Tag Archive | "nolan reimold"

Davis more than folk hero for Orioles in surprising 2012 season

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Davis more than folk hero for Orioles in surprising 2012 season

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Chris Davis might be the best example of what the 2012 Orioles are all about.

Entering the season with untapped potential and more failure than success at the big-league level, both Davis and the Orioles have blossomed in the first 2 1/2 months of the season, surpising critics and even the most optimistic fans in what’s been Baltimore’s best start since 2005.

The 26-year-old Davis has morphed into a fan favorite in his first full season with the Orioles, not only becoming one of the team’s most productive hitters but providing one of the craziest memories in club history when he pitched two innings to earn the win in a 17-inning marathon at Fenway Park on May 6.

Add a broken-bat home run against Pittsburgh last week and his first games in right field at the big-league level this past weekend in Atlanta and you have all the makings of a folk hero in Baltimore.

Much like the 39-27 Orioles, at times, it’s difficult to believe what you’re seeing when watching the designated hitter/first baseman/right fielder/pitching extraordinaire.

But there’s no understating how important Davis’ emergence has been this season, especially with stints on the disabled list by Nolan Reimold, Mark Reynolds, and Nick Markakis. Center fielder Adam Jones has emerged as a superstar by leading the Orioles in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and runs scored, but Davis ranks second or third in all five of those categories in becoming a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat in the lineup.

His 12 home runs and 60 strikeouts in 211 at-bats entering Monday night aren’t overly surprising given Davis’ reputation when the Orioles acquired him in the Koji Uehara trade last July, but his .294 average defies what we saw over his last three years in Texas where Davis went from looking like a future star in 2008 to a player fitting the mold of a “Quad-A” hitter before being dealt.

The raw power has never come into question — evident by his broken-bat homer to right field off Pittsburgh reliever Tommy Watson last Wednesday — as Davis hit 17 home runs and batted .285 in 295 at-bats during his rookie season with the Rangers in 2008. However, the left-handed slugger quickly earned the reputation of a hitter who struck out too much, didn’t walk enough, and struggled to handle plus-fastballs in the major leagues. Those flaws led his batting average to plummet to .238 in 2009 and .192 in 2010, causing Davis to bounce back and forth between the Rangers and Triple A in his final three years in Texas.

It was difficult to project Davis as anything more than a less-patient, less-powerful version of Reynolds entering the season, which didn’t speak highly for his potential when considering how flawed Reynolds is as a player.

In 2012, Davis hasn’t made any dramatic changes to his overall approach — 60 strikeouts to just 13 walks — but his improvement against plus-fastballs has led to the substantial increase in average. A career .204 hitter in 255 career at-bats against power pitchers (those in the top third in the league in strikeouts plus walks) entering 2012, Davis has handled them at a .286 rate in 42 at-bats this season.

Davis has also handled left-handed pitching at a far more successful clip, batting .327 in 53 plate appearances against southpaws in 2012 after hitting only .236 against lefties in 275 career at-bats entering 2012.

While his high strikeout and low walk totals aren’t indicative of a hitter that will continue to hover around the .300 mark, Davis has been a model of consistency through his first 57 games this season. Aside from an abysmal seven-game stretch in May in which he went 3-for-28 and struck out 14 times, the left-hander has consistently sat somewhere between .290 and .310 as we reach the final two weeks of June. His .355 batting average for balls put in play indicates Davis has been fortunate, but it’s actually lower than the .366 combined clip he posted last year for the Rangers and Orioles.

When seeing the ball well, Davis shows exceptional power to straightaway center and the opposite field has eight of his 12 home runs have traveled in either of those directions.

After Markakis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken hamate bone, manager Buck Showalter turned to Davis to hold down the No. 3 spot in the order as the Orioles were depleted even further offensively. He’s hit only .206 in 34 at-bats batting third, but the lineup shift could present an interesting decision for Showalter when Markakis returns — projected to be some time during the next homestand, according to the right fielder.

