Tag Archive | "Orioles"

Orioles clear first hurdle of ninth-inning experiment to start 2014

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Orioles clear first hurdle of ninth-inning experiment to start 2014

Posted on 31 March 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The first trial of the great experiment that is the ninth inning was a success in the Orioles’ season-opening win over the Boston Red Sox on Monday.

Manager Buck Showalter sent new closer Tommy Hunter to the mound with a 2-1 lead and the 27-year-old eventually shut the door on the defending World Series champions despite some nervous moments along the way. There will be other uneasy times as a club with postseason aspirations tries to fill the void of Jim Johnson’s 101 saves over the last two years with a bullpen that had just 13 combined major league saves entering Monday.

The Orioles can add one more to that total as Hunter worked around a leadoff hit by pitch and a one-out single before retiring designated hitter David Ortiz — gulp — on a fly out to left and right fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. on a called strike three to send the Orioles to their 11th victory in their last 14 season openers. It took Hunter 22 pitches to get three outs, but there was no better way to acclimate him than against an offense notorious for wearing out pitchers with foul balls and deep counts.

So far, so good.

“That was fun. Hopefully, it’s like that a lot more,” Hunter said. “I had to earn it. That is a way of life in baseball. A one-run game to start the season off against the defending world champs. Here we are.”

Hunter passed his first test and showed the bulldog toughness you often find in successful closers, but there’s no telling whether his propensity for giving up the long ball or struggles against left-handed batters will ultimately lead to his undoing as the Orioles’ ninth-inning man. As Showalter said prior to Monday’s game, the hard-throwing right-hander is merely the first to receive the opportunity to do the job with the likes of Darren O’Day and Ryan Webb waiting in the wings if he falters.

In fact, the first glimpse at the rest of the bullpen was interesting as Showalter turned to left-hander Zach Britton for two strong innings in which he enticed six ground-ball outs. The Baltimore manager then surprisingly handed the ball to newcomer Evan Meek — a non-roster invitee to spring training — to begin the eighth before the former Pittsburgh Pirates reliever walked two batters and forced Showalter to bring in lefty specialist Brian Matusz for the final out of the inning.

Meek had pitched nine scoreless innings in Grapefruit League play to make the club out of spring training, but Showalter’s confidence in a pitcher who spent the entire 2013 campaign in the minor leagues was surprising with O’Day and Webb available.

“It’s not easy,” said Showalter of his bullpen’s four shutout innings. “It’s not always going to look aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a hard thing to do. And you’re playing the world champions and there’s a fine margin for error, whether it be Zach Britton or Evan Meek or Brian Matusz.”

Perhaps his eighth-inning use of Meek was a sign that the Orioles manager himself is still trying to gain a feel for a bullpen that lacks the experienced late-inning man on which you can depend. Baltimore tried to address that need in its pursuit of veteran closer Grant Balfour this winter, but when that deal was squashed, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette decided against throwing money at a veteran reliever with gaudy save totals.

That decision likely made it possible for the Orioles to sign left fielder and designated hitter Nelson Cruz — the offensive hero of Monday’s win with his seventh-inning home run — and starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, but it remains to be seen whether the ninth inning becomes the Orioles’ Achilles heel in their quest to advance to the playoffs for the second time in three years. Deciding to jettison Johnson and his nine blown saves from a year ago was one thing, but leaving such inexperience in the closer role appears to be a treacherous path.

Of course, the club the Orioles defeated showed it can be done as Koji Uehara eventually settled into the ninth inning last year to save 21 games on Boston’s path to the title, but even the 38-year-old Japanese pitcher entered 2013 with 14 career saves, the same number the Orioles’ entire bullpen had at the close of business on Monday.

The first venture with Hunter was a success, but there must be more before anyone will rest easy in the ninth.

“I’d like to say they’ll get easier, but they won’t,” Showalter said. “One-run leads in the American League East — home or away — are hard to finish. You know you’re going to get everybody’s best shot. We gave it ours, and we were fortunate to come out with one more run than they did and 27 outs.”

