Tag Archive | "Steve Clevenger"

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Orioles activate Norris, option Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 21 July 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Monday that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Bud Norris from Double-A Bowie and optioned catcher Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk.

Norris, 29, is 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA (91.0IP, 40ER) in 15 starts for the Orioles this season.

Clevenger, 28, appeared in two games for the Orioles after being recalled on July 12. He has batted .328/.378/.458 in 36 games with Norfolk and .240/.296/.373 in 81 plate appearances for the Orioles this season.

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Aiming high only way to go if Orioles want to add starting pitching

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Aiming high only way to go if Orioles want to add starting pitching

Posted on 16 July 2014 by Luke Jones

You can never have too much starting pitching, and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has repeated that sentiment despite the Orioles enjoying a four-game lead in the American League East at the All-Star break.

The Orioles rank fifth in the American League in pitching and 11th in starting pitching, but unlike the last couple seasons in which they were often desperately looking for just a warm body or two to add to the mix, the starting rotation appears to be moving in the right direction. Even with the season-long struggles of the injured Ubaldo Jimenez, the starting pitching has posted a 3.18 ERA over the last 33 games spanning 198 innings, lowering the starting pitching ERA from 4.61 to 4.09 since June 9.

No one will mistake this rotation for the 1971 Orioles, but Duquette should be picky in any quest to add starting pitching between now and the trade deadline at the end of the month. Wondering whether the club has the quality to compete with the front end of other playoff rotations in October is fair, but the upside of Kevin Gausman and even the second-half track record of Jimenez — who has been dominant for stretches of his career when his mechanics are in order — will be worth monitoring down the stretch with an eye toward the postseason.

Even if the Orioles still lack top-half quality, they have more stability in their rotation than they’ve enjoyed in a long time.

Manager Buck Showalter has used just seven starting pitchers all year with one of them — lefty reliever T.J. McFarland — receiving only one start. In 2013, 14 different pitchers made starts and 10 made at least four starts. The year before that, 12 different hurlers made starts with 10 making at least four starts.

Stability — with relatively decent health — has afforded Duquette the luxury of not needing to look for the likes of Scott Feldman, Joe Saunders, Jair Jurrjens, and Freddy Garcia on this year’s market. That’s what made the recent news of the Orioles scouting Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa that much more perplexing as he doesn’t represent an apparent upgrade over anyone — including Jimenez — in the current rotation with his 4.56 ERA in 2014 and 4.69 career mark.

The Orioles have also been linked to San Diego’s Ian Kennedy, who has posted a 3.47 ERA in 20 starts, but he’s a career 3.94 ERA pitcher who’s spent most of his career in the National League. The Padres will likely be asking for a lot for the right-hander, and Duquette shouldn’t part ways with the precious few top prospects he has unless he’s positive he’s gaining a substantial upgrade. Kennedy may provide that, but his talent level should only be the baseline at which the Orioles are looking at this point.

More so than even in 2013 or 2012, the Orioles have plenty of quality when it comes to filling out the back of the rotation. They have an abundance of No. 4 and No. 5 starters.

An injury or two could obviously change that tune quickly, but Duquette must aim high if the Orioles are to add starting pitching between now and the end of the July. Jeff Samardzija has already been dealt to Oakland and David Price may not be traded at all — and they probably don’t have the freight to acquire the AL East pitcher, anyway — but those are the types of arms to be examining.

Anything less is just a waste of time and resources.

Standing pat at catcher

Many have asked about the possibility of the Orioles adding another catcher to the mix as Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley have handled the workload since Matt Wieters underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery, but Duquette has said on several occasions that they’re unlikely to make another move in that department.

Boston officially released A.J. Pierzynski on Wednesday, but the Orioles don’t view him as a significant upgrade offensively — the 37-year-old posted just a .633 on-base plus slugging percentage with the Red Sox — to compromise the rapport Joseph and Hundley have built with the pitching staff and the defensive work they’ve displayed over the better part of two months. And that’s not even mentioning Pierzynski’s outspoken personality that could potentially compromise a strong clubhouse.