Should Davis remain around the .300 mark, would you consider keeping him in the third spot and moving Markakis to the No. 2 slot? The move would allow Showalter to drop J.J. Hardy in the order, which would make sense with the shortstop hitting only .253 despite 11 home runs.

Whatever the Baltimore skipper decides, it’s a good problem to have.

For a team suffering its fair share of injuries and not receiving the same power numbers it enjoyed from Reynolds a season ago, Davis’ emergence has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season.

His willingness to do whatever is asked of him reflects the spirit of the 2012 Orioles.

Need someone to pitch? Not a problem.

You want to put me in right field in a National League ballpark, even though I’ve never played there in the big leagues? Sure thing.

Whatever it takes to win.

Much like watching the Orioles, you keep waiting and wondering if it’s going to last, but Davis has given no indication of slowing down any time soon.

And he just might be realizing the potential so many saw in him when he first arrived in the big leagues.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

Comments (3)

Orioles breathe sigh of relief as MRI reveals only contusions on Jones’ sore wrists

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Orioles breathe sigh of relief as MRI reveals only contusions on Jones’ sore wrists

Posted on 03 June 2012 by Luke Jones

(Monday 11:45 a.m.)

It was difficult imagining the two-week-long nightmare getting much scarier for the Orioles until the news following Sunday’s 8-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays that center fielder Adam Jones would undergo an MRI on his sore right wrist.

However, the verdict was positive Monday morning as the club announced the test showed only contusions on his ailing wrists, meaning Jones will fly to Boston to join the club ahead of the start of a three-games series with the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

“Thanks for all the concern but I’m all good,” Jones said on Twitter. “On the way to Beantown.”

After being replaced by pinch hitter Nick Johnson in the ninth inning on Sunday, Jones told reporters his right wrist had bothered him for a few weeks and manager Buck Showalter decided to remove him from the game as a precautionary measure. The 26-year-old was hit by a pitch on his left wrist in Toronto last Wednesday and had been icing it over the last few days.

Leading the Orioles with a .315 average, 16 home runs, and 34 runs batted in, Jones is having the finest season of his seven-year career in the big leagues and signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract last weekend to remain in Baltimore through the 2018 season. An X-ray taken on the right wrist came back negative on Sunday, but the club elected to have Jones remain in Florida overnight for an MRI.

Jones maintained the right wrist still felt strong despite being sore for the last few weeks and did not recall a specific play on which he injured it.

The news couldn’t have come at a better time after the recent loss of right fielder Nick Markakis to a broken hamate bone and left fielder Nolan Reimold’s extended stay on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck.

Baltimore has lost 10 of its last 13 games, falling one game behind Tampa Bay in the American League East.

 

Comments (2)

With Roberts’ potential return looming, Orioles still seek leadoff solution

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

With Roberts’ potential return looming, Orioles still seek leadoff solution

Posted on 29 May 2012 by Luke Jones

After being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Tuesday’s game in Toronto, 22-year-old outfielder Xavier Avery became the latest in a long list of candidates to fall short in stabilizing the Orioles’ leadoff spot over the last two seasons.

Since second baseman Brian Roberts exited a game with concussion-related symptoms on May 16, 2011, the Orioles have been without a bona fide hitter at the top of the order despite trying a number of candidates in the role.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy had a higher degree of success than others last season, but his .295 on-base percentage while batting in the leadoff spot — to go along with a career .320 on-base percentage — didn’t exactly scream top-of-the-order hitter. In fact, Hardy’s power numbers (40 home runs in 176 games with the Orioles) suggest a player better suited to hit in the middle of the order than at the top.

This season, left fielder Nolan Reimold appeared to be an intriguing — but unconventional — choice with his career .338 on-base percentage, but a herniated disc in his neck has sidelined him after a fast start. In his absence, the combination of Endy Chavez, Robert Andino, Ryan Flaherty, and Avery has not been able to produce and set the table for the middle of the order.