 

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Markakis plays on Opening Day despite neck issue

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Markakis plays on Opening Day despite neck issue

Posted on 31 March 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Beginning the 2014 season with hopes of returning to the postseason for the second time in three years, the Orioles received good news prior to their season opener against the Boston Red Sox with the news of right fielder Nick Markakis being in the lineup.

Dealing with a stiff neck over the weekend, the 30-year-old took batting practice and appeared to have no limitations swinging the bat before manager Buck Showalter officially inserted him in the lineup in the leadoff spot. The Baltimore skipper did not sound overly concerned about Markakis’ status in his pre-game comments, but he expressed the desire to be cautious without buying into the hype of Markakis wanting to play on Opening Day.

Even though left-hander Jon Lester will take the hill for Boston, the Orioles will send Ryan Flaherty to third base with rookie Jonathan Schoop playing second base. There had been some thought that the left-handed hitting Flaherty would sit against the southpaw with utility man Steve Lombardozzi factoring into the season-opening order. Flaherty received only 25 plate appearances against left-handed pitching last year and went 5-for-23 with a home run.

Schoop will become the first Orioles rookie since Luis Hernandez in 2008 to be in the starting lineup on Opening Day.

It was the spring’s worst-kept secret, but Showalter confirmed Monday morning that he informed right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter that he will begin the year as the Baltimore closer. The manager also acknowledged that nothing is set in stone as he has other bullpen candidates in mind as ninth-inning options should Hunter not succeed.

Right-hander Josh Stinson will begin the season as the club’s primary long reliever, but lefties Zach Britton and Brian Matusz are also available to provide more length after being stretched out during spring training. Of course, the Orioles could always look at No. 4 and No. 5 starters Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris to give them extra options out of the bullpen if necessary with the abundance of early-season days off.

While the Orioles monitored Markakis’ status over the weekend, the Red Sox announced that outfielder Shane Victorino was heading to the 15-day disabled list, prompting Boston to recall outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. to replace him on the 25-man roster.

Here are the Opening Day lineups:

BOSTON
LF Daniel Nava
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
LF Mike Carp
CF Grady Sizemore
SS Xander Bogaerts
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Will Middlebrooks

SP Jon Lester (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

BALTIMORE
RF Nick Markakis
SS J.J. Hardy
CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
LF Nelson Cruz
C Matt Wieters
DH Delmon Young
3B Ryan Flaherty
2B Jonathan Schoop

SP Chris Tillman (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for live updates and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Showalter happy to see Schoop receive Opening Day opportunity

Posted on 31 March 2014 by WNST Audio

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

2. A Tyrant Is Born

 

“Our fan support is beyond words. If we had enough seats, we’d surpass every other club. Our expenditures were long overdue in light of the fan support and rather meager compared to the expenditures of other clubs over the years. We felt we had some catching up to do, that the previous ownership had not done all it could to repay the fans, to give them what they deserve. We’re going to operate major league baseball in Maryland in a different way. We’re committed to making the club as competitive as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

–  Peter G. Angelos, as told to Ross Newhan of The Los Angeles Times, March 27, 1994

 

IN THE SPRING OF 1994, on the eve of a work stoppage that would cancel the World Series for the first time in the history of Major League Baseball, a book was published that became a handbook for anyone who wanted to see behind the greasy curtains of the business of baseball. This “tell all” for those who could think beyond what was on the back of a bubble gum card wasn’t penned by legendary Major League Baseball Players’ Association head Marvin Miller, but it certainly came from the somewhat sympathetic perspective of the plight of the players vs. the owners in the annals of the sport’s history in America.

The only problem with any “bias” in it was rooted, much like this Peter Principles series, in nothing but facts. Cold hard facts – all well sourced – that reflect the reality of the business of baseball. It told of the institution of institutionalized racism, classism, elitism, intimidation, coercion and lies amongst a world of wealthy all-white males doing business with an anti-trust exemption in the 21st century.

