Tag Archive | "Orioles"

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Orioles place left-handed reliever Wright on DL

Posted on 11 April 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Faced with a crowded bullpen to begin the 2015 season, the Orioles will now have that problem alleviated in a way they didn’t anticipate.

Left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left trapezius strain. The reliever disclosed the injury after pitching 1 1/3 innings in Friday’s 12-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

“After we see the [doctor], we’ll know what the next step will be,” said Wright, who revealed Friday that he’s been dealing with the issue for a few days. “I’m hoping that it’s something that can get taken care of kind of quickly and hopefully I can be back on the field soon. It wasn’t worse, so I’ll take that aspect of it. I knew the way I felt yesterday, it was going to take something dramatic for me to feel a lot better this morning. When I woke up, I felt basically the same.”

In two appearances, Wright has allowed one earned run and two hits in 1 2/3 innings with his new club.

It remains unclear how long Wright will be sidelined, but the Orioles recalled pitcher Eddie Gamboa from Triple-A Norfolk to take his place in the bullpen just in time for Saturday’s game. Outfielder David Lough (hamstring) is expected to be activated from the DL in the coming days, but the Orioles intend to send him on a brief minor-league rehab assignment with Single-A Frederick beginning Sunday.

Unlike other options on the 40-man roster who had pitched in the last day or two, Gamboa is fresh and can provide the Orioles with length in the bullpen for however long he remains in Baltimore. The 30-year-old knuckleballer is scheduled to start for the Tides on Monday, but that will depend on whether manager Buck Showalter will need to use him over the next couple days.

In 2014, Gamboa went a combined 5-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 108 2/3 innings split between Norfolk and Double-A Bowie. He has never appeared in the majors in his seven-year professional career.

Left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland could have been recalled as he was the scheduled starter for Norfolk on Saturday, but the Orioles prefer giving him some regular work in Triple A to begin the season. Right-hander Mike Wright remains on the club’s radar, but he started for Norfolk on Friday and touched 99 miles per hour at one point, according to Showalter.

In other injury-related news, catcher Matt Wieters (elbow tendinitis) took batting practice from both sides of the plate in Sarasota on Saturday. He is expected to throw from 120 feet and catch batting practice on Sunday.

“That was all encouraging to hear,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but that’s kind of moving [forward] a little bit.”

Shortstop J.J. Hardy continues to progress but is feeling slight discomfort in his left shoulder at the very end of his follow through when swinging. Showalter doesn’t want him to be thinking about that when he’s hitting, which means the Orioles won’t rush him to go on a rehab assignment until he’s fully ready.

“I want to get it right the first time. I don’t want him to feel like he has to rush,” Showalter said. “It’s like Matt — I want to get it right the first time and not have to look back and worry about it. But I like where he is with it right now.”

Infielder Jimmy Paredes (lower back) is expected to play in an extended spring training game on Monday. If that goes well, he could go on a minor-league rehab assignment in Frederick next week.

Pitching prospect Hunter Harvey (broken fibula) completed two sets of 25 throws from 60 feet on Saturday. He hasn’t pitched since he was struck in the ankle with a comebacker in minor-league spring training late last month.

Below are Saturday night’s lineups:

TORONTO
SS Jose Reyes
CF Dalton Pompey
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
3B Josh Donaldson
C Russell Martin
1B Justin Smoak
LF Kevin Pillar
2B Devon Travis

SP Aaron Sanchez (2014 stats: 2-2, 1.09 ERA)

BALTIMORE
LF Alejandro De Aza
RF Steve Pearce
1B Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
DH Travis Snider
3B Manny Machado
2B Jonathan Schoop
SS Everth Cabrera
C Caleb Joseph

SP Ubaldo Jimenez (2014 stats: 6-9, 4.81 ERA)

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A home opener to forget for the Orioles

Posted on 10 April 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Maybe rain would have been better for the Orioles, after all.