Hundley has come on lately with the bat, raising his average to a respectable .250, while Joseph has posted a .690 OPS since the beginning of June and had a solid offensive track record in the minor leagues despite his current .187 average. Neither will fool you as quality offensive catchers, but trying to add an impact backstop while bringing him up to speed with the pitching staff will be extremely difficult.

If the Orioles are looking for an offensive boost, they could take another extended look at Steve Clevenger, but Showalter is going to value defensive work behind the plate and the current duo — particularly Joseph — has done an admirable job in that department.

Left-handed bat still needed

The emergence of Steve Pearce has been one of the great stories of the 2014 season, but the Orioles shouldn’t assume the 31-year-old will continue to perform at a rate that warrants everyday playing time with no questions asked.

His .316 average, 11 home runs, and 31 runs batted in are a major reason why Baltimore currently sits in first place, but it’s still a stretch to expect his current .300 average and .846 OPS against right-handed pitching to continue. For his career, Pearce is hitting just .237 with a .667 OPS against right-handers and that’s including his amazing numbers this season.

In other words, a left-handed hitting outfielder that feasts against right-handed pitching should be a priority to add for the stretch as the only left-handed bats to make real contributions this season are Nick Markakis and the struggling Chris Davis. The speedy Lough has been a major disappointment at the plate, and the Orioles must anticipate the possibility of needing to platoon Pearce if he reverts to his career form.

Even if Pearce continues to thrive as an everyday player, the Orioles would benefit from a left-handed version of Delmon Young to come off the bench in the late innings as Lough and utility player Ryan Flaherty just don’t provide formidable options at the plate. The Orioles had looked into the services of Padres outfielder Seth Smith, who feasts against right-handed pitching, before he signed a two-year extension with San Diego earlier this month.

A player of that ilk would make perfect sense for the roster.

Pondering futures of Cruz and Davis

It’s incredible to think how much can change in a year as Orioles fans were clamoring for the organization to sign Davis to a long-term contract as he entered the All-Star break with 37 home runs last year and would go on to hit a franchise record 53 in 2013. Meanwhile, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was a couple weeks away from beginning a 50-game suspension stemming from his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

A year later, Davis sits with a lowly .199 average at the break while Cruz has parlayed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Orioles into what looks like a pending lucrative payday as he’s second in the majors with 28 home runs and has often carried the Baltimore offense this year while Davis and others have struggled.

It’s interesting to see so many fans crushing Davis for his poor first half — that’s not to say criticism hasn’t been warranted — while screaming for the Orioles to sign the 34-year-old Cruz to a long-term contract when many of those same fans wanted to give Davis the keys to the city last offseason.

The Orioles will certainly make Cruz a qualifying offer after the season to at least recover a draft pick and should see if he’s willing to sign a short-term extension at a higher annual cost per year, but giving him more than two or three years at the most would be a mistake for an aging player coming off what looks to be his career year.

Davis’ future will be more interesting to figure out as he tries to rebound from a miserable first half and remains under team control through next season.

 

 

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Gonzalez joins Norris in being optioned to minors over All-Star break

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Gonzalez joins Norris in being optioned to minors over All-Star break

Posted on 12 July 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After matching his season high with eight strong innings in his start against the New York Yankees Friday, Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk a day later.

Joining fellow starter Bud Norris in being sent to the minors for a start during the All-Star break, Gonzalez will be eligible to return for his next major league start against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on July 22. He is slated to pitch for the Tides on Thursday before rejoining the Orioles on the West Coast.

Gonzalez is 4-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 89 innings this season and has completed eight innings in each of his last two starts after failing to do that in any of his first 13 starts.

The club recalled catcher Steve Clevenger from the Tides to take Gonzalez’s spot on the roster. He will provide another left-handed bat off the bench for the time being and was hitting .328 for Norfolk after hitting .243 with the Orioles earlier this season.