The 1994 book is called Lords Of The Realm and if you take no other advice from this manifesto about the Baltimore Orioles history under Peter Angelos, pick it up and give it a read. It’s impossible to sum up 75 years of baseball history in a few sentences here but to discuss the history and business of Major League Baseball over the last century would require a bar of soap, some disinfectant, warm water and a towel. Drugs, scandals, cheats, louses, greedy and/or crazy owners, racism, violence, civic shakedowns, and lack of government oversight have plagued baseball through the years. But the marketing machines insist on red, white and blue, the American flag, “God Bless America,” hot dogs and virtuous intentions for your children to idolize from crib to grave. Go watch the Ken Burns PBS series, Baseball, and you’ll see that there’s nothing more important in the universe than the sanctity of baseball history, records, heroes and civic connection to Americana.

According to some people, anyway.

Baseball owners have tried to control their public message for a hundred years and then journalists have come forward to expose all of the dirty laundry of the sport over the century.

By any measure of history, Peter G. Angelos fits right into the old boys club of Major League Baseball owners. Now, more than 20 years into his residency, it’s easy to measure his role in the pantheon of tyrannical, egotistical and iconoclastic baseball owners right up against George Steinbrenner, Charlie Finley, Bill Veeck, Auggie Busch or any of the other “Lords” as John Helyar put it in his book 20 years ago this month.

Peter Angelos bought the best and most valuable franchise in Major League Baseball in August 1993. It was the most expensive franchise in North America. Previous Orioles owner Eli Jacobs had hosted the Queen of England and the President of The United States in his shoddy, mezzanine hut on 33rd Street at Memorial Stadium and he had only controlled the team for less than four years. Owning a Major League Baseball allowed him the opportunity to sit with not only the rich but also the famous, infamous and influential. Angelos was a blue-collar attorney from East Baltimore who hit the legal lottery with an asbestos case that made him wealthy almost overnight. So, if his background portended a man who wanted to not only be rich but also desired to be famous and highly influential in the political space, then Angelos got his eternal wish with the purchase of the Baltimore Orioles.

In 1993, no one had ever heard of Peter Angelos outside of East Baltimore. By early 1994, he made sure that everyone who had ever heard of the Baltimore Orioles had heard his name and saw his image.

It started the day that he bought the team and returned to Baltimore a reigning hero and clearly in charge of the new Orioles ownership group. There were more questions than answers that day with so many prominent names involved and such civic interest in every facet of Angelos’ intentions. Angelos only won one election but this was akin to him giving a victory speech and outlining his platform for the future of the pride and joy of Baltimore – its baseball team.

“I’ll have ultimate authority in all matters, from the smallest things to the major things,” said Angelos, who said his title would be managing partner of the Orioles. “But I don’t brandish that as some kind of club, and I would hope it would never have to be used. I don’t think it will be.”

On August 4, 1993, The Sun reported this:

The baseball side of the Orioles isn’t likely to change dramatically with Mr. Angelos in charge. He said he generally supports the team’s current plan of grooming young players, rather than resorting to signing more expensive free-agent players. And he said that his goal as owner would be to give the fans a competitive team that occasionally brings home the biggest prize.

Winning a World Series “should be the goal for every team,” he said. “But that is not the sole

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Orioles option Gausman, McFarland, Weeks to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 29 March 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Saturday that they have optioned right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman, left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland, and infielder Jemile Weeks to Triple-A Norfolk.

With this move, the Orioles now have 32 players at major league spring training, including three non-roster invitees.

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Opening Day roster set after Sunday’s deadline

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Opening Day roster set after Sunday’s deadline

Posted on 29 March 2014 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 7:00 a.m. Monday)

The Orioles aren’t required to finalize their 25-man roster for the start of the regular season until Sunday at 3 p.m., but three more cuts were made to officially eliminate any remaining drama.

Baltimore announced pitchers Kevin Gausman and T.J. McFarland and infielder Jemile Weeks were being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, meaning 32 players remained in major league spring training as of Saturday afternoon. However, the remaining seven reductions will come in the form of players being placed on the disabled list and the suspended list.

Of course, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will scan the waiver wire for potential upgrades, which explains why the Opening Day roster has yet to be announced.