Despite a threatening weather forecast that never came to fruition Friday, a dark cloud in the form of the Toronto Blue Jays ruined Baltimore’s home opener in a 12-5 final before 45,936 fans at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Battering starting pitcher Bud Norris and the bullpen for much of the afternoon, the Blue Jays handed the Orioles their worst defeat in a home opener since 1995. Baltimore hadn’t allowed 12 runs in its first home contest of a season since Milwaukee defeated the hapless 1988 Orioles in a 12-0 final to begin the infamous 21-game losing streak. The run total also matched the season high surrendered in any game by Orioles pitching last year.

At least nobody tripped running down the orange carpet during introductions?

Beyond the magnified nature and overreaction that can accompany the early days of a season, it was a single defeat, but one the Orioles would like to immediately forget.

One poor start for Norris wouldn’t be much cause for concern if it hadn’t followed a spring in which the right-hander posted a 9.26 ERA, allowed five home runs, and walked nine batters in just 11 2/3 innings in Grapefruit League play. Pushing the panic button would be premature, but it would be fair to at least consider Norris a person of interest along with the enigmatic Ubaldo Jimenez in monitoring the starting rotation in the early stages of the season.

Frequently missing the target provided by catcher Caleb Joseph, Norris allowed four extra-base hits, eight total hits, walked one, and hit a batter before being lifted with no outs in the fourth inning. Blue Jays hitters hit several balls hard and found a hole in the defense on a couple others, a trend that continued against the bullpen as Toronto finished with 16 hits, eight of them doubles.

“You can’t just look at the results,” said Norris, who labeled his day “frustrating” in allowing eight earned runs in front of the home crowd. “You have to look at other things — how you feel and all the rest. I got through the spring healthy, and that was a big one for me. The results were not great on paper, but that is just one side of the story. I’ve been a confident player and I have another opportunity in five days.”

As if a shaky effort from relievers Brad Brach, Jason Garcia, and Wesley Wright behind Norris weren’t enough, it was revealed after the game that Wright is dealing with a sore shoulder and neck and will be reevaluated on Saturday.

The pitching wasn’t alone in the misery as the Orioles lineup squandered two early opportunities to chip away at 4-1 and 5-1 deficits against Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle, who won his 200th career game on Friday. Everth Cabrera lined out to right to after Baltimore had loaded the bases with two outs in the second, and Delmon Young grounded into a double play with runners on the corners to end the third.

Even the Orioles’ offensive star of the game, Adam Jones, was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the fifth with a 10-2 deficit. His first home run of the season and 4-for-4 performance were rare highlights in a disappointing day, but his mistake hurt with the Orioles needing baserunners to mount a huge comeback.

It was just one of those forgettable days for the Orioles, who dropped only their seventh home opener in 24 seasons at Camden Yards and their first since 2010.

Though Norris must stew over his performance in his 2015 debut, the Orioles can turn the page quickly knowing there are 158 games remaining with the next one coming Saturday night.

“I was happy for the fans that [the rain] held off and it wasn’t too uncomfortable for them,” said manager Buck Showalter in describing the atmosphere of the home opener. “Toronto probably made it uncomfortable for them, too.”

No, the predicted storms never came, but the Blue Jays certainly rained on the parade at Camden Yards.

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hardynew

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Hardy still taking it slow with left shoulder

Posted on 10 April 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Beginning their 24th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Orioles hope the weather will cooperate as they host the Toronto Blue Jays in their home opener on Friday afternoon.

An overcast setting accompanied by a forecast of afternoon thunderstorms provided the topic of conversation, but the Orioles hope to continue their run of success in home openers at Camden Yards as they are 17-6 since 1992. Baltimore owns a 41-20 combined record in home openers dating back to 1954.

Though currently on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a left shoulder strain in late March, shortstop J.J. Hardy continues to make progress as the club hopes to send him on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment next week. On Thursday, Hardy took swings with a fungo bat and expressed no major concerns to reporters the following morning. The plan is for Hardy to swing once again on Friday — potentially with his regular bat or even hitting off a tee.

This is considered the final hurdle as his shoulder has responded well to all other baseball-related activity.

“We still have to take it day by day and see how I feel,” Hardy said. “We’re not putting a time limit on it, because it puts more pressure on it. It’s definitely getting better.”