Norris was optioned to Double-A Bowie on Thursday to shake off some of the rust he showed in Wednesday’s start against Washington upon being activated from the 15-day disabled list. Manager Buck Showalter plans to send Norris to the hill against the Angels on July 21.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and Showalter have enjoyed the benefit of having four starting pitchers with minor-league options to add an extra bullpen arm and a third catcher for a few games while preventing Norris and Gonzalez from having extended layoffs.

Though no official order has been set, the Orioles are all but guaranteed to give starts to Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, and Kevin Gausman against the Oakland Athletics when they begin a three-game set there next Friday to begin the second half of the season. Struggling starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez will officially be placed on the DL to make room for the returning Gausman to pitch against the Yankees on Sunday night.

The only possible drawback would be a short-term injury or illness to any of the scheduled starters in the Oakland series with Norris unable to come back until July 20 and Gonzalez ineligible until July 22 without someone else being placed on the DL. Of course, the Orioles could likely use lefty reliever T.J. McFarland as an emergency starter in a pinch.

 

 

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Yastrzemski hits for cycle to headline Orioles minor league recap – 7/5

Posted on 05 July 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Saturday…

-Catcher Steve Clevenger and Shortstop Jemile Weeks recorded two hits each, but the AAA Norfolk Tides fell 6-3 to Charlotte. Starter Nick Additon struggled, allowing four earned runs (eight hits, walk) over just 4.1 innings pitched. Evan Meek worked a scoreless inning in relief.

-Slugging first base prospect Christian Walker clubbed his 20th home run of the season for the AA Bowie Baysox in a 7-1 win over Akron. Leftfielder John Ruettiger added three hits (including a double) and scored three runs in the win.

-Centerfielder Mike Yastrzemski was the star of the night on the farm, becoming the first Frederick Keys player to hit for the cycle since 2005 as the high Single A team beat Lynchburg 17-3. The grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski collected a second double, scored three runs and drove in five in the victory. Leftfielder Michael Burgess crushed two homers in the win as well.

-Preparing to represent the Orioles in the MLB All-Star Futures Game, pitcher Hunter Harvey was strong again as the Single A Delmarva Shorebirds topped Lakewood 6-3. The former first round pick allowed just one earned run on five hits (three walks) and struck out eight over six innings for his sixth win of the season.

-Notre Dame basketball player Patrick Connaughton worked two perfect innings in his second career start as the rookie level Single A Aberdeen Ironbirds beat Brooklyn 18-2. First baseman Riley Palmer was just a home run short of a cycle himself, hitting three doubles, scoring three runs and adding three RBI in the win.

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Bundy, E. Rodriguez headline Orioles minor league recap – 7/4

Posted on 04 July 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Friday…

-Catcher Steve Clevenger continued to swing a hot bat for the AAA Norfolk Tides. The Pigtown native went 2-4 with a home run and a double while adding two RBI and two runs scores to lift the Tides to a 7-2 win over Charlotte. Steve Lombardozzi went 2-5 with a double and three RBI while Buck Britton went 4-5 with a double, RBI and run scored.

-Already on his way to representing the O’s in this year’s All-Star Futures Game, Bowie Baysox OF Dariel Alvarez added to his totals Friday night. The centerfielder went 2-4 with a home run, four RBI and a walk in a 5-2 win for the AA Bowie Baysox over Akron. Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez did not factor in the decision after allowing just one earned run (five hits, two walks, seven strikeouts) over six innings.

-Former first round pick Dylan Bundy continued his rehab from Tommy John surgery by making his first start for the high Single A Frederick Keys. Bundy did not factor in the decision, allowing three earned runs (four hits, two walks, three strikeouts) over just 4.2 innings in a 8-4 loss at Lynchburg.

-Designated Hitter Chance Sisco continued a big season at the plate, going 3-5 with a home run, four RBI and three runs scored as the Single A Delmarva Shorebirds crushed Lakewood 17-5. Sisco is now hitting .338/.405/.462 with four homers, 17 doubles and 39 RBI in 63 games this season.

