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Game times set for potential ALDS Games 1 and 2 in Baltimore

Posted on 05 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Should the Orioles win the American League Wild Card play-in game against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, we now know when they will play the New York Yankees in the first two games of the AL Division Series.

With Major League Baseball switching to a five-game format in which the lower-seeded team hosts the first two games and the higher seed hosts the final three games of the Division Series, the Orioles would welcome New York to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday and Monday.

The league announced Game 1 would begin at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday evening. Game 2 would then take place on Monday night with an 8:07 p.m. first pitch. Both games would be televised on TBS.

The final three games of the series — with Games 4 and 5 only being played if necessary — would take place at Yankee Stadium Wednesday through Friday.

Times have yet to be announced for those contests, but all three would again be shown on TBS.

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Who is the Next Statue?

Posted on 12 August 2012 by WNST Staff

After about a three hour rain delay on Saturday, Eddie Murray was recognized as one of six players to be enshrined at Camden Yards with his own statue in center field.  He joined the likes of Earl Weaver, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and soon to be, Cal Ripken Jr. as the fixtures in the outfield for as long as the beautiful ballpark stands.  Each are Hall of Famers and rightfully so, as they include some of the best players (and manager) the sport has ever seen.  These men had a major role in not only shaping what was the heyday of the Orioles franchise, but in developing Orioles Park as the stadium you see today.

But since Cal’s retirement, we have all witnessed this team’s demise, which in turn has demolished the spirit of what was once one of the best fan bases in any sport.  In the past twenty years, no one has earned the right to even be considered for such a glorious recognition like Eddie Murray witnessed this weekend.  There have been individuals who had led to the disappointment in the Inner Harbor, which is a now a major part of this franchises’ history.   Obviously, they do not deserve to be next to the likes of the greats in center, but what if we honored those people by making another monument park; maybe next to the dumpster in the parking lot under 95.

Who would make that cut?  This is the list of members of Orioles history, who would be worthy of such a distinction; who should be enshrined with trash and bird droppings underneath the bypass for contributions to the team.

5. Rafael Palmeiro- Though he did enjoy a great deal of success in Baltimore (and may have considered to bear an Orioles lid in his Hall of Fame bust), he disgraced himself and the organization with his antics in front of Congress.  His statue would signify his punch line finger wave, while holding a needle of “B12” in the other hand.

4. Roberto Alomar– He actually has been elected to the Hall of Fame, but only spent a couple years in Baltimore, not worthy of actual glory.  And with all his greatness, he is remembered as an Oriole for one incident involving some spit and a disgruntled umpire; his statue would reenact that moment.

3. Jeffrey Maier- Maybe no other human being coincides with the O’s demise than Maier and his glove.  Without him, maybe the team gains momentum in a series versus the Yankees onto another championship banner.  Maier doesn’t even deserve his likeness into a statue, so instead it would be a replica of Tony Tarrasco’s reaction from that night.

2. Albert Belle– No player has actually shaped what the franchise has become more than Albert Belle.  His massive contract handcuffed the organizations thought process, and bank account, for the last decade.  His likeness would be a cast of himself, fat and on his couch, with a bag of potato chips in one hand and a money bag in the other.

1. Peter Angelos- Since his taking over the franchise, this fan base has suffered enough heartache to cripple the entire city.  His awful organizational standards and misguided views on running a team have led to the worst stint of Oriole baseball ever.  His statue would not actually be himself, but an actual turd to symbolize how he is viewed by anyone supporting the Black and Orange.

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Britton continues moving closer to Orioles return

Posted on 21 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The first-place Orioles welcomed the red-hot Boston Red Sox to town to begin a three-game set on Monday, but all pre-game discussion centered around two players yet to step foot on the field in 2012.

Second baseman Brian Roberts appears closer than ever to making his long-awaited return to the field and may start a minor league rehabilitation assignment within the next week or two. Roberts and manager Buck Showalter have a date in mind to begin the assignment, but the organization is keeping it close to the vest in case of any unforeseen setbacks.

In an extensive interview with the gathered media in the clubhouse on Monday afternoon (you can hear his comments HERE), Roberts said it was unlikely he would report to Sarasota but would instead begin playing in minor league games — Double-A Bowie and Single-A Frederick would be the logical destinations based on their schedule of home games — when deemed ready by his doctors.