Outfielder David Lough (left hamstring) is expected to play in an intrasquad game in Sarasota on Friday. Manager Buck Showalter said the plan is to send Lough to Single-A Frederick for a rehab assignment as early as Saturday, but the Orioles have left open the possibility of activating him from the DL this weekend.

Below are the lineups for the home opener:

TORONTO
SS Jose Reyes
CF Dalton Pompey
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
3B Josh Donaldson
C Dioner Navarro
1B Justin Smoak
LF Kevin Pillar
2B Devon Travis

SP Mark Buehrle (2014 stats: 13-10, 3.39 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)

BALTIMORE
SS Everth Cabrera
LF Steve Pearce
CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
DH Delmon Young
3B Manny Machado
RF Travis Snider
2B Jonathan Schoop
C Caleb Joseph

SP Bud Norris (2014 stats: 15-8, 3.65 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)

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webb

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Orioles trade Webb, minor-league catcher Ward to Dodgers

Posted on 09 April 2015 by Luke Jones

After designating right-handed pitcher Ryan Webb for assignment hours before the start of the 2015 season, the Orioles have sent the reliever to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade also involving three minor-league players.

Baltimore is sending Webb, catcher Brian Ward, and its competitive-balance draft pick (74th overall) to the Dodgers in exchange for catcher Chris O’Brien and right-handed pitcher Ben Rowen. Both newcomers will report to the minor leagues with O’Brien going to Double-A Bowie and Rowen reporting to Triple-A Norfolk.

The good news for the Orioles is that Los Angeles will assume all responsibility for Webb’s $2.75 million salary for 2015. The 29-year-old cleared waivers last week as the Orioles were trying to make space in a crowded bullpen that already has eight pitchers to begin the season.

Rowen posted a 3.45 ERA in 47 innings with Triple-A Round Rock last season. The 26-year-old right-hander pitched in eight games for Texas last season, finishing with a 4.15 ERA in 8 2/3 innings.

The 25-year-old O’Brien, son of former major league catcher Charlie O’Brien, batted .266 with seven home runs and a career-high 53 RBIs in his first full year with Double-A Chattanooga in 2014. He has thrown out 30 percent of runners trying to steal during his minor-league career.

Signed to a two-year, $4.5 million deal two winters ago, Webb pitched well in 2014 before the late-July acquisition of standout lefty Andrew Miller left him as the odd man out in a deep bullpen. The right-hander posted a 3-3 record with a 3.83 ERA in 49 1/3 innings for the Orioles.

Ward was held in high regard from a defensive standpoint, but his .642 on-base plus slugging percentage between Bowie and Norfolk last season made it clear his offense wasn’t as far along as his catching ability.

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Still no clear timetable for Wieters’ return

Posted on 08 April 2015 by Luke Jones

On his final day with the Orioles before returning to Sarasota for extended spring training, catcher Matt Wieters didn’t offer any indication Wednesday that his return to live-game action was imminent.

Currently on the 15-day disabled list due to right elbow tendinitis, the three-time All-Star selection told reporters in St. Petersburg that he began a throwing progression last week and is currently throwing every other day. Wieters was shut down less than 24 hours after making his catching debut in the Grapefruit League on March 17, exactly nine months after he underwent Tommy John surgery.

It remains unclear when Wieters will be ready to return, but he confirmed May 1 as a possibility when asked. The 28-year-old was 0-for-23 this spring while serving primarily as a designated hitter.

“We’re not really putting any kind of date out there, because it’s a matter of how it goes and how it feels,” Wieters told reporters before the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays. “I think it can turn the corner in the course of a couple of days or it can take longer. It’s a matter of letting it kind of all play out and whenever I feel like I can contribute to the team and help the team, then I’ll come back.”

Wieters is eligible to come off the DL as early as April 11, but his return wouldn’t appear to be close considering he’s not even throwing on consecutive days. After he was shut down three weeks ago, it’s become clear that the elbow tendinitis was a bigger concern than the organization initially indicated.

With the 2007 first-round pick sidelined, the Orioles are going with the combination of Caleb Joseph and former Boston Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway to begin the 2015 season.

