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With Orioles rotation in flux, Chen represents surest commodity right now

Posted on 10 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After four weeks of quality starting pitching that earned them their best start since the 2005 season, the Orioles suddenly find their rotation filled with question marks.

Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta has been inconsistent, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter have been more bad than good, and Jason Hammel — the best starter on the staff through the season’s first month — is now battling a right knee injury that forced manager Buck Showalter to scratch him from Thursday’s start in hopes that he can return to the hill Monday or Tuesday and avoid the disabled list.

Meanwhile, the starter the Orioles knew the least about entering the season has suddenly become their surest thing. Pitching the front-end of Thursday’s doubleheader against a Rangers lineup that had pounded Baltimore pitching for 24 runs in the first two games of the series, Taiwanese rookie Wei-Yin Chen didn’t blink.

All you needed to know about Chen’s mentality against the two-time American League champions came in the first inning against Josh Hamilton, who was making his first plate appearance since hitting four home runs on Tuesday night. Instead of nibbling on the outside edge of the plate, Chen quickly got ahead 0-2 before buzzing a fastball right under Hamilton’s chin.

The purpose pitched worked as Hamilton flailed badly on the next pitch, a low-and-away breaking ball to end the first inning. It was a sign of things to come as Chen completed the best outing of his brief major league career, pitching 7 2/3 innings while allowing two earned runs and six hits to improve to 3-0 on the season with the Orioles’ 6-5 win in the opener of a straight doubleheader.

“Yeah, definitely, this was my best outing,” Chen said through his interpreter. “This was definitely the best outing of this year.”

Not only did Chen lower his earned run average to an impressive 2.68, but he saved a bullpen that had to work a bit extra in the nightcap after Hunter struggled through six innings while giving up four earned runs in a 7-3 loss.

After receiving an extra day of rest due to Wednesday’s rainout, Chen threw 103 pitches and didn’t seem to struggle as much after reaching the 85-pitch barrier that’s often signaled the end of his effectiveness in several starts. Normally lacking overwhelming stuff, Chen’s fastball topped 93 mph when it normally sits right around 90. In what’s become a pattern for the 26-year-old through his first six starts, he changed speeds and had excellent command, keeping Texas hitters off balance throughout the afternoon.

“Wei-Yin was a difference-maker today to get that deep in the game and against obviously a good lineup,” Showalter said. “He was outstanding. He was sharp with his breaking ball, the extra days’ rest. It seems like he had a little bit more finish on his fastball. He was a difference-maker for us today, and it won’t be forgotten.”

While Chen isn’t a rookie in the traditional sense when you consider his experiences pitching in Taiwan and Japan, his polish has been impressive as he looks to have a plan for every hitter — unlike many of the young pitchers to come to Baltimore and struggle over the last several seasons. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in each start and the competition he’s faced hasn’t exactly been a cakewalk with early encounters against the Yankees and the Red Sox before dominating the Rangers on Thursday.

Of course, even Chen admits the mystery surrounding his ability and how it projects at the major league level has worked to his benefit so far, but it’s tough to discredit what he was able to do to a red-hot Texas lineup.

“Because I’m a new guy, they don’t know me that much,” Chen said. “But, on the other hand, I felt really, really good today, and I had really good command and everything was working. I didn’t think about it too much, I just went pitch-by-pitch today.”

As impressive as Chen has been, he’ll need to make adjustments as American League teams begin to see him for the second and third times. Zach Britton learned that the hard way a year ago when his rookie season began crumbling after looking like a strong Rookie of the Year candidate during the first two months of the season.

Even so, Chen shows the maturity of a pitcher with a plan every time he takes the mound. He doesn’t do anything to overwhelm you, but the results have been exactly what the Orioles were looking for — and badly needed on Thursday.

“We’re still learning about him,” Showalter said. “Considering the competition and the need, [his start] certainly seemed pretty crisp for us.”