I’ll have much more on Roberts later at WNST.net, but it’s apparent the Orioles are talking in terms of when — not if — the veteran second baseman returns.

“Hopefully, that’s something that’s imminent,” said Showalter about a rehab assignment. “We’ve got a plan in place, and 99 percent of it is based on what Brian and his doctors are talking about. We’re at the point where there’s a potential date involved.”

Left-handed pitcher Zach Britton is moving closer to a return after pitching in an extended spring training game in Sarasota on Monday. He threw 69 pitches over five innings and will have another workday on Wednesday. If all goes to plan, Britton could report to an affiliate to officially begin his minor league rehab assignment on Saturday.

Britton hasn’t suffered any setbacks since being placed on the 15-day disabled list late in spring training, and it appears the 24-year-old could find his way back to Baltimore by mid-June, which would create the interesting question of who he might replace in the rotation. Given the pitching woes of the last decade, that would be a welcome problem to have.

The news wasn’t as positive on relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom (finger) as he will not be ready to come off the disabled list on Saturday. He will likely go on a brief rehab assignment, and Showalter said it will likely be another two weeks or so until he’s ready to return to the 25-man roster.

Third baseman Mark Reynolds (strained oblique) is also close to going on a minor league rehab assignment. Meanwhile, veteran infielder Miguel Tejada reported to Triple-A Norfolk over the weekend and was scheduled to bat cleanup and play third base for the Tides on Monday.

Here are Monday night’s lineups…

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

SP Clay Buchholz (4-2, 7.77 ERA)

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

SP Tommy Hunter (2-2, 4.78 ERA)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Brian Roberts, and Jim Johnson here and follow WNST on Twitter for live updates and analysis from Camden Yards throughout the evening.

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After being on wrong end of history, Orioles must now fight their own

Posted on 09 May 2012 by Luke Jones

History was made at Camden Yards on Tuesday night, but the story for the Orioles wasn’t Josh Hamilton becoming the 16th player in major league history to hit four home runs in a single game.

Entering Monday with the best earned run average in the American League and coming off a nine-game stretch in which they allowed a total of 23 runs against Oakland, New York, and Boston, the Orioles have surrendered 24 runs over the last two nights against the powerful Texas Rangers to knock them down a couple pegs in an otherwise impressive start to the 2012 season.

Like Brian Matusz on Monday, Jake Arrieta had no answers for the Texas lineup as an Orioles starter turned in a poor outing for the third straight game while a patchwork bullpen that included three call-ups over the last two days hasn’t been any better.

Needless to say, manager Buck Showalter wasn’t in the mood to discuss the heroics of Hamilton, whose 18 total bases on Tuesday set an American League record and were one shy of former Dodger Shawn Green’s major-league record 19 set on May 23, 2002.

“We didn’t score many runs, either,” Showalter said. “I think you’ve got to tip your hat to their pitching staff, too. We’ve obviously given up a lot of runs in a couple nights to make it tough. Obviously, Hamilton had a big night.”

The offense, which seemed to have come alive in the last five games of the last road trip, has suddenly gone silent over the last two nights against Texas starters Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz, scoring just six runs in two games.

The Orioles have lost consecutive games for the first time since April 20 and 21 in Anaheim, but one of the most impressive aspects of their 19-11 start has been their ability to dust themselves off after the handful of losses suffered over the first five weeks of the season. Even so, you have to wonder how two lopsided losses to the Rangers — who look like the class of the American League early on — will impact the club’s psyche following a successful 5-1 road trip against the Yankees and the Red Sox.

After winning a remarkable 17-inning marathon in Boston on Sunday, the Orioles have appeared to lack energy over the last two nights, though it’s easy to say that when facing a team many regard as the best in baseball. In addition to the physical demands of the aforementioned game against the Red Sox, you wonder if the inexperienced Orioles suffered a mental hangover in coming home after such a successful road trip against their two biggest tormentors of the last 14 years.

One of the biggest signs of a winning team is its ability to rebound quickly from tough losses and prevent negative spurts from transforming into extended losing streaks. Realistically speaking, two straight losses are nothing at all over which to be concerned, but mainstays of the roster over the last few years have a laundry list of lengthy swoons they’ll need to keep from their minds while trying to regroup for the final two games of the series against the Rangers.