In other injury-related news, J.J. Hardy (left shoulder strain) is scheduled to take swings at Camden Yards on Thursday. The Orioles hope the shortstop can go on a minor-league rehab assignment early next week.

Outfielder David Lough (left hamstring strain) had four at-bats in an intrasquad game in Sarasota on Wednesday and is expected to play in a game on Thursday. Baltimore hopes he will be ready to go on a rehab assignment next week as well.

Hardy and Lough are both eligible to be activated from the DL as early as April 11.

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britton

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Numbers behind Orioles’ 6-5 win over Tampa Bay

Posted on 08 April 2015 by Luke Jones

A 6-0 lead through two innings typically leads to a relaxing night of baseball, but it was anything but that for the Orioles Tuesday as they held on for dear life in an eventual 6-5 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Despite being staked to the early lead, starter Wei-Yin Chen struggled his way through 4 1/3 innings as his fastball velocity was down and he lacked his normal crispness with his off-speed pitches. Kevin Gausman worked 2 1/3 innings in relief to earn the victory, but the right-hander allowed a two-run shot off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier in the sixth to make it a one-run game.

Instead of a night in cruise control for the Orioles, the pitching staff consistently found deep counts and needed a whopping 176 pitches to secure the victory, including a combined 42 from Darren O’Day and Zach Britton. With O’Day (24 combined pitches) and Britton (42 total pitches) having pitched in each of the first two games and potentially unavailable for the series finale, the Orioles will need a strong outing from No. 3 starter Miguel Gonzalez.

Fortunately, Baltimore will receive a day off to rest up before the home opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday afternoon.

* One of the biggest questions facing Steve Pearce in his quest to prove his 2014 campaign wasn’t a fluke will be whether he can sustain the success against right-handed pitching that he found a year ago.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old owns an underwhelming career .700 on-base slugging percentage against right-handers, but that’s including his .856 mark in 272 plate appearances last year. Pearce has always hit southpaw pitching well (a career .878 OPS), which is the main reason why major league clubs continued to give him opportunities despite a reputation as a “Quad-A” player over his first eight major league seasons.

The all-too-early verdict in 2015 has been encouraging to say the least as Pearce has clubbed two homers against right-handed pitching in two games.

It’s remarkable to think how important Pearce has become to this club after he was designated for assignment less than 12 months ago.

* When he acquired outfielder Travis Snider from Pittsburgh in late January, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette cited his strong second half in 2014 as a sign that the former first-round pick had finally begun realizing his potential.

After the All-Star break last year, the former Pirate posted an .880 OPS with nine homers and 24 RBIs. Small sample size alert aside, Snider has reached base in seven of eight trips to the plate and already has three RBIs in two games.

The Orioles hope Snider is just hitting his stride at age 27 and can give them good production this season for a fraction of what Nick Markakis commanded in free agency.

So far, so good.

* You think Chris Davis was eager to make his 2015 debut and play in his first real game since Sept. 10, 2014?

Serving as the designated hitter on Tuesday, Davis swung at six of the first seven pitches he saw in his first two at-bats and appeared too anxious early in the game. However, his best at-bat came in the eighth when he flied to deep right after a nine-pitch encounter with Rays right-hander Kevin Jepsen.

Davis finished 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning.

It goes without saying how critical a bounce-back season from Davis would be in replacing the power production left behind by Nelson Cruz. And it’s even more critical for the 29-year-old’s future as he’s set to become a free agent this coming offseason.

* The Orioles collected six runs and five hits over the first two innings against Tampa Bay starter Nathan Karns, but Everth Cabrera had their only hit the rest of the way as he collected a single in the top of the seventh.

Yes, the pitching staff should have been better in minimizing stress after an early six-run lead, but the offense essentially checked out after Pearce’s two-run homer in the second.

 

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Orioles announce plans for Friday’s home opener

Posted on 07 April 2015 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles have announced plans for the first home game of the 2015 season, Friday, April 10 at 3:05 p.m. against the Toronto Blue Jays.

PRE-GAME FUN AROUND THE YARD

To allow fans the opportunity to experience the excitement of Opening Day, the entire ballpark will open at noon on Friday. Each fan will receive a 2015 schedule Fathead® decal, presented by Pizza Boli’s, at the gates. Roving musical groups will entertain fans on Eutaw Street and the main concourses.