Avery shows promise for the future, but his extended audition exposed the need for him to improve against off-speed pitches and develop further at Norfolk before he’s ready to assume the leadoff role on a permanent basis.

In 2011, the No. 1 spot in the order accounted for a .240 batting average and a .290 on-base percentage, the worst figures of any spot in the batting order. The numbers have been even worse this season as the top spot in the order has produced an anemic .213 average to go along with a .258 on-base percentage.

While many place too much emphasis on the batting order, the leadoff spot is expected to be occupied by a player with a strong ability to get on base and speed — a combination that has eluded the Orioles.

So, who might manager Buck Showalter turn to?

Ironically, it might be the man the Orioles have been trying to replace for over a year.

Five games into his minor league rehabilitation assignment, Roberts has yet to experience any setbacks while collecting two hits and two walks in 12 plate appearances at Double-A Bowie. Even if his rehab stint goes off without a hitch, it would be ambitious to expect Roberts to return to the form of a career .353 on-base hitter, but the 34-year-old infielder would easily become the most viable option in the top spot if he’s even remotely close to the player he was prior to the injury.

The debate will continue over how Showalter should handle Roberts’ workload and what it means for current second baseman Robert Andino, but the Orioles desperately need more production from the leadoff spot.

And with Roberts’ return looking more realistic every day, he would be as close to the ideal candidate as the Orioles have had since his exit over a year ago.

Starting pitching woes

The news of veteran pitcher Roy Oswalt signing a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers stole some of the thunder of this topic, but it’s become clear the Orioles need better starting pitching if they hope to maintain anything close to the 29-20 pace that’s put them in first place for much of the first two months of the season.

The current 4.31 earned run average from the starting rotation is just above the league average of 4.30, but that number becomes more concerning when you consider starters pitched to a 3.63 ERA in April but have posted a 4.94 mark so far in May.

Left-hander Zach Britton is expected to take the place of the struggling Tommy Hunter, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday with his ERA ballooning to 5.59 after another poor start in Toronto on Monday. However, the in-house options are few and far between after that, making the idea of Oswalt so appealing before he decided to sign with the defending American League champions.

The Orioles have few pieces in their system to warrant anything better than what they already have in making a trade, meaning they will likely have no choice but to depend on the continued success of Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen and hope for more consistency from Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz to prevent too much wear and tear on the bullpen.

While the health of Britton’s left shoulder remains the priority over any short-term results, the Orioles can only hope the 24-year-old more closely resembles the pitcher who was 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in his first 10 starts last season than the one posting a 6.25 mark over his final 18 starts, which included a demotion and a trip to the disabled list with that sore shoulder.

With two days off during the current nine-game road trip, the Orioles will not need a fifth starter again until June 9. Barring any setbacks, Britton should be ready to join the starting rotation by that point in time.

Given Oswalt’s preference to play for a winner, Baltimore was an extreme long-shot, but his veteran presence for one season — without a long-term financial commitment — would have brought some much-needed stability and a veteran presence to the rotation.

Carrying Flaherty becoming burdensome?

Showalter has said how impressed he is with Rule 5 selection Ryan Flaherty on several occasions this season, but you have to wonder if the 25-year-old is becoming too great a burden on the 25-man roster for a first-place team.

Injuries provided the utility player more playing time in the early stages of May, but his .143 batting average (7-for-49) has led to less playing time over the last two weeks. Since going 0-for-4 in Kansas City on May 17, Flaherty has received only one start and four plate appearances while being relegated to the bench.

The idea of a Rule 5 player on a team projected to be in last place sounds like an acceptable situation, but carrying a player like Flaherty when you’re trying to win is a dicey proposition, especially when the Orioles have elected to go with a three-man bench and 13 pitchers at times when the bullpen has been overworked.

In addition to Flaherty, infielder Steve Tolleson doesn’t have a strong hold on his roster spot, so it will be interesting to see what executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette decides to do if and when Roberts is ready to be activated on June 12. Regardless of whether Roberts takes Andino’s starting job or not, his addition will take away another roster spot and make you wonder if the Orioles can keep Flaherty around much longer if he isn’t going to produce.