Rookie infielder Jonathan Schoop has made the club and is expected to see time at third base against left-handed pitching and second base against right-handed starters. The short-term audition was largely made possible with All-Star third baseman Manny Machado still working his way back to full strength from offseason surgery. Schoop impressed manager Buck Showalter with a strong spring that included a .385 average with two home runs, five doubles, and eight runs batted in over 39 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Machado (knee), outfielders Nolan Reimold (neck) and Francisco Peguero (wrist), pitchers Johan Santana (shoulder) and Edgmer Escalona (shoulder), and Rule 5 selection Michael Almanzar (knee) are all heading to the disabled list while reliever Troy Patton will begin his 25-game suspension for amphetamine use, accounting for the remaining seven that must be trimmed from the active roster.

Two non-roster invitees have made the club as outfielder and designated hitter Delmon Young and right-handed pitcher Evan Meek will go north to Baltimore. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated left-handed pitcher Mike Belfiore for assignment and Escalona was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

Here’s a look at where the roster now stands:

PITCHERS
RHP Chris Tillman
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
LHP Wei-Yin Chen
RHP Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Bud Norris
RHP Tommy Hunter
RHP Darren O’Day
LHP Brian Matusz
RHP Ryan Webb
LHP Zach Britton
RHP Josh Stinson
RHP Evan Meek

CATCHERS
Matt Wieters
Steve Clevenger

INFIELDERS
Chris Davis
J.J. Hardy
Ryan Flaherty
Steve Lombardozzi
Jonathan Schoop

OUTFIELDERS
Adam Jones
Nick Markakis
David Lough
Nelson Cruz
Steve Pearce
Delmon Young

DISABLED LIST (will not count against 25-man roster)
3B Manny Machado (knee)
OF Nolan Reimold (neck)
OF Francisco Peguero (wrist)
LHP Johan Santana (shoulder)
RHP Edgmer Escalona (shoulder)
INF Michael Almanzar (knee)

SUSPENDED LIST (will not count against 25-man roster)
LHP Troy Patton

 

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Bovada sets Orioles’ 2014 season win total at 80.5

Posted on 29 March 2014 by WNST Staff

courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).

 

“As always a few teams seem to be popular with our bettors heading into the season, one of them being the Cardinals who now sit at 15-2 yet were as high at 14-1 at one point in the offseason. There is only one other team has seen more activity and that is the World Series favorites, the Los Angeles Dodgers currently at 13-2.  It is quite interesting that this is the first time I can remember that the two heaviest bet teams to win the World Series at this stage are from the National League. We rarely talk about the least bet teams, but it’s no surprise those would be in order with Miami at 100-1, Houston 250-1 and even the Colorado Rockies at 75-1, we cannot seem to write a bet on.”

-Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv

 

Odds to win the 2014 World Series (Teams in blue have shorter odds, teams in red have longer odds, teams in black stayed the same)

                  3/5/14               Current

Los Angeles Dodgers                13/2                  13/2

St. Louis Cardinals                    8/1                    15/2

Detroit Tigers                            9/1                    9/1

Washington Nationals                12/1                  10/1

Boston Red Sox                       12/1                  12/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       12/1                  12/1

New York Yankees                    14/1                  14/1

Atlanta Braves                           20/1                  16/1

San Francisco Giants                16/1                  16/1

Texas Rangers                          16/1                  16/1

Los Angeles Angels                  20/1                  20/1

Oakland Athletics                      18/1                  20/1

Cincinnati Reds                         22/1                  25/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     33/1                  25/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      28/1                  28/1

Baltimore Orioles                       33/1                  33/1

Kansas City Royals                   33/1                  33/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   33/1                  33/1

Seattle Mariners                        28/1                  33/1

Cleveland Indians                      40/1                  40/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              50/1                  50/1

San Diego Padres                     50/1                  50/1

Chicago White Sox                    50/1                  66/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    66/1                  66/1

Chicago Cubs                           66/1                  75/1

Colorado Rockies                     75/1                  75/1

New York Mets                          75/1                  75/1

Miami Marlins                            100/1                100/1

Minnesota Twins                        100/1                100/1

Houston Astros                         200/1                250/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL Pennant        

Detroit Tigers                            4/1

Boston Red Sox                       6/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       6/1

New York Yankees                    13/2

Texas Rangers                          8/1

Oakland Athletics                      9/1

Los Angeles Angels                  11/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     14/1