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Chavez to DL, Hunter recalled as Orioles play doubleheader with Texas

Posted on 10 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The good news for the Orioles stemming from Wednesday’s rainout was the extra day of rest it provided a bullpen still feeling the effects of two extra-inning games in Boston last weekend.

However, the thought of playing two games in the same day against an imposing Texas Rangers lineup that battered the Orioles for 24 runs in the first two games of the series is certainly a scary proposition. Manager Buck Showalter can only hope starting pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Tommy Hunter are up to the task in containing the Rangers’ bats and preventing them from getting to the Baltimore bullpen too early.

Hunter has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk after being sent down on Monday. The 25-year-old will start the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader on only three days’ rest. Given the physical challenges Hunter had faced that contributed to his demotion earlier in the week, the risk involved with sending him to the mound on short rest was considered by Showalter.

The Orioles manager pointed out Hunter had six days’ rest prior to his last start and only threw 82 pitches before being lifted in the sixth inning at Fenway Park on Sunday.

“I actually think he should be in a real good spot physically,” Showalter said. “It’s certainly something I thought about, but he’s had a lost of rest. He should be fine.”

Under normal circumstances, Hunter would not have been allowed to return to the big-league club for 10 days, but the Orioles have placed outfielder Endy Chavez on the 15-day disabled list as expected. Chavez has dealt with an intercostal injury since the Orioles’ three-game series in Anaheim last month.

Chavez said he injured the ribcage area in a batting practice session, and he has gotten

With Chavez and Nolan Reimold both on the disabled list, the Orioles will rely on a combination of Rule-5 selection Ryan Flaherty, recently-recalled utility player Steve Tolleson, and veteran Wilson Betemit to handle duties in left field. It’s not exactly a comfortable spot for Showalter and the Orioles at a position that had plenty of question marks — even with Reimold and Chavez available — at the start of the season.

“I never thought I’d be in this position,” said Chavez, who is hitting just .133 in 60 at-bats this season. “It’s kind of frustrating and disappointing. I want to help the team. It was something I wasn’t expecting.”

Showalter is targeting Monday for Jason Hammel to make his next start. The right-hander’s sore right knee has responded favorably to treatment despite being forced to miss the start on Thursday. The Orioles are being cautious with his past history of knee soreness, and Showalter said Hammel probably could have made Thursday’s start if they really wanted to push the issue.

As expected, Norfolk pitcher Dana Eveland will make Friday’s start. That means the Orioles will have made a roster move every day this week, which is quite a change from April when the only roster move made was Robert Andino going on paternity leave for two days in late April.

Zach Britton threw 45 pitches over three innings of an extended spring training game in Sarasota on Friday. The southpaw allowed one hit while striking out one and walking one. Showalter wouldn’t reveal what Britton’s fastball velocity was, but he said it was a considerable improvement from his previous bullpen sessions.

When asked for a projected return date for the young left-hander, Showalter admitted late May would likely be too ambitious and mentioned early June as a more realistic possibility.

Here are the Game 1 lineups…

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

SP Colby Lewis (3-1, 2.97 ERA)

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

SP Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 2.76 ERA)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Endy Chavez, and new utility player Steve Tolleson HERE.

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I Answer your questions about J Jones, Hamilton, I’ll Have Another, more

Posted on 10 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Loyola A Sawyer amongst Tewaaraton Award finalists

Posted on 10 May 2012 by WNST Staff

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2012 – The Tewaaraton Foundation has announced the 2012 Tewaaraton Award men’s and women’s finalists lists, presented by Panama Jack. Five men and five women were selected as finalists and will be invited to Washington, D.C. for the 12th annual Tewaaraton Award Ceremony, May 31 at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

The five men’s finalists are Colgate University attackman Peter Baum, Duke University midfielder C.J. Costabile, University of Massachusetts attackman Will Manny, Loyola University attackman Mike Sawyer and University of Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick.

The five women’s finalists are University of Florida midfielder Brittany Dashiell, University of North Carolina attacker Becky Lynch, University of Maryland attacker Katie Schwarzmann, Northwestern University midfielder Taylor Thornton and Syracuse University attacker Michelle Tumolo.