 

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Orioles hoping second epidural “does trick” for Reimold

Posted on 22 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Still experiencing numbness in his fingers and forearm, injured Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold will receive a second epidural injection to alleviate the pain from a herniated disc.

Reimold hasn’t played since the end of April and the first epidural he received nearly two weeks ago has done little to eliminate the discomfort from a bulging disc in his neck. The 28-year-old Reimold remains with the team and is expected to have the second injection on Friday, according to Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

“We’re hoping this does the trick,” said Showalter, who could not offer an idea of a projected date for a return. “That’s what we’re hoping, but there’s always that potential.”

The absence of Reimold and veteran Endy Chavez figured to leave a giant hole in left field, but the Orioles have found unexpected relief from 22-year-old Xavier Avery over the last 10 days. His emergency is even more remarkable when you consider the organization debated whether to send Avery to Triple-A Norfolk or back to Double-A Bowie after an underwhelming 2011 season with the Baysox.

Avery is hitting .278 in 36 at-bats and has already walked five times, showing impressive patience at the plate for a player not known for great discipline in the minor leagues. In comparison, Avery hit only .259 for Bowie last season and struck out 156 times while walking 49 times in 626 plate appearances.

Showalter is using caution when praising his fast start in the big leagues, but the Orioles feel very fortunate to have Avery’s contributions in left field every day.

“I’ve been impressed with his calmness and his selectiveness,” Showalter said. “And that’s always the last thing to come — it seems like — with a young player. Xavier’s doing well so far.”

In other news, injured infielder Mark Reynolds (strained oblique muscle) took batting practice off coaches in Sarasota on Tuesday. Chavez is also progressing nicely from a strained intercostal muscle and is scheduled to hit off coaches on Wednesday.

Left-handed pitcher Zach Britton said he felt good after pitching in an extended spring game and is on track to start at Double-A Bowie on Saturday.

Here are Tuesday night’s lineups…

Boston
SS Mike Aviles
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
RF Adrian Gonzalez
1B Kevin Youkilis
3B Will Middlebrooks
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
LF Daniel Nava
CF Marlon Byrd

SP Felix Doubront (4-1, 4.09 ERA)

Baltimore
2B Robert Andino
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Wilson Betemit
DH Chris Davis
3B Steve Tolleson
LF Xavier Avery

SP Brian Matusz (3-4, 5.36 ERA)

Here more from manager Buck Showalter in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here and be sure to follow WNST on Twitter for live updates and analysis from Camden Yards throughout the night.

Comments (0)

Orioles roster stands pat as Yankees come to town

Tags: , , , , , ,

Orioles roster stands pat as Yankees come to town

Posted on 14 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Barring something unforeseen such as a player slipping on the wet dugout steps or the mascot eating some bad birdseed, the Orioles will avoid making a roster move for the first time in a week.

Beginning with last Monday, the club has made 22 individual roster moves, optioning five players to the minors, selecting the contract of five, recalling three, placing three on the 15-day disabled list, sending two to the 60-day disabled list, and designating three for assignment. Needless to say, it’s been difficult to track as a reporter or a fan over the last week.

The Orioles welcome the New York Yankees to town for a brief two-game set with Jason Hammel making his return to the mound for the first time in nine days after a sore right knee forced him to be pushed back a few days. With the bullpen having thrown 5 1/3 innings in Sunday’s loss, manager Buck Showalter would prefer to see a lengthy outing from Hammel, who has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his six starts this year.

While the return of Hammel is a piece of good news for a club stricken with injuries in recent days, the latest update on left fielder Nolan Reimold did not sound very encouraging. After receiving an epidural injection for the bulging disc in his neck a few days ago, Reimold has not felt any significant improvement, according to Showalter.