As uplifting as their 19-11 start has been, dropping 10 of their next 11 would all but erase the positive vibes circulating through the Baltimore clubhouse. They can try to fight it all they want, but losing still flows through the veins of many key players and can’t be eliminated completely in a 30-game period. Unlike winning clubs of recent seasons, the Orioles don’t have positive experiences of rebounding from adversity from which to draw, forcing you to take pregnant pause at the first sign of trouble.

They simply aren’t familiar with how winning teams handle a bump or two in the road.

Despite being outscored 24-6 over the last two nights, the Orioles will have the opportunity to put that behind them immediately on Wednesday and Thursday as they try to snap a seven-game losing streak to the two-time American League champions that dates back to last season.

Unlike any other sport, baseball gives you the opportunity to erase the pain immediately.

But it’s also unforgiving in how consecutive losses can quickly turn into a nightmarish stretch of time if you’re not careful.

The Orioles know that all too well in recent years and will try to get back on track with their pitching, the phase of the game that’s carried them to their best start since 2005.

It needs to regroup in a hurry.

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Orioles add bullpen help against powerful Rangers

Posted on 07 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — A day after one of the wildest games in franchise history, the Orioles were forced to make difficult changes to their roster to add a couple bullpen arms to the mix with the powerful Texas Rangers coming to Baltimore for a four-game series.

Limited to just 4 1/3 innings in his shortest outing of the year on Sunday, starter Tommy Hunter was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk along with backup catcher Ronny Paulino to clear room for relievers Jason Berken and Stu Pomeranz. Manager Buck Showalter made it clear the moves were byproducts of the 17-inning series finale in Boston, but he also acknowledged some of the physical challenges that have hindered Hunter in recent weeks.

“Understand that Tommy had a slight oblique, which he’s 100 percent back from,” Showalter said. “He had the flu that everybody had. He had an ingrown toenail. So, he went about two weeks without being able to do some of his strength stuff.”

In six starts, Hunter is 2-1 with a 5.00 earned run average and has allowed 1.42 hits and walks per inning pitched. The 25-year-old right-hander has pitched up in the strike zone far too much, resulting in allowing a club-worst nine home runs in 36 innings.

With the Orioles needing bullpen help and Hunter having an option, he became an unfortunate casualty and creates the question of who will make Friday’s start against the Tampa Bay Rays. Barring a need to replace an injured player, Hunter must remain with the Tides for a minimum of 10 days. Showalter said Berken could be a candidate to make the start, but that will depend on how much the Orioles may need to use him over the next couple nights.

Showalter doesn’t anticipate a long stay in the minors for the club’s No. 2 starter entering the season, but he made no promises when breaking the news to Hunter.

“I look to see Tommy really getting back on track down there with one or two starts,” Showalter said. “We’ll see where it takes us.”

It appeared to be a foregone conclusion that third catcher Luis Exposito would be optioned back to Norfolk with the Orioles calling up at least one reliever, but Paulino received the surprising demotion instead. Showalter cited Paulino’s abbreviated spring training — due to work via issues — and his preference to get more time for Paulino behind the plate, which makes you infer the Orioles manager may not be enamored with Paulino’s defensive work.

“He’s done some good things for us,” Showalter said about Paulino. “We just want to let him catch every day down there and get back to where he’s comfortable. Build up some of his leg strength and get some consistent at-bats.”

As for Monday night, Showalter would not tip his hand as to who else would be available in addition to Berken and Pomeranz, but you can only imagine the list to be a short one. He essentially ruled out any pitchers who appeared in all three games of the Boston series — Matt Lindstrom and Troy Patton fall into that category — but it’s hard to imagine him wanting to go to Kevin Gregg or Jim Johnson.

Each threw two innings on Sunday, but neither is accustomed to going more than one inning under typical circumstances. With Gregg’s sporadic workload over the last month and Johnson’s recent bout with food poisoning zapping his strength, the Orioles would be wise avoiding those two if possible.

Considering the Orioles called up two relievers and made two unexpected demotions in the process tells all you need to know about the desperate state of the bullpen.

More than anything, Showalter is praying for a lengthy outing by left-hander Brian Matusz as the Orioles welcome the Rangers to town in a four-day meeting between two of the best teams — record-wise — in the American League. After recording his first win of the season in his last start in New York, Matusz will be expected to give the Orioles innings in the series opener — even if the results aren’t the prettiest.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

Texas
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
DH Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
C Mike Napoli
3B Brandon Snyder
CF Craig Gentry

SP Matt Harrison (3-2, 5.40 ERA)

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

SP Brian Matusz (1-3, 4.67 ERA)

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Morning Reaction Orioles 10-Game Scorecard (Games 11-20)

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Luke Jones

During the 2012 season, Drew Forrester and Luke Jones of The Morning Reaction will provide the “10-Game Scorecard” for the Orioles, rating the club in 10-game increments in a number of categories and looking ahead to how Baltimore will fare over the next 10 games on the schedule.