Baltimore Orioles                       16/1

Kansas City Royals                   16/1

Seattle Mariners                        16/1

Cleveland Indians                      20/1

Chicago White Sox                    33/1

Minnesota Twins                        50/1

Houston Astros                         125/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL Pennant

Los Angeles Dodgers                3/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    9/2

Washington Nationals                5/1

San Francisco Giants                15/2

Atlanta Braves                           8/1

Cincinnati Reds                         10/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      16/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   18/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              22/1

San Diego Padres                     25/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    33/1

New York Mets                          33/1

Chicago Cubs                           40/1

Colorado Rockies                     40/1

Miami Marlins                            50/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL EAST

Boston Red Sox                       11/5

Tampa Bay Rays                       11/5

New York Yankees                    12/5

Toronto Blue Jays                     7/1

Baltimore Orioles                       7/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL CENTRAL

Detroit Tigers                            4/9

Kansas City Royals                   9/2

Cleveland Indians                      11/1

Chicago White Sox                    12/1

Minnesota Twins                        25/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL WEST           

Texas Rangers                          7/4

Oakland Athletics                      2/1

Los Angeles Angels                  9/4

Seattle Mariners                        7/1

Houston Astros                         50/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL EAST

Washington Nationals                5/7

Atlanta Braves                           3/2

Philadelphia Phillies                   10/1

New York Mets                          16/1

Miami Marlins                            33/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL CENTRAL     

St. Louis Cardinals                    2/3

Cincinnati Reds                         7/2

Pittsburgh Pirates                      15/4

Milwaukee Brewers                    10/1

Chicago Cubs                           33/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL WEST

Los Angeles Dodgers                1/2

San Francisco Giants                7/2

Arizona Diamondbacks              7/1

San Diego Padres                     10/1

Colorado Rockies                     16/1

 

MLB Regular Season Win Totals (in Alphabetical Order) (Numbers to the right are changed)

                  2/26/14             Current

Arizona Diamondbacks              80.5                  80

Atlanta Braves                           87.5

Baltimore Orioles                       80.5

Boston Red Sox                       87.5

Chicago Cubs                           69.5

Chicago White Sox                    75.5

Cincinnati Reds                         84.5                  83.5

Cleveland Indians                      80.5

Colorado Rockies                     76.5

Detroit Tigers                            89.5

Houston Astros                         62.5

Kansas City Royals                   81.5                  82.5

Los Angeles Angels                  86.5

Los Angeles Dodgers                92.5                  93

Miami Marlins                            69.5

Milwaukee Brewers                    79.5

Minnesota Twins                        70.5

New York Mets                          73.5

New York Yankees                    86.5

Oakland Athletics                      88.5                  87.5

Philadelphia Phillies                   76.5

Pittsburgh Pirates                      83.5

San Diego Padres                     78.5

San Francisco Giants                86.5
Seattle Mariners                        81.5

St. Louis Cardinals                    90.5                             

Tampa Bay Rays                       88.5

Texas Rangers                          86.5

Toronto Blue Jays                     79.5                  80.5

Washington Nationals                88.5                  89.5

 

MLB Regular Season Win Totals (in Numerical Order) (Numbers to the right are changed)

                  2/26/14             Current

Los Angeles Dodgers                92.5                  93

St. Louis Cardinals                    90.5

Detroit Tigers                            89.5

Washington Nationals                88.5                  89.5

Tampa Bay Rays                       88.5

Atlanta Braves                           87.5

Boston Red Sox                       87.5

Oakland Athletics                      88.5                  87.5

Los Angeles Angels                  86.5

New York Yankees                    86.5

San Francisco Giants                86.5

Texas Rangers                          86.5

Cincinnati Reds                         84.5                  83.5

Pittsburgh Pirates                      83.5

Kansas City Royals                   81.5                  82.5

Seattle Mariners                        81.5

Baltimore Orioles                       80.5

Cleveland Indians                      80.5

Toronto Blue Jays                     79.5                  80.5

Arizona Diamondbacks              80.5                  80

Milwaukee Brewers                    79.5

San Diego Padres                     78.5

Colorado Rockies                     76.5

Philadelphia Phillies                   76.5

Chicago White Sox                    75.5

New York Mets                          73.5

Minnesota Twins                        70.5

Chicago Cubs                           69.5

Miami Marlins                            69.5

Houston Astros                         62.5

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction 2014 MLB Predictions

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction 2014 MLB Predictions

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles scheduled to begin the 2014 season on Monday, The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction offered its Major League Baseball predictions on Friday morning.