Reimold could receive a series of three injections, but the training staff was hoping Reimold would respond more favorably to the first shot. He is eligible to return from the disabled list on Wednesday, but Showalter’s comments before the start of the New York series did not suggest an imminent return for the outfielder.

“He doesn’t seem to be markedly better,” Showalter said. “Initially, that’s part of a three-shot series, but some people recover and get great results from just the first one or the second one. There doesn’t seem to be the marked improvement we had hoped that Monday would bring.”

In Reimold’s absence, Showalter has used several different players at the top of the order, including the now-injured Endy Chavez, Ryan Flaherty, and Xavier Avery, who made his major league debut on Sunday and was in the leadoff spot again on Monday. Second baseman Robert Andino has hit in the top spot in the order against a few left-handed starters this season, and Showalter said he’s considered moving him into the leadoff spot on a more permanent basis — at least until Reimold returns.

“Robert is a weapon for us down below, and it stretches our lineup out,” Showalter said. “I’ve looked at the numbers where he’s concerned leading off and hitting in other places. I’m not saying it won’t happen — it could. But, I’d like to exhaust other possibilities before we have to go there. We’re still holding out hope that [Brian Roberts] comes back and takes back over that spot at some point.”

Andino carries a .328 on-base percentage this season and is a career .238 hitter in 178 plate appearances while hitting in the top spot in the order. He has batted .267 in 568 career plate appearances in the No. 9 slot.

The Orioles are still awaiting word on what the doctors make of the MRI on reliever Matt Lindstrom’s right middle finger. Lindstrom was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday after feeling a pop in the finger in the final game of the Texas series on Thursday.

Tommy Hunter will make the start in Kansas City on Wednesday, meaning Dana Eveland has been moved to the bullpen to serve as a much-needed long reliever for the time being.

Triple-A Norfolk pitcher Joel Pineiro missed his scheduled start on Sunday due to soreness in his shoulder capsule, but Showalter expressed optimism that it wasn’t considered a serious concern.

And in the latest chapter in a bitterly disappointing career for former first-round pick Billy Rowell, a 50-game suspension has been handed down to the 23-year-old for violating the minor league drug prevention and treatment program for the second time. He becomes the third minor league player in the organization to be suspended this year, joining catchers Brian Ward and Michael Ohlman.

The Orioles were attempting to make Rowell a pitcher in Sarasota, but there were few indications much progress was being made in that project prior to the suspension. He is listed on short-season Single-A Aberdeen’s roster, meaning his suspension will not begin until the start of the season in June.

Here are Monday night’s lineups…

New York
SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Alex Rodgriuez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Eric Chavez
C Russell Martin

SP Ivan Nova (4-1, 5.02 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Xavier Avery
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
3B Wilson Betemit
1B Chris Davis
DH Nick Johnson
2B Robert Andino

SP Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.09 ERA)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Buck Showalter and remember to follow us on Twitter for live updates and analysis from Camden Yards throughout the evening.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Veteran utility player Bill Hall to be promoted to Orioles on Saturday

Posted on 12 May 2012 by Luke Jones

With three players from the Orioles’ Opening Day roster now on the 15-day disabled list and at least one roster move being made every day this week, another change is coming as veteran infielder Bill Hall will become the latest member of the Norfolk Tides to head north to Baltimore.

Hall posted an update from his official Twitter account early Saturday morning that he was being called up after spending the last few weeks at Triple-A Norfolk. He told WNST.net he will fly to Baltimore Saturday morning.

“Got the word a [little] while ago,” Hall said on Twitter. “Just got called up to [the] Orioles. See [you] guys at Camden Yards [Saturday] night. Let’s go O’s!”

The veteran signed a minor-league deal in late April after failing to make the New York Yankees’ 25-man roster out of spring training. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette cited Hall’s ability to play multiple positions as well as his ability to hit left-handed pitching as reasons for his addition to the organization at the time of the signing.