This year marks the first time that 10 different schools are represented among the finalists, as well as the first time finalists originally hailing from North Carolina, Oregon and Texas have been selected. Returning 2011 finalists include Stanwick (2011 men’s winner) and Schwarzmann. All ten finalists will compete in this month’s NCAA lacrosse championships, at the conclusion of which the selection committees will vote on and select this year’s winners.

“It is the ultimate recognition for these 10 finalists to have been recognized by the game’s very best coaches,” said Jeffrey Harvey, chairman of The Tewaaraton Foundation. “They are all worthy of the sport’s ultimate award, and we could not be more excited to have this group come to Washington, D.C. on May 31.”

The Tewaaraton Award annually honors the top male and top female college lacrosse player in the United States. Finalists were selected from a pool of 25 men’s and 25 women’s nominees. The selection committees are comprised of 12 men’s and 10 women’s current and former college coaches.

Brief bios of the finalists:

Peter Baum (Portland, Ore.) leads the nation in goals (64) and points (93), setting Colgate and Patriot League records in both categories en route to being named the 2012 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year. The junior attackman’s 93 points are the most in NCAA Division I play since 2008, when Tewaaraton Award finalist Zack Greer recorded 95. Baum is the first finalist in Colgate lacrosse history.

C.J. Costabile (New Fairfield, Conn.) is looking to become the third Duke Blue Devil to receive the Tewaaraton, following Matt Danowski (2007) and Ned Crotty (2010). On his way to being named the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Co-Defensive Player of the Year, the senior long-stick midfielder grabbed an ACC-best 113 ground balls along with 18 caused turnovers, 10 points (6g, 4a) and 119 of 231 draws.

Will Manny (Massapequa, N.Y.) led Massachusetts’ third-ranked offense (13.07 goals per game) and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in both goals (43) and points (75), helping the Minutemen to an undefeated regular season in which his team led the nation in scoring margin. The junior attackman ranked in the nation’s top six in goals (2.87), assists (2.13) and points (5.00) per game and earned 2012 CAA Player of the Year honors.

Mike Sawyer (Waxhaw, N.C.) helped the Loyola Greyhounds land the No. 1 seed in the NCAA men’s lacrosse championship as well as the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) regular season and tournament titles. The junior attackman was a first-team All-ECAC performer, leading his team and the ECAC in goals (45), and his 3.00 goals per game average ranked third nationally. Sawyer is the first men’s finalist in Loyola lacrosse history.

Steele Stanwick (Baltimore, Md.) is looking for a repeat of his 2011 Tewaaraton Award-winning campaign, when he led the Virginia Cavaliers to the national title. The senior attackman claimed his second straight ACC Player of the Year award, leading Virginia with 71 points (26g, 45a). Stanwick led the nation in assists and is ranked second in the country with 5.07 points per game.

On the women’s side, the five finalists represent the top five schools in the final regular season Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) coaches’ poll.

Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) was a catalyst for the Florida Gators third-ranked offense, leading the Gators to the program’s first American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) tournament title and the No. 1 seed in the NCAA women’s lacrosse championship. The junior attacker led Florida with 23 assists and was third on the team with 59 points. Her 27 ground balls and 42 draw controls ranked second on the Gators and helped her garner a first-team All-ALC selection. Dashiell is the first finalist in Florida lacrosse history.

Becky Lynch (Garden City, N.Y.) ranked in North Carolina’s top two in goals, assists, points (team-leading 55), ground balls and draw controls (team-leading 37). The senior attacker became the Tar Heels’ career assist leader (89) en route to first-team All-ACC honors and the ACC regular season championship. She paced the Tar Heels with six points in the ACC tournament and became the only player in program history to earn all-tournament honors in four consecutive seasons.

