Tag Archive | "rays"

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Jurrjens looking to bring innings, experience to Orioles rotation

Posted on 17 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — Poised to become the Orioles’ 10th starting pitcher of the 2013 season, right-hander Jair Jurrjens isn’t treating Saturday’s debut against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Of course, that’s easier said than done after the Orioles cycled through Josh Stinson, Zach Britton, and Steve Johnson with each receiving one start and promptly being optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk after subpar performances. Among the four pitchers summoned to replace Jake Arrieta and the injured Miguel Gonzalez from the Opening Day rotation, only the 36-year-old Freddy Garcia — who can’t be optioned to the minors — has remained with the club beyond his first start.

Arriving in the Baltimore clubhouse Friday afternoon, Jurrjens expressed his gratitude for finally receiving the call after eight starts with the Tides, but he has 125 career starts and a 3.62 career ERA in the majors on his side to cope with any potential anxiety. Whether that means he’ll receive a longer leash remains to be seen as he can be optioned back to Norfolk should the Orioles not like what they see and need immediate bullpen help as a result.

“This is not my first time pitching in the big leagues,” said Jurrjens, who was 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA. “I am just going to take it as another game and try to eat innings and give the team the best performance I can.”

Jurrjens owned an opt-out clause in his contract that allowed him to become a free agent had he not been promoted to the big leagues by June 15, but that doesn’t prevent him from being optioned after making it to the 25-man roster. Of course, the Orioles entered Friday with just three starters in their current rotation and would like to see someone emerge as their fifth starter in addition to the anticipated Tuesday return of Gonzalez from the DL to ease concerns with the starting pitching.

The lingering concerns about Jurrjens’ knee over the last couple years are a thing of the past as strengthening exercises and his ability to repeat his mechanics have left him feeling better than he has in a few years, according to the pitcher. Questions about Jurrjens’ medical records delayed his signing with the Orioles this winter before executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette eventually inked the 2011 National League All-Star to a minor-league contract that included an invitation to spring training.

One of the most concerning aspects of Jurrjens’ decline from an All-Star pitcher to one with a 6.89 ERA who spent time in the minor leagues was the decline in velocity. The Curacao native saw his average fastball velocity dip from just above 91 miles per hour in 2010 to just about 88.5 mph last season.

Jurrjens features a fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup in his arsenal and carries a 53-37 record in his six-year career spent mostly with the Atlanta Braves. He will wear No. 49 with the Orioles.

“If the command is there, he’ll give us a chance to win,” manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s been a long journey for him. I don’t know if anxiety is the word, but he’ll have some [jitters]. He’s done this before. I think a lot of people miss — I know I did originally — how young he is. I’m anxious to see.”

In 51 2/3 innings, Jurrjens walked only 15 batters while striking out 36 and allowing 44 hits. The control hasn’t been an issue and his strikeout rate of 6.3 per nine innings is more than acceptable, but both Jurrjens and Showalter didn’t mention improvement in the pitcher’s velocity when asked about his progress.

As is the case with any pitcher promoted from Triple A to the big leagues, there will be questions whether his repertoire that worked against International League hitters will translate to success at the next level.

“It can be difficult [knowing], because down there, some guys just go up there and swing,” said Jurrjens, who claimed he hasn’t paid close attention to his velocity so far this season. “Here, some guys are more patient and they look for one pitch to hit.”

Gonzalez on Tuesday track

Gonzalez completed his simulated game at Camden Yards without any problems on Friday afternoon.

Showalter said prior to Friday’s game that the right-hander remains an option for Monday, but the club is leaning toward a Tuesday return from the 15-day disabled list for the 28-year-old. Gonzalez has been dealing with a nasty blister on his right thumb since the beginning of the month and is eligible to be activated from the DL on Sunday.

“You look at his face as much as you do his thumb,” Showalter said. “He feels good about it. I don’t expect something else to crop up. He did it today without the bandage on.”

Gonzalez threw roughly 50 pitches against several teammates after throwing 25 in the bullpen and was able to throw his entire array of pitches.

Roster move coming

The Orioles must make a roster move to add Jurrjens to the 40-man roster as well as to clear room on the active roster prior to his Saturday start.

Showalter said the club has a few different options in mind, with extra reliever Alex Burnett and infielder Yamaico Navarro assumed to be the most likely candidates. However, Navarro was in the lineup for Friday night’s game as Showalter said the 25-year-old deserved a look at second base. The organization likes Navarro’s bat, but there are some questions about his defense.

Navarro was hitting .303 in 147 plate appearances for the Tides, leading some to wonder whether struggling second baseman Ryan Flaherty might be the player to go on Saturday. Flaherty is hitting only .133 in 102 plate appearances and has struck out 26 times.

Playing 29 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, Navarro was acquired in exchange for pitcher Jhondaniel Medina on Nov. 30, 2012.

Injury updates

The Orioles announced Friday that catcher Taylor Teagarden (dislocated left thumb) had his splint removed.

Infielder Wilson Betemit began jogging in the pool as he continues his recovery in Sarasota from a Grade 2/3 PCL tear in his right knee. He remains on the 60-day DL and Showalter expressed hope earlier this week that he could return at some point in June.

 

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Orioles unveil Opening Day lineup against Tampa Bay

Posted on 01 April 2013 by Luke Jones

The Orioles begin their 2013 season on Tuesday in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays and unveiled their lineup for the first game of the season on Monday.

Right-hander Jason Hammel will take the hill against Rays southpaw David Price, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.