(Editor’s note: This scorecard reflects games 11 through 20, not accounting for the final two games of the Oakland series over the weekend.)

To hear the full explanation of the “10-Game Scorecard” during Monday’s show, listen HERE.

1. Should the Orioles have been better or worse than their 6-4 mark?
Drew: Worse
Luke: Better

2. Most Valuable Player/Least Valuable Player
Drew: MVP – Adam Jones; LVP – Mark Reynolds
Luke: MVP – Adam Jones; LVP – Kevin Gregg

3. Biggest surprise
Drew: Darren O’Day
Luke: Jason Hammel

4. Best thing about the 10-game stretch
Drew: Bullpen
Luke: Bullpen

5. Ten games from now…
Drew: Mark Reynolds will hit four home runs and strike out 12 times (over the next eight games).
Luke: J.J. Hardy will hit three home runs (over the next eight games).

6. Record in the next 10 games
(**already two wins over Oakland**, three at New York, three at Boston, two with Texas)
Drew: 6-4
Luke: 6-4

7. Stock rising/falling over the next 10 games
Drew: Rising – Mark Reynolds; Falling – Wei-Yin Chen
Luke: Rising – Brian Matusz; Falling – Jason Hammel

8. Grading Buck Showalter in games 11-20
Drew: A
Luke: A-

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Orioles closer Johnson remains hospitalized with bacterial issue

Posted on 25 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Though Pedro Strop passed his first test as the interim closer in a 2-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, the Orioles still anxiously await the return of Jim Johnson, who remains hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.

Doctors continue to run tests in trying to pinpoint the bacterial issue, so Johnson will be unavailable for the second straight night. Manager Buck Showalter revealed upwards of nine players are currently dealing with flu-related or upper respiratory issues stemming from a bug that swept through the Baltimore clubhouse in the latter portion of last week’s road trip.

Showalter has exchanged text messages with his closer but is more concerned with Johnson simply getting his body right before talking about when he will return to the mound.

“You’re talking about some things that you have to be careful with, but he’s in great hands — some of the best doctors in the world,” Showalter said. “At some point, he’ll rejoin us and then we’ll start talking about baseball.”

Nolan Reimold is out of the lineup for the fourth straight game but says his neck is improving after taking early batting practice on Wednesday afternoon. The left fielder is still experiencing stiffness in trying to move his head up and down, but his side-to-side movement has improved.

Second on the team with five home runs, Reimold is confident he will avoid the 15-day disabled list and return to the lineup sooner rather than later.

“I think we are being cautious,” Reimold said. “[The pain] was there when I played in Anaheim and then it just tightened up real bad after the game and the next morning. I think they want to make sure I’m right and can come back and remain back and not set myself back any further.”

Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada will receive a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum regarding the ligament damage in his pitching elbow. Showalter confirmed the two options at this point of potentially resting and rehabbing the injury or undergoing a surgical procedure that would presumably end his season.

The Orioles manager had good news on left-handed pitcher Zach Britton, saying his rehab on the left shoulder is “right on schedule.” Britton is close to pitching bullpen sessions from the mound and has not experienced any setbacks since receiving platelet-rich plasma therapy in March.

Pitcher Jason Berken has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take second baseman Robert Andino’s spot on the 25-man roster. As revealed on Tuesday, Andino has been placed on the paternity leave list to be with his wife as the couple gave birth to a daughter, Amarise Hazel, on Wednesday.

Andino joked with Showalter that the couple is now “three and out” after welcoming their third child and that he is planning to purchase a shotgun to keep the boys away since he now has a daughter. The second baseman also celebrated his 28th birthday on Wednesday.

Making three starts for the Tides, Berken would be on regular rest and is available to pitch multiple innings if needed over the next day or two before he presumably returns to Norfolk upon Andino’s return to the club.

“I’ll be in the pen,” said Berken, who credited a new commitment to his changeup in explaining his 0.60 earned run average in 15 innings at Norfolk. “I’m just here to pitch any time they need me, whether it’s one or five [innings].”