Katie Schwarzmann (Sykesville, Md.) has the opportunity to join two other Maryland Terrapins as Tewaaraton winners: Jen Adams (2001) and Caitlyn McFadden (2010). Schwarzmann led the ACC and ranked third nationally with 63 goals. Her 78 points were second best in the conference, and she also led the Terrapins in ground balls (29) and recorded 40 draw controls, second on the team. A member of the 2011-12 U.S. women’s national team, the junior midfielder was named 2012 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and received her third straight all-conference selection. She paced the Terrapins with a tournament-record 11 goals in their run to the ACC tournament title, earning MVP honors.

Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas) was the leader for Northwestern’s fourth-ranked defense and was named 2012 ALC Player of the Year, earning her third-straight all-conference selection. The junior midfielder, who in 2011 was named IWLCA Division I Defensive Player of the Year, was also a member of the 2011-12 U.S. women’s national team. She set a career high with 27 goals and ranked in the top two for the Wildcats in ground balls (team-leading 44), draw controls (59) and caused turnovers (24). She is looking to become Northwestern’s record sixth Tewaaraton winner, following the likes of Kristen Kjellman (2006, 2007), Hannah Nielsen (2008, 2009) and Shannon Smith (2011).

Michelle Tumolo (Mullica Hill, N.J.) paced the Syracuse offense, ranking in the Orange’s top two in goals (43), assists (team-leading 40), points (83), ground balls (20) and caused turnovers (11). The junior attacker made her second appearance on the All-Big East First Team and was named Big East Attack Player of the Year. A member of the 2011-12 U.S. women’s national team, she became only the second player in Syracuse history to record 200 points and 100 assists in her career.

For more information on the Tewaaraton Award or to attend the ceremony, visit www.tewaaraton.com. Like and follow The Tewaaraton Foundation at www.facebook.com/tewaaraton and www.twitter.com/tewaaraton.

About The Tewaaraton Foundation

First presented in 2001 at the University Club of Washington DC, the Tewaaraton Award is recognized as the pre-eminent lacrosse award, annually honoring the top male and female college lacrosse player in the United States. Endorsed by the Mohawk Nation Council of Elders and US Lacrosse, the Tewaaraton Award symbolizes lacrosse’s centuries-old roots in Native American heritage. The Tewaaraton Foundation ensures the integrity and advances the mission of this award. Each year, the Tewaaraton Award celebrates one of the six tribal nations of the Iroquois Confederacy – the Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora – and presents two scholarships to students of Iroquois descent. To learn more about The Tewaaraton Foundation, visit www.tewaaraton.com.

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Orioles continue to shuffle roster in Texas series

Posted on 09 May 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 8:20 p.m.)

BALTIMORE — As if allowing 24 runs over the last two nights wasn’t bad enough, the Orioles pitching staff appears to be suffering another blow with the revelation that starter Jason Hammel will be scratched on Thursday.

Dealing with right knee soreness in recent weeks, Hammel underwent an MRI that revealed no structure damage. Manager Buck Showalter labeled the Orioles’ top starter through the first month of the season as a “realistic” possibility to be pushed back, but he did not consider it to be a serious issue that could land the right-hander on the 15-day disabled list.

With Norfolk’s Dana Eveland the likely starter on Friday in place of Tommy Hunter, the Orioles may need to deep into their Triple-A team again for the series finale against the Rangers. Brad Bergesen is scheduled to make Thursday’s start for the Tides.

Another possibility for Thursday’s start could be Hunter, who would be eligible to return to the Orioles should the team place a player on the disabled list. Outfielder Endy Chavez has been dealing with an intercostal strain and was not in Wednesday’s lineup.

(Update: The Orioles announced Hunter will be recalled to start the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader. This presumably means Chavez will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.)

With Chavez limited, the Orioles have decided to purchase the contract of utility player Steve Tolleson and option left-handed reliever Zach Phillips to Triple-A Norfolk. Tolleson is able to play the infield and each corner outfield spot, making him a viable option if Chavez is to be sidelined for a longer period of time.The 28-year-old was hitting .265 in 