Nick Markakis will pick up where he left off last season as the club’s leadoff hitter after proving to be healthy over the final week of spring training. The 29-year-old right fielder missed most of March with a small herniated disc in his neck.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of manager Buck Showalter’s lineup for the season opener is third baseman Manny Machado hitting in the second spot in the order. Machado displayed improved patience during the spring and the Orioles are facing a tough left-hander on the mound, meaning Nate McLouth will be on the bench in favor of right-handed designated hitter Steve Pearce.

Nolan Reimold will play left field and hit seventh in what’s likely an effort to keep the pressure off the outfielder in the same way that Showalter has elected to put second baseman Brian Roberts in the No. 9 spot in the lineup to begin the season. Against right-handed pitching, McLouth will start in left field and Reimold will serve as the DH in most cases.

BALTIMORE
RF Nick Markakis
3B Manny Machado
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Nolan Reimold
DH Steve Pearce
2B Brian Roberts

SP Jason Hammel (2012 stats: 8-6, 3.43 ERA)

TAMPA BAY
CF Desmond Jennings
RF Sam Fuld
2B Ben Zobrist
3B Evan Longoria
LF Matt Joyce
SS Yunel Escobar
1B James Loney
C Jose Molina
DH Kelly Johnson

SP David Price (2012 stats: 20-5, 2.56 ERA)

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

Posted on 03 June 2012 by Luke Jones

(Monday 11:45 a.m.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Rays, O’s open series Friday with first place up for grabs

Posted on 31 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Orioles can’t quite complete comeback against Rays

Posted on 13 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Arrieta battles Shields as Orioles eye sweep

Posted on 13 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Matusz, Moore do battle Saturday night at Camden Yards

Posted on 12 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Lindstrom latest to make way to DL for Orioles

Posted on 11 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After years of battling one another to escape the cellar in the American League East, it looks peculiar to see the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays sitting tied atop the division.

Even if it is only the second week of May.

Of course, the Rays have become a household name among the elite teams of the American League over the last five seasons as the Orioles attempt to copy their secrets in competing with the fat payrolls of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

After a difficult series with the Texas Rangers in which they lost three of four games, the Orioles will send journeyman Dana Eveland to the hill in his first start with the club. The left-hander was 3-2 with a 2.21 earned run average in 36 2/3 innings with Triple-A Norfolk this season after failing to make the 25-man roster out of spring training.

The Orioles are Eveland’s seventh big league club after the 28-year-old previously had stints with Milwaukee, Arizona, Oakland, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and, most recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 59 career starts in the majors, Eveland is 17-22 with a 5.38 ERA, including 19 quality starts.

To clear room for Eveland on the 25-man roster, the Orioles have placed relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom on the 15-day disabled list and minor league infielder Zelous Wheeler has been designated for assignment to create a spot for Eveland on the 40-man roster.

The right-handed reliever said after the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader he heard a pop in the middle finger of his pitching hand but didn’t believe it to be serious. Apparently, it was serious enough to sideline him despite a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings (13 appearances) this season.

“My middle finger, I kind of felt a pop on it on one of my two-seam fastballs, but it’s nothing serious at all,” Lindstrom said after Thursday’s outing. “Just a little soreness in my middle finger.”

Before Friday’s game, Jason Hammel was still listed as the expected starter for Monday when the New York Yankees come to town. The right-hander said he was still optimistic about that timetable for his next start after being scratched for Thursday’s start with right knee soreness.

Injured outfielder Nolan Reimold (herniated disc) finally received his epidural injection on Friday after it was delayed several days due to illness. Manager Buck Showalter had previously hoped Reimold would be able to go on a rehab assignment on Monday, but the recovery time from the injection will prevent that, likely meaning he will not be ready to return from the disabled list when eligible on Wednesday.

Former Oriole Luke Scott makes his return to Baltimore this weekend as he’s been on a tear for the Rays in the absence of Evan Longoria. Hitting cleanup and serving as the designated hitter on Friday night, Scott has seven home runs and 22 runs batted in while hitting .247 in his first 93 at-bats.

After spending four seasons with the Orioles, Scott holds no ill will toward the club after it elected to non-tender him in what would have been his final year of arbitration with the club. Scott missed the final two months of the 2011 season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

“I have just tremendous memories from here that I cherish,” Scott said in the Tampa Bay clubhouse prior to the series opener. “I am very thankful for them.”

Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada underwent Tommy John surgery on his injured elbow on Friday and issued a statement following the procedure:

“The procedure went as planned and Dr. [Lewis] Yocum felt good about how it went. He predicts a full recovery. I’m glad to have this over with and look forward to beginning my rehabilitation so I can get back to pitching for the Orioles as soon as possible.”

Here are Friday night’s lineups…

Tampa Bay
RF Ben Zobrist
1B Carlos Pena
CF B.J. Upton
DH Luke Scott
3B Jeff Keppinger
LF Matt Joyce
SS Sean Rodriguez
C Jose Molina
2B Elliot Johnson

SP Jeremy Hellickson (3-0, 2.75 ERA)

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

SP Dana Eveland (first 2012 start)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Luke Scott’s conversation with WNST.net’s Glenn Clark on Friday afternoon as well as Buck Showalter’s comments prior to the start of a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays HERE.

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Rays PBP voice Freed says Luke Scott has brought leadership to Tampa

Posted on 11 May 2012 by WNST Audio

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Eveland makes first start as Birds open series with Rays

Posted on 11 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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