Catcher Taylor Teagarden remains in Sarasota and will receive a third epidural injection in his back. The organization hopes this will resolve the issue before needing to explore other treatment options.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

Toronto
SS Yunel Escobar
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Jose Bautista
1B Adam Lind
LF Eric Thames
3B Edwin Encarnacion
DH Brett Lawrie
CF Colby Rasmus
C J.P. Arencibia

SP Kyle Drabek (2-0, 2.00 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 Ryan Flaherty

SP Jason Hammel (2-0, 2.37 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter for live updates and analysis throughout Wednesday’s game and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Nolan Reimold, Jason Berken, and Buck Showalter here.

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Patsos Honored With First Pitch at Camden Yards

Posted on 10 April 2012 by WNST Staff

Strike! Patsos Throws Out First Pitch Before Orioles Game

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland Head Coach Jimmy Patsos was recognized Tuesday night and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards before the Baltimore Orioles took on the New York Yankees.

Patsos threw a belt-high strike over the outside corner of the plate to Orioles relief pitcher Luis Ayala. He was honored by the Orioles, along with senior captain Shane Walker, prior to the pitch.

The eighth-year coach was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and National Association of Basketball Coaches District II Coach of the Year, and he was later honored as the 2012 recipient of the Skip Prosser Award as college basketball’s Man of the Year at the Final Four.

“It was a great experience tonight, one that I am going to remember forever,” Patsos said. “Shane and I got a chance to meet (Orioles manager) Buck Showalter, and I said I had a chance to do what he has done with the Yankees and Diamondbacks, and what he’s doing here: build a program. It’s a small thing that we have in common, but his work is something I have admired.”

Patsos guided the Greyhounds to a 24-9 record and their second-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament this season. He took over a program in 2004-2005 that had won just one game the season before. Earlier this year, he became the third coach in the last 20 years to win 100 games at a school after taking over following a season after the team won zero or one game.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orioles ready for potential carryover with sign-stealing accusation from Yankees

Posted on 10 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — As Yankees closer Mariano Rivera recorded the final out of the Orioles’ 6-2 loss to New York on Monday night, you may have missed the fireworks between his catcher Russell Martin and Baltimore second baseman Robert Andino.

Martin accused Andino of trying to relay signs from second base and the two barked at one another as the ninth inning concluded. Both Andino and Martin are in their respective lineups, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter is downplaying what happened while maintaining his club will be ready for any potential fallout or retaliation in the second game of the three-game set.

“We’ll deal with it if it happens,” Showalter said. “I know where I think the right and wrong in the sense of the reality. It’s not exactly like Mariano [Rivera] is featuring a curveball and a changeup and a split. Certainly didn’t work out too well [for us] if that was the case.”

In typical Showalter fashion, the manager quipped that the best way to prevent the opposition from trying to steal signs is to keep runners off second base.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters always assumes the opposition is trying to relay signs and makes adjustments to prevent that from happening.

“That’s why you do sequences; that’s why you try to move late,” Wieters said before Tuesday’s game. “You’re not going to like it if you do think someone is stealing pitches, but at the same time, it’s where you go to disguise it.”

Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen makes his major league debut tonight as he takes the hill against the Yankees. Showalter acknowledged the extra excitement in the air with Chen’s debut and pointed to how the game will be broadcast live in Taiwan, joking that many people will be late to work with the early-morning start in Chen’s homeland.

The 26-year-old features a fastball, changeup, splitter, and curveball and depends on command and location to retire hitters. His fastball averages roughly 90 or 91 miles per hour, so he isn’t the type of hurler to overpower the opposition.

Wieters is in the lineup for the fifth straight day and will start again on Wednesday, according to Showalter. With his starting catcher fresh and the start of the season, the manager wanted Wieters behind the plate for every starter’s first turn through the starting rotation.

The Orioles are off on Thursday and Wieters will receive either Saturday or Sunday off in Toronto, depending on the pitching matchups.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

New York
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Andruw Jones
C Russell Martin
LF Brett Gardner

SP Freddy Garcia

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

SP Wei-Yin Chen

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Buck Showalter and Matt Wieters and be sure to follow WNST on Twitter for live updates throughout the evening from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Undefeated Birds Welcome Winless Yanks to OPACY Monday

Posted on 08 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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