-Mets pitcher Dillon Gee’s rehab assignment was spoiled by the rookie level Single A Aberdeen Ironbirds, who picked up a 3-2 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones. It was only the third win of the season for the Ironbirds, who were struck out 10 times by the fifth year MLB starter over six innings.

-Baltimore native Steve Johnson is scheduled to pitch two innings for the Gulf Coast League Orioles team Sunday on a rehab assignment, according to multiple reports.

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Orioles hoping for best, bracing for worst with Wieters’ follow-up appointment

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Orioles hoping for best, bracing for worst with Wieters’ follow-up appointment

Posted on 13 June 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Matt Wieters is scheduled to make his follow-up visit to Dr. James Andrews on Monday while the Orioles hope for the best and prepare for the worst regarding their injured catcher.

On the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness since May 11, Wieters hasn’t progressed as well as he’d hoped since beginning a throwing program two weeks ago and faces the prospects of needing season-ending surgery to correct the problem. The Orioles have laid out July 1 as the deadline for Wieters to go under the knife without missing any time at the start of the 2015 season with a normal rehabilitation scheduled.

Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t about to reveal his gut feeling about how Wieters’ appointment will go with the renowned orthopedic surgeon but didn’t paint a rosy picture about the two-time All-Star catcher’s status for the rest of the 2014 season.

“It’s another one of those where I know a little more than I’m going to talk about,” Showalter said. “I don’t want to say something that’s not honest. He’s still got a chance. I think we’re all curious to see what Dr. Andrews is going to say. We’ve got it set up both ways. He’ll [either] be returning to us and get right back into his program or we can proceed with the other option, which I have trouble saying out loud. There’s only really two options here.”

In Wieters’ absence, the Orioles have used the trio of Nick Hundley, Caleb Joseph, and Steve Clevenger behind the plate. Acquired from the San Diego Padres on May 24, Hundley initially looked like he’d be the starting catcher for the foreseeable future, but Joseph made his fourth start in the club’s last five games on Friday night.

Clevenger has hit .455 in 44 at-bats since being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, but his less-than-stellar defense was a deciding factor behind his demotion.

Showalter was amused when asked by a reporter if he was satisfied with his current options behind the plate should Wieters’ appointment bring bad news from Gulf Breeze, Fla. on Monday.

“What am I supposed to say, no?” Showalter said. “‘By God, Dan [Duquette] better go get an All-Star catcher right away just like Matt.’ I am [comfortable]. I think they’ve done a good job all things considered. We’ve tried real hard to create some depth here catching.

“We’ve got some things to pick from. That’s really been a challenge for us in the last few years. We always said, ‘What if Matt [gets hurt]? What are we going to do?’ Well, here we are. I hope that we get some good news on Monday, but you better prepare like you’re not.”

Machado appeal date not imminent

Showalter and the Orioles know the date that third baseman Manny Machado’s appeal will be heard on a five-game suspension stemming from the bat-throwing incident against the Oakland Athletics, but the organization is not commenting.

The manager only said that it isn’t imminent and that the 21-year-old will be available for the remainder of the weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Many have speculated that Machado’s appeal could be heard when the Orioles arrive in the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees next weekend, but that’s not a guarantee.

The club will need to add a backup infielder to the mix when Machado’s suspension begins with the assumption that Ryan Flaherty will handle third-base duties. This means Showalter will only have 11 pitchers at his disposal with Machado still counting against the 25-man roster while he serves his penalty.

“It’s not like you can pick the date and take the suspension,” Showalter said. “‘OK, he’s suspended and we’ll take it in September.’ You can’t do that. That’s not the way it’s designed. Once they render a decision, it’s right away. If you look at the precedent for situations like this, we feel like and Manny feels like [five games is a] little strong.”