PRE-GAME CEREMONIES

PLAYER INTRODUCTIONS

Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 2:30 p.m., when pre-game ceremonies will begin. MASN broadcaster JIM HUNTER will serve as emcee for the pre-game festivities.

In a continuation of the Opening Day tradition, Orioles players and coaches will be introduced prior to the game. Orioles players will run through the center field gate on an orange carpet and take their places between first and second base. Manager BUCK SHOWALTER, coaches and staff will be introduced from the Orioles dugout. Members of the Blue Jays will be announced and will run from their dugout to line up between second and third base.

OriolesREACH has arranged for 80 youth from the Y of Central Maryland to line the orange carpet holding Orioles flags during player introductions and each child will also receive a complimentary game ticket for Opening Day. The Orioles and center fielder ADAM JONES are supporting the Y of Central Maryland’s “Y Send a Kid to Camp” campaign for the third consecutive year to help keep children and families throughout Central Maryland healthy in spirit, mind, and body.

For the 22nd straight season, one fan will be chosen to represent all Orioles fans as the team’s “10th man.” The fan will be introduced as a part of the Orioles starting lineup during the pre-game ceremonies.

NATIONAL ANTHEM AND GOD BLESS AMERICA

American tenor RICHARD TROXELL will perform the Canadian National Anthem and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Troxell, a native of Thurmont, MD, has an extensive resume of film and theater performance experience both in the United States and abroad. Troxell will also sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. This year marks the tenth time he has performed the National Anthem on Orioles Opening Day.

During the anthem, a 30’x 42’ American flag from Fort McHenry will be unfurled over the batter’s eye wall in center field. The flag is a replica of the one that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem.

Colors will be presented by both the United States Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, provided by the Military District of Washington, and the Flag Party of the Canadian Armed Forces, provided by the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C.

GOLD GLOVE AWARDS PRESENTATION FOR HARDY AND JONES

Rawlings established the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 1957 to recognize the best fielders at each position. The award has evolved into baseball’s greatest measure of defensive excellence. Every year, managers and coaches of each Major League Baseball team select a squad of the best defensive player at each position in their respective leagues, excluding their own teams.

In 2014, shortstop J.J. HARDY and center fielder ADAM JONES were named Gold Glove Award winners at their respective positions. It marks the third consecutive year that both Hardy and Jones have earned the honor, and it is Jones’ fourth overall award. In a pre-game ceremony, STEVE COHEN from Rawlings will present both players with their Gold Glove Awards.

BALLPARK GATES OPENING EARLIER FOR ALL GAMES

For every game except Opening Day (when gates open at noon), all ballpark gates will now open two hours prior to the scheduled start time. Fans will now be able to enter the ballpark from any entrance, and go into the seating bowl, beginning two hours prior to the first pitch.

NEW FOOD ELEMENTS COMING TO ORIOLE PARK

The Orioles and their concessionaire, Delaware North Sportservice, have made several additions to the food offerings at Oriole Park, highlighted by several new concepts, as well as new menu options at existing ballpark concession stands:

Ole Mole by Modelo (lower level, first base concourse near Gate D):

· Gourmet Soft Tacos – Made-to-order soft tacos featuring barbacoa, pulled chicken, seasoned beef, or black beans.

· Churros – Traditional cinnamon sugar churros.

ESSKAY Gourmet Hot Dogs (on Eutaw Street below Roof Deck near Gate H):

· Crab Mac N’ Cheese Dog – ESSKAY hot dog with creamy mac n’ cheese, lump crabmeat, and Old Bay.

· 7th Inning Stretch Bacon Chili Cheese Dog – ESSKAY hot dog with thick-cut bacon, ballpark chili, cheese sauce, and diced onions.

· Eutaw Street BBQ Pulled Pork Dog – ESSKAY hot dog with house-made BBQ pulled pork, Old Bay coleslaw, and fried onions.

· Oriole Park Crab Dip Dog – ESSKAY hot dog with house-made crab dip, Old Bay, and cheddar cheese.