It remains unclear whose place Hall will be taking on the roster, but the Orioles need production in left field with Nolan Reimold and Endy Chavez sidelined due to injury. Hall has played 240 games in the outfield over his 10-year career in the big leagues, 78 of those in left field.

In 15 games with the Tides, Hall was hitting .222 with two home runs and seven runs batted in over 63 at-bats. The 32-year-old has played third base in 11 games and served as the designated hitter in four. For those hoping to find relief at third base from the defensive struggles of Mark Reynolds and Wilson Betemit, Hall is not considered to be a strong defender and committed four errors in his 11 games at third with Norfolk.

Hall is a career .248 hitter with 124 home runs and 439 runs batted in in the big leagues. His best season came in 2006 when he hit 35 home runs and drove in 85 runs in 148 games for the Milwaukee Brewers.

He spent eight seasons with Milwaukee but has been with seven organizations since the beginning of the 2009 season.

In addition to clearing space on the active roster for Hall, the Orioles will need to open a spot on the 40-man roster. The club designated infielder Zelous Wheeler for assignment on Friday to make room for Dana Eveland, who made his first start for the Orioles in a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay.

Comments (0)

Phillips joins Orioles bullpen, Berken back to Norfolk

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Phillips joins Orioles bullpen, Berken back to Norfolk

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — It turns out pitcher Jason Berken’s second stint with the club will be shorter than his first one in Baltimore this season.

After a terrible inning of work in Monday’s 14-3 loss to the Texas Rangers, Berken has been optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk and replaced by left-handed reliever Zach Phillips. Berken allowed six hits and seven runs (two earned) in the ninth inning, which included a long home run by Josh Hamilton.

Manager Buck Showalter planned to only use three pitchers on Monday — starter Brian Matusz, Stu Pomeranz, and Berken — and will now turn to the southpaw relief pitcher he begrudgingly optioned to Triple-A Norfolk at the start of the season because he had a remaining option unlike a few other bullpen arms. Phillips had a brilliant Grapefruit League with the Orioles, posting a 1.35 earned run average in 13 1/3 innings of spring work.

Phillips owned a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings for Triple-A Norfolk so far this season.

He and Troy Patton give the Orioles two left-handers in the bullpen for the first time this season, but Showalter is not ready to designate one as a situational lefty and cited their backgrounds as starters and the ability for either pitcher to throw multiple innings when needed.

“I don’t think there’s enough track record there to [make either a lefty specialist] for sure,” Showalter said, “but both these guys – he and Troy – have the potential to do both, which is unusual.”

As for who will make Friday’s start in the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, Showalter is remaining tight-lipped but knows who he will call as long as rain doesn’t interfere over the next few days. All signs point to Norfolk starter Dana Eveland, who was pulled after 63 pitches on Monday despite throwing five shutout innings for the Tides.

The Orioles would have to put Eveland on the 40-man roster, but second baseman Brian Roberts could be transferred to the 60-day disabled list without any consequence to his efforts to return from concussion-related symptoms. Catcher Taylor Teagarden would also be a candidate for the 60-day DL as he continues to receive treatment for a back injury.

When asked about veteran infielder Miguel Tejada, Showalter confirmed the former Orioles shortstop and third baseman passed his physical without any concerns on Monday. However, the Baltimore manager deferred to executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette for more details.

“I don’t know what the process or the plan is at this point,” said Showalter, who was under the impression that Tejada served as the designated hitter during an extended spring training game in Sarasota on Tuesday.

Showalter admitted to not being familiar with Tejada, but he pointed to the positive reviews from former teammates of Tejada that are still on the roster.

Right fielder Nick Markakis is off to a difficult start in 2012, hitting just .230 with three home runs and 11 runs batted in in 113 at-bats. When asked whether he would consider moving the struggling outfielder from the third spot in the order, Showalter brushed it off for now.

“It’s too early,” Showalter said. “I think Nick has swung the bat well for us at times.”