Rotation still not set for Tampa Bay series

Lefty Wei-Yin Chen will pitch the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, but Showalter wasn’t prepared to name his starters for Games 2 and 3 on Friday afternoon.

“I think after [Friday night], I’ll be able to give you [scheduled starters for] Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Showalter. “No, probably [Saturday].”

Many are clamoring for both Kevin Gausman and Miguel Gonzalez — who is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Sunday — to remain in the rotation while questioning the status of Ubaldo Jimenez, who entered his Friday start with a 5.01 ERA in 13 outings this season. Of course, the $50 million investment the Orioles made in him this offseason provides a longer leash, but a club aiming to win now may want to consider a temporary shift to the bullpen or a trip to the disabled list for the struggling right-hander if his fortunes don’t improve quickly.

Tough day for knuckleballers

Norfolk knuckleball pitcher Eddie Gamboa was suspended for 50 games on Friday for testing positive for exogenous testosterone. His suspension begins immediately after he began the season 4-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 14 games (12 starts).

“I know some people are going to make comments about a knuckleball guy and the connection with whatever,” Showalter said. “They’re missing the point on why. Obviously, I know a lot more about why and looking into it. He was on the radar here, so it’s unfortunate.”

Another converted knuckleball pitcher in the organization received bad news on Friday as UMBC product Zach Clark was released.

 

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Orioles option Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for returning Davis

Posted on 27 May 2014 by Luke Jones

As expected, the Orioles activated first baseman Chris Davis from the paternity leave list prior to Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

What wasn’t expected was the decision to option catcher Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk in order to make room. The Orioles figured to option one of their three catchers on the 25-man roster following the Saturday acquisition of veteran Nick Hundley, but many assumed rookie Caleb Joseph would be sent back to the Tides.

Clevenger had been serving as the starting catcher with Matt Wieters on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow discomfort, but it appears that the 30-year-Hundley will now step into the primary starting role. Hundley is a career .238 hitter and provided the game-winning hit in the top of the 10th inning of Monday’s 7-6 win over Milwaukee.

Joseph is just 1-for-23 with the Orioles since being promoted earlier this month, but the 27-year-old is 4-for-10 throwing out runners attempting to steal. Never known as a strong defensive catcher in the minor leagues, Joseph has impressed manager Buck Showalter with his work behind the plate.

The right-handed-hitting Hundley is only a .199 career hitter against left-handed pitching, making it likely that Joseph will receive regular work against southpaw starters. This alignment would make more sense than Clevenger remaining with the Orioles since he doesn’t hit left-handed pitching well (a .128 career average).

Clevenger was hitting .243 with eight runs batted in and appeared to have the higher offensive upside, but Tuesday’s move appears to be the latest example of manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette going with the stronger defensive option in Joseph. However, it’s a tough sell convincing critics that Joseph’s edge in defense is greater than the discrepancy in offensive production between Clevenger and Joseph in Baltimore this season.

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Agent Kusnick says Clevenger excited to play in front of hometown Baltimore fans

Posted on 09 April 2014 by WNST Staff

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Fresh arms come to the Orioles in a great trade

Posted on 02 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop, out. Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger in.

This is a great trade for both parties. Arrieta gets a change of scenery which he desperately needed. He has potential but hasn’t put it all together with a 5.4 career ERA. That number has risen to 7.23 in 2013 in five starts.

Arrieta is only 27 so I hope he can turn his career around in a different environment with different coaching. Arrieta was simply too inconsistent with his time in Baltimore. Flashes of solid pitching was shown but he struggled to keep a spot in the rotation.

Speaking of inconsistency, Pedro Strop is also headed to Chicago. Strop is also relatively young and was a solid player for the Orioles in 2012. Strop finished with a 2.4 ERA but like Arrieta, that number has leaped above seven in 2013.

Feldman is a veteran player with a lot of experience. He is an upgrade over Britton and brings another leader to the lineup along with Hammel. Feldman wont be at the top of the order but he will be able to eat innings late in the rotation.