Baltimore Burger Company (on Eutaw Street below Roof Deck near Gate H):

· Bacon & Cheddar BBQ Burger – Burger with thick-cut bacon, BBQ sauce, battered onion rings, and cheddar cheese.

· Bacon, Mushroom, Swiss Burger – Burger with thick-cut bacon, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions, and Swiss cheese.

Regular hamburgers and cheeseburgers are also available.

All burgers can be ordered as single, double, or triple stack (one, two, or three patties).

The Chipper (lower level, third base concourse behind section 68):

· Crab Chipper – House-made kettle chips with lumb crabmeat, white cheddar cheese sauce, chopped scallions, and Old Bay.

· BBQ Pulled Pork Chipper – House-made kettle chips with BBQ pulled pork, cheese sauce, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sliced jalapenos.

· Bacon Chipper – House-made kettle chips with Smithfield bacon, cheese sauce, sour cream, chopped scallions, and shredded cheddar cheese.

· Sweet Chipper – Sweet potato kettle chips with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and cinnamon sugar.

Smithfield Corner (lower level, first base concourse near Gate C):

· The Pork Burger, Camden-style – Smithfield’s pork burger with BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and fried onions.

· ESSKAY hot dogs and traditional Polish sausage with sauerkraut are also available.

Pizza Boli’s (three locations, one on each ballpark level):

· Pizza Boli’s cheese and pepperoni pizza will be available.

ORIOLES AUTHENTICS TO OPEN ON EUTAW STREET

The Orioles are opening a new Orioles Authentics store along Eutaw Street in a space formerly occupied by Art of the Game. Orioles Authentics will sell game-used memorabilia, including jerseys, bats, caps, and even bases and other unique items. Game-used baseballs, including some used in that day’s game, will also be available for purchase at each game. One hundred percent of the Orioles’ proceeds from all sales at the store will benefit the Orioles Charitable Foundation.

MLB SECURITY MEASURES

As previously announced by Major League Baseball, all MLB teams have implemented mandatory metal detection screening of all fans prior to entry at each MLB ballpark. Oriole Park at Camden Yards will now have walk-through magnetometers or hand-held metal detectors at each entrance in order to ensure a safe and fun environment for fans attending Orioles games. Fans are advised to allow themselves plenty of time for entry, as entry is expected to take slightly longer this season.

Prior to screening, fans will be asked to remove their keys and mobile phone from their pockets. Wallets and other identification or money holders can remain in their pocket or size-compliant bag (see below for rules on bags). Bags that do not meet size requirements will not be allowed into the ballpark.

Fans without a bag can utilize one of several Express Lanes found at Gates A, C, F, or H to go through security.

Other security measures include the following:

· All items permitted into the ballpark will be inspected. No bags or items exceeding the maximum size of 16″ x 16″ x 8″ are allowed into the ballpark. Permitted items must easily fit into a 16″ x 16″ x 8″ container. Bags on wheels are prohibited.

· No containers or unauthorized items can be left at any park entrance. Fans will be asked to return them to their vehicle.

· No re-entry will be permitted. Once fans enter the ballpark, they will not be permitted to leave and re-enter the facility. Fans should make sure they have everything they need before entering the ballpark.

· Only vehicles dropping off or picking up guests with disabilities are permitted to stop curbside at the ballpark. No other vehicles are permitted curbside, nor will fans be able to stand and wait with their vehicles.

· The Orioles welcome fan support in the form of handmade banners and signs. To ensure that all fans will have an unobstructed view of the ballgame, the Orioles do not permit the hanging of banners anywhere in the ballpark. Banners may only be displayed before and after the game and between innings. Banners are subject to confiscation if the content is commercial, political, and/or in bad taste according to the Orioles’ discretion. The Orioles reserve the right to remove any banner at any time.

· Air horns, cowbells, and other noisemakers are not permitted in the ballpark.

· Firearms, knives, or weapons of any kind are not permitted at Oriole Park.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE POLICY

The Orioles have one of the most liberal food policies in professional sports. Outside food and beverages may be brought into Oriole Park, subject to the following guidelines:

· No hard-sided coolers, thermoses, glass bottles, cans, or alcoholic beverages are permitted into the ballpark. Fans must leave these items in their vehicles before entering the ballpark.

