon as he’s ready to begin throwing off a mound, according to Showalter, which should be in the not-too-distant future barring any setbacks. …Casilla was not in the starting lineup after jamming his right index finger sliding into second base on Sunday. Showalter revealed that he likely would have started Casilla against the Angels after the utility infielder went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the series finale against the Rays.

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Reimold placed on 15-day DL with hamstring strain; Arrieta recalled

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Reimold placed on 15-day DL with hamstring strain; Arrieta recalled

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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

BALTIMORE — Needing an extra arm in the bullpen and realizing a nagging hamstring injury wasn’t improving, the Orioles have recalled right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta and placed designated hitter Nolan Reimold on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays.

As expected, starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens had his contract selected by the club in order for the right-hander to make his Orioles debut. To make room for Jurrjens, the Orioles optioned right-handed reliever Alex Burnett to Triple-A Norfolk and placed injured second baseman Brian Roberts on the 60-day DL to clear room on the 40-man roster.

Reimold’s hamstring has been bothering him since spring training and struggled to play through the cold weather of the early season with the back of the leg tightening up at various times, according to Showalter. The 29-year-old hasn’t played since last Saturday in Minnesota, meaning his DL stint is retroactive to May 12. Showalter is hopeful that the time off will remedy the hamstring strain but acknowledged it could take longer than the 15-day period since Reimold has dealt with the ailment for quite a while.

“I think he understands where we are and what we want to do,” Showalter said. “He’s not — I wouldn’t say — down. Obviously, no one wants to go on the DL. I can’t tell you whether this period will clean it up completely. I’m frustrated for him. I want to get as close to a perfect world for him [physically] as I can get. He’s a very capable contributor if we can just get him right.”

The expectation is that Reimold would get at-bats in a rehab assignment before making any return to the 25-man roster. Serving as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter this season, Reimold was hitting just .188 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 101 at-bats.

Steve Pearce, Nate McLouth, and Chris Dickerson have all seen time at the DH spot since last Saturday.

The need for an additional releiver was the result of a 12-run, 17-hit attack by the Rays against Friday starter Jason Hammel and four other relievers. Burnett allowed three earned runs in just 1/3 inning of work in the 12-10 loss.

Arrieta was scheduled to start for Norfolk on Saturday night and had dealt with shoulder tightness recently, but the 27-year-old completed successful bullpen sessions on Wednesday and Thursday to quell any significant concerns.

“I developed a little stiffness a few starts ago,” Arrieta said. “It’s something that has been manageable. They wanted to give me a few days — kind of push me back a little bit. I’ve stayed on top of it as much as I can.”

Manager Buck Showalter confirmed prior to Saturday’s game that Arrieta will pitch out of the bullpen for the time being. Of course, the enigmatic pitcher began the year in the starting rotation but was sent to the minors after going 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts for Baltimore.

As of now, veteran Freddy Garcia is scheduled to pitch against the New York Yankees on Monday, but Arrieta could conceivably become an option to take his place should he not be used in the bullpen over the next couple games.

In three starts for the Tides, Arrieta went 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA while striking out 17 and walking three in 19 2/3 innings.

 

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Ten Orioles thoughts with April in the books

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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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Reimold hoping to shake rough start, adjust to new role

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Reimold hoping to shake rough start, adjust to new role

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — It’s been anything but a smooth return for Nolan Reimold in his return from last season’s spinal fusion surgery that sidelined him after 16 April games and forced him to watch the Orioles’ improbable run to the playoffs.

A sore throwing shoulder in spring training as well as a tweaked hamstring in the second series of the season have provided more physical challenges for the 29-year-old outfielder and designated hitter, but Reimold isn’t making any excuses for his 7-for-37 start entering Thursday’s game. Of course, much has been made about the Orioles’ struggles at the DH spot collectively as the club is 3-for-47 on the season at that position. Reimold going 3-for-27 while serving in that role.

Asked before the finale of a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, Reimold said the nagging injuries he’s dealt with this spring aren’t impacting his play. Reimold has struck out 13 times in 41 plate appearances, which is more frequent than his career average of one strikeout per every 5.1 plate appearances.

“Physically, I don’t have any excuses for not performing,” Reimold said. “I’ve just got to play better. Work at it, get comfortable, and start helping.”

In addition to proving he’s fully recovered from last year’s neck surgery, Reimold is still getting used to being the club’s regular designated hitter against right-handed pitching. In his five-year career in the major leagues, he’s served as a DH in no more than 12 games in any one year. He started in left field on Thursday as Tampa Bay lefty David Price was on the hill and Steve Pearce made his fifth start of the season as the designated hitter.

Asked whether a player used to being in the field can have a difficult time when being moved to DH, manager Buck Showalter said it’s a distinct possibility.

“Probably so. I think it’s more of an adjustment when you’re not off to a real upper-level statistical start when you’ve got some time in between,” Showalter said. “I’m kind of hoping [Thursday] that he gets a little mental break from it by playing the outfield. Some of that’s had to do with the hamstring. He’s kind of nursing that through a little bit.”

Entering Thursday’s game, Reimold was 4-for-10 in three games as the club’s left fielder, but it’s tough to fault the Orioles for preferring to use Nate McLouth in the field, who is considered the superior defensive player.

Showalter said Reimold could receive more time in the outfield than what we’ve seen over the season’s first 14 games, but the DH spot can also be viewed as a way to keep the injury-riddled Reimold healthier in hopes of having him available for the entire season. Of course, the Orioles need his production to help make up for their inability to add a middle-of-the-order bat over the winter.

Reimold acknowledged he isn’t fully comfortable just yet in his new role, but he expressed confidence that he’ll eventually get on track.

“It’s a different mentality, a different routine for you, especially during the game. You’ve just got to work at it and get used to it. It’s no excuse to not perform on the field. It’s good to be able to play, at least get at-bats every day. I’ll be alright. It’s early in the season. I’ve just got to keep working at it, keep battling until things click in and I can start performing better.”

He hasn’t been the only hitter to struggle at the plate as Pearce was 0-for-13 to begin the season and second baseman Ryan Flaherty has only two hits in his first 28 at-bats. Those numbers raise more eyebrows at the start of the season without a body of work from which to draw, but Reimold has the longest track record of the three and is taking the difficult start in stride.

It’s a change from past seasons when he would tend to get down on himself easily whenever he struggled or was going through challenges from a health perspective.

But he also knows he needs to start producing sooner rather than later.

“Everybody throughout the year goes through a little bit of rough patches,” Reimold said. “Mine, I’m going through a rough patch right now, so hopefully I fight through it and get out of it.”

NOTES: Injured second baseman Brian Roberts jogged lightly in a pool treadmill in Sarasota on Thursday. Showalter said the veteran is improving, but there are no signs his return is imminent from a torn tendon behind his right knee. … Right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson threw 70 pitches over four innings in Sarasota on Thursday and is expected to go on a minor-league rehab assignment next. He was struck in the thigh with a line drive during the outing but continued his outing. … Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada threw 45 pitches over three innings in Sarasota and could progress to a 60-pitch outing if he has no issues with his surgically-repaired elbow. … Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia will be activated by Double-A Bowie on Friday. The 26-year-old impressed coaches in extended spring training, according to Showalter, but that was expected given his age and level of experience playing competitively in his native country.

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