If Wei-Yen Chan comes back to the lineup and play up to his potential, the Orioles rotation can be good enough to make a deep postseason run. While they may not have an ace, the offense is too good. Also don’t forget the Orioles recent success in close games. Their strong mental fortitude and top notch offense should be enough to make a strong postseason appearance.

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Orioles acquire SP Feldman; send Strop-Arrieta to Cubs

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Orioles acquire SP Feldman; send Strop-Arrieta to Cubs

Posted on 02 July 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that they have acquired RHP SCOTT FELDMAN and CA STEVE CLEVENGER from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for RHPs JAKE ARRIETA and PEDRO STROP and INTERNATIONAL SIGNING BONUS SLOTS 3 and 4. Clevenger has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

Additionally, OF NOLAN REIMOLD has been activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Feldman, 30, is 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA (91.0IP, 35ER) and nine Quality Starts in 15 outings for the Cubs this season, including a 4-1 mark and 2.25 ERA (40.0IP, 10ER) in six starts in May. He is 46-50 with a 4.66 ERA (818.2IP, 424ER) in 219 career games (116 starts) over nine seasons with Texas (2005-12) and the Cubs (2013). Since 2011, Feldman has improved his strikeout rate to 17.8% of batters faced and lowered his walk rate to 6.4%, compared to 12.7% and 8.4%, respectively, over the first six years of his career.

“Feldman is a proven starter with postseason experience who should help stabilize our rotation for the second half,” Orioles Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said.

He appeared in nine postseason games for Texas in 2011, going 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA (13.2IP, 5ER) while pitching in the ALDS (one game), ALCS (three games) and World Series (five games). Feldman set career-highs with 17 wins, 31 starts and 189.2 innings pitched for the Rangers in 2009.

“We’re having a good season & need to stabilize our starting pitching to advance to the playoffs,” Duquette told MASN. “And that’s what this deal is aimed to addressed.”

Feldman, who was scheduled to start Tuesday for the Cubs against the Oakland Athletics, will fly out to Chicago tonight to join the Orioles, and will start Wednesday against the White Sox, according to an interview Feldman did with Sirius XM.

“I know Maryland’s known for Crabcakes and Football,” Feldman joked while on with former GM Jim Bowden.

He will be the third Hawaiian-born player in Orioles history, joining INF LENN SAKATA (1980-85) and LHP SID FERNANDEZ (1994-95).

Clevenger, 27, has batted .327/.426/.596 in 15 games for Triple-A Iowa and is 1-for-8 in eight games for the Cubs this season. He is a .199/.262/.275 hitter in 79 major league games with the Cubs since 2011. The Baltimore-born Clevenger was selected by the Cubs in the 7th round of the 2006 First Year Player Draft and has batted .310/.372/.429 in 563 career minor league games. He graduated from Mount St. Joseph’s High School.

Arrieta, 27, is 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA (23.2IP, 19ER) in five starts for the Orioles this season. He has gone 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA (358.0IP, 217ER) in 69 games (63 starts) in four seasons with Baltimore after being selected by the O’s in the 5th round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft.

Arrieta was shocked by the trade, but ultimately he understood the decision the Orioles had to make, and he knows that it benefits both he and the two clubs involved.

“I think for both sides, it kind of came to that fork in the road and they chose to make a trade,” Arrieta told the Sun. “I think that is really the best way to look at it. This is something that is going to do me a lot of good.”

Strop, 28, is 0-3 with a 7.25 ERA (22.1IP, 18ER) in 29 games for the Orioles this season. He went 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA (101.0IP, 37ER) and three saves in 111 games for the Orioles after being acquired on September 1, 2011 from Texas.

“It was frustrating knowing you can do better than what you are doing,” Strop told MLB.com.

Reimold, 29, was placed on the disabled list on May 12 with a right hamstring strain. He is batting .188/.257/.327 in 31 games for the Orioles this season.

The Orioles will not have to make a corresponding roster move with Reimold until Feldman arrives with the team.

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