· Non-alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles are permitted into the park. All items will be checked at the gates and any beverage that has been opened or partially consumed prior to entry is subject to confiscation if it is thought to contain alcohol. In addition, no plastic or paper cups of beverages are permitted into the park at the entry gates.

I-95 TRAFFIC ADVISORY

The Orioles and the Maryland Transportation Administration advise fans travelling on I-95 to make note of the following traffic pattern changes that will impact the area near Camden Yards:

· Southbound I-95 traffic lanes will split after the Fort McHenry Tunnel with two lanes to the left and two to the right. Fans heading to the ballpark via I-95 from the north must use the two right lanes at the tunnel (the right tube) in order to access the ballpark via Key Highway (Exit 55), I-395 (Exit 53), or Russell Street (Exit 52).

· Northbound I-95 traffic lanes will split with three lanes to the left and one to the right between Hanover Street and Key Highway. Fans heading to the ballpark via I-95 from the south must use the far right lane to exit at Russell Street (Exit 52) or I-395 (Exit 53).

· These lane splits will remain in effect for approximately eight weeks. Traffic patterns along I-95 will change throughout the duration of the project.

USE #BIRDLAND AT THE BALLPARK

Fans are encouraged to use social media while at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and share their experiences with friends and followers. By using the hashtag #birdland on Twitter and on Instagram, fans could have their tweets and/or photos selected to appear on the Oriole Park video board, before and during the game. Fans are also encouraged to visit www.orioles.com/connect and sign up to follow all of the Orioles official social media platforms.

 

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snider

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Offseason script works perfectly for Orioles in opener

Posted on 06 April 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles couldn’t have followed a much better script for their season-opening 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

After hearing concerns all winter about how the club would replace the production of outfielders Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, a trio of Orioles did everything they could to quell concerns for at least the first day of the season.

Becoming the first Opening Day right fielder for the Orioles not named Markakis since Jay Gibbons in 2006, Travis Snider collected three hits and two RBIs while also gunning down a runner at the plate and making a diving catch in the outfield. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette hopes Snider can finally realize his potential as a former first-round pick and give the Orioles similar production to the former right fielder for a fraction of the price Atlanta paid.

It was a pretty good impression of the longtime right fielder in his club debut.

The man who replaced Markakis in the leadoff spot, Alejandro De Aza, delivered a two-run homer off Rays starter Chris Archer to conclude a 10-pitch at-bat in the fifth to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead. De Aza only went 1-for-5 and struck out three times, but he saw an impressive 31 pitches in five plate appearances, which is the patience Baltimore is seeking in a leadoff hitter.

Filling in for Chris Davis at first base, Steve Pearce took an encouraging first step in trying to prove his surprising 2014 season wasn’t a fluke by hitting a solo shot in the sixth. Baltimore is banking on his production to go a long way in helping ease the loss of Cruz’s power production while expecting other established stars — Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, and Davis — to bounce back from injuries or down 2014 campaigns.

The winning formula on Monday was reminiscent of last year as the Orioles clubbed three home runs and received a strong outing from ace Chris Tillman, who allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander has now allowed three or fewer earned runs in 21 of his last 22 regular-season starts going back to early June of 2014.

The Orioles won their fifth consecutive season opener on Monday, but what does a Day 1 win really mean for the remainder of 2015? Baltimore’s longest run in franchise history was winning seven straight openers from 1970-1976, which came in the midst of the glory days. The second-longest streak was six consecutive season-opening wins from 2001-2006, days that could be described as anything but glorious.

Yes, it’s only one of 162, but a win always feels good on Opening Day.

Especially when it reflects the plan of success laid out in the offseason.

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webb

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Orioles designate Webb for assignment, promote Lavarnway

Posted on 06 April 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles wasted no time in altering their first 25-man roster of the 2015 season by designating right-handed pitcher Ryan Webb for assignment and promoting catcher Ryan Lavarnway hours before their season opener on Monday.