For a full breakdown of what Drew Forrester and Luke Jones had to say, click HERE.

LUKE JONES

AL East
Tampa Bay 93-69
*Boston 92-70
*Baltimore 90-72
New York 83-79
Toronto 74-88

AL Central
Detroit
Kansas City
Cleveland
Minnesota
Chicago

AL West
Texas
Oakland
Los Angeles
Seattle
Houston

NL East
Washington
Atlanta
Philadelphia
New York
Miami

NL Central
St. Louis
*Pittsburgh
Cincinnati
Milwaukee
Chicago

NL West
Los Angeles
*San Francisco
Arizona
San Diego
Colorado

* = Wild Card berth

AL MVP: OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles
NL MVP: C Yadier Molina, St. Louis
AL Cy Young: David Price, Tampa Bay
NL Cy Young: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco
AL Rookie of the Year: SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston
NL Rookie of the Year: OF Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati

ALCS: Detroit over Tampa Bay
NLCS: Los Angeles over Washington
World Series: Los Angeles over Detroit, 4-2

See Drew Forrester’s predictions on the next page >>>>>

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Report: Schoop to make Orioles’ Opening Day roster

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Report: Schoop to make Orioles’ Opening Day roster

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The final major domino appears to have fallen for the Orioles’ 25-man roster and rookie Jonathan Schoop will reportedly get his shot in Baltimore to begin the year.

According to FOX Sports insider Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles plan to keep Schoop on the active roster to alternate at both second and third base while Manny Machado continues to work his way back to full strength after offseason knee surgery. Schoop impressed manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette with a strong spring that included a .385 average with two home runs, five doubles, and eight runs batted in over 39 Grapefruit League at-bats.

The final middle-infield job had been down to Schoop and Jemile Weeks, who was acquired as part of the Jim Johnson trade over the winter.

With Machado not expected back until sometime in April, there had been growing sentiment to reward Schoop’s strong spring with a short-term audition with the Orioles. However, a strong start would certainly go a long way in persuading the organization to keep him in Baltimore for good.

The likely plan for Schoop is to play second base with Ryan Flaherty shifting over to third against right-handed pitching. The Curacao native would then move over to third base with the newly-acquired — and switch-hitting — Steve Lombardozzi handling second base against left-handed starters.

Considered the Orioles’ top positional prospect since Machado was promoted to Baltimore late in the 2012 season, Schoop made his major league debut late last season and homered in his first game. This came after he missed two months of action for Triple-A Norfolk due to a stress fracture in his back.

Schoop hit .256 with nine home runs, 34 RBIs, and a .697 on-base plus slugging percentage over 289 plate appearances with the Tides last season.

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Orioles bullpen appears all but set with Aceves reportedly cut

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Needing to finalize their Opening Day 25-man roster by 3 p.m. on Sunday, the Orioles are reportedly parting ways with veteran relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves.

According to multiple outlets, the 31-year-old was informed he will not be making the 25-man roster and will exercise the opt-out clause in the minor-league deal he signed in the offseason. Aceves was 0-1 with a 4.50 earned run average in 10 innings of Grapefruit League action this spring.

Aceves’ departure likely leaves the final spot in the bullpen to former Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Evan Meek, who gave up one earned run and struck out 10 in nine innings this spring. Meek was a member of the 2010 National League All-Star team and spent last season in the Texas Rangers organization with Triple-A Round Rock.

The rest of the bullpen is expected to be composed of right-handers Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day, Ryan Webb, and Josh Stinson and left-handers Brian Matusz and Zach Britton. Veteran southpaw Troy Patton will begin serving a 25-game suspension for amphetamine use at the start of the season and will not count against the active roster.

Though 35 players still remain in major league camp, the Orioles appear to only have one big decision remaining as top position prospect Jonathan Schoop and Jemile Weeks are battling for a roster spot.

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