Showalter went on to discuss the batting order in greater detail, acknowledging sabermetrics and varying philosophies on how to construct a lineup. With Nolan Reimold currently on the 15-day disabled list with a bulging disc in his neck, the Orioles lack any semblance of a prototypical leadoff hitter — if you could even label Reimold that to begin with.

Endy Chavez has received the most opportunities in Reimold’s absence, but the veteran outfielder is off to a miserable start with a .127 average. Chavez has a .310 career on-base percentage over his 11 years in the big leagues — not exactly what you’re looking for at the top of the order.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

Texas
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Adrian Beltre
3B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
RF Nelson Cruz
C Mike Napoli
1B Mitch Moreland

SP Neftali Feliz (1-1, 3.81 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Endy Chavez
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
3B Wilson Betemit
DH Mark Reynolds
2B Robert Andino

SP Jake Arrieta (2-2, 3.52 ERA)

Comments (1)

Nolan Reimold to miss time with bulging disk

Tags: ,

Nolan Reimold to miss time with bulging disk

Posted on 01 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold left the team in New York Monday night, as he returned to Baltimore with a tingling sensation in his fingers.

MASN reported today that upon meeting with doctors Tuesday, Reimold found out that he has a bulging disk in his back, causing the discomfort.

Reimold, who went 0-for-4 Monday night in the Orioles’ 2-1 loss to the Yankees, is currently hitting .310 with five home runs and 10 RBIs.

He has played off and on over the last several weeks as he has battled neck and back spasms as well, but has played through the injury.

Manager Buck Showalter said at this time, Reimold will not be placed on the DL and has been given anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the swelling.

Endy Chavez led off and started in left field for Reimold Tuesday night against the Yankees.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Live from Camden Yards: Reimold returns to lineup as Orioles go for sweep of Toronto

Posted on 26 April 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE — With Brian Matusz taking the hill and desperately needing a quality start to aid his confidence, the Orioles lineup will be closer to full strength as they look for the three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

After responding well to a batting practice session on Wednesday afternoon, left fielder Nolan Reimold returns to the leadoff spot after a four-game absence. Reimold remains tied for second on the club with five home runs and has homered in five of the last six games in which he’s played dating back to April 13.

“He’s going to give it a shot tonight,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s ready to go. See how that goes. He did a lot of work [Wednesday] and didn’t have any setbacks. I think we’ve done everything we can to go forward on that.”

Jim Johnson is improving and could be sent home from the hospital either late Thursday or early Friday morning. While Showalter could not specify a specific illness stemming from the bacterial issue, doctors have ruled out a number of more severe possibilities.

The Baltimore closer is now attempting to hold down solid food and has been hospitalized since Monday night with flu-like symptoms.

In his absence, 26-year-old Pedro Strop has converted saves in each of the last games but will likely be unavailable for the series finale. Showalter wouldn’t tip his hand regarding Strop or who he would use in a save situation on Thursday, but the most likely candidates would be Matt Lindstrom, Luis Ayala or even Troy Patton, depending on match-ups in the ninth inning.

“I do know what we’re going to do, but I kind of like having some bullets in the back,” Showalter said.

Second baseman Robert Andino will fly back to Baltimore on Friday morning and is expected to return to the lineup for the start of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics this weekend.

Updating the Tsuyoshi Wada situation, the Japanese pitcher will fly to Los Angeles this weekend to get a second opinion on his injured elbow from Dr. Lewis Yocum. Wada revealed to reporters that Tommy John surgery is a possibility, confirming there is a tear in the elbow ligament.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

Toronto
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Brett Lawrie
RF Jose Bautista
1B Edwin Encarnacion
LF Eric Thames
DH Ben Francisco
CF Rajai Davis
C J.P. Arencibia
2B Omar Vizquel

SP Drew Hutchison (1-0, 8.44 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Nolan Reimold
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
DH Chris Davis
3B Mark Reynolds
1B Nick Johnson
2B Ryan Flaherty

SP Brian Matusz (0-3, 7.98 ERA)

Comments (0)