It was clear the Orioles would need to make a change after initially keeping 14 pitchers on their roster Sunday, but they have been unable to find a trade partner for Webb, who is guaranteed a $2.75 million and has already refused an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk as a player with more than five years of major league service time. The 29-year-old cleared waivers last week, making it all but guaranteed that the Orioles will now need to eat his salary.

Baltimore selected Lavarnway’s contract after initially reassigning him to minor-league camp on Sunday. The move signals that manager Buck Showalter likely envisions the former Boston Red Sox product as the club’s backup behind Caleb Joseph while three-time All-Star selection Matt Wieters continues to rehab his surgically-repaired elbow.

Needing to activate first baseman Chris Davis from the suspended list on Tuesday, the Orioles appear likely to send catcher Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk since he has a remaining minor-league option if Showalter wants to keep 13 pitchers for the time being.

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Showalter makes Orioles best bet in question-filled AL East

Posted on 06 April 2015 by Luke Jones

I’ll admit I don’t love this Orioles roster going into the 2015 season.

While fighting the thought that they may have missed their last best chance to go to the World Series last October, the Orioles lost Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller this offseason while making no sure-fire additions to replace their production. Yes, the payroll rose to just under $120 million to account for a laundry list of players receiving raises in arbitration, but that still doesn’t erase the feeling of it being an underwhelming winter.

Those factors alone make it easy to pick against the Orioles this year before you take a step back to examine the remaining roster.

Will the Orioles miss Cruz and Markakis? Absolutely, but will they miss them more than they might have yearned to have the injured Matt Wieters and Manny Machado last season while still managing to win 96 games? Will they ache for Cruz quite as badly if Chris Davis rebounds from a horrific campaign to look more like the slugger he was in 2012 or, better yet, 2013?

And while Miller found a lucrative contract in Yankee pinstripes, the rest of a pitching staff that finished third in the American League in ERA last season remains intact. So does a defense that’s been the best in baseball over the last three years and might be the biggest reason for the Orioles’ success.

If you’re not yet convinced, a look around the rest of the AL East might do it.

Boston? That’s one hell of a scary lineup, but four of their five starting pitchers posted an ERA above 4.00 last year and the bullpen headlined by ailing closer Koji Uehara is shaky at best.

Toronto will again hit the baseball with the additions of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin, but the bullpen is a major weakness and the loss of Marcus Stroman puts too much stress on veterans R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle and three starters below the age of 25.

The Yankees? That roster would have scared you five years ago, but age and injuries will be their undoing as it was a year ago.

Tampa Bay will have a strong starting rotation if early-season injuries are overcome, but the Rays will struggle to score runs all year and the magic maneuvering of former manager Joe Maddon is now gone.

No, the Orioles won’t run away with the division, but there’s vulnerability anywhere you look. And that’s where the potential tiebreaker comes into play that will push Baltimore over the top.

Taking nothing away from Boston’s John Farrell and New York’s Joe Girardi for having won World Series rings with their respective clubs, but I’ll count on Buck Showalter to get the absolute most from his roster while hiding deficiencies better than any manager in the AL East.

For the last three years, the Orioles have thrived on overcoming adversity while relishing opportunities to prove their doubters wrong. Showalter and his players were already talking about many naysayers picking them to finish in last place weeks ago, even if those slights are more fabrication than reality.

The knee-jerk reaction in assessing the Orioles after an underwhelming offseason is to drop them substantially in the standings, but then you remember they clinched the division in mid-September and won the AL East by a whopping 12 games. That’s a lot of ground that the others in the division needed to make up.

The Red Sox appear to have emerged as the media favorite to win the AL East, but that didn’t stop 30 of ESPN’s experts from picking Baltimore to take the division compared to 36 forecasting Boston. A number of other national outlets are giving the Orioles plenty of respect as well, and even their bigger critics are generally picking them no worse than second or third.

After watching the Orioles average 91 wins per year while outperforming projections over the last three seasons, we should know better at this point. The questions that exist elsewhere in the AL East should only confirm the truth.

You don’t bet against Buck.

And even if I may not like the Orioles as much as last year, they will still be the best that the AL East has to offer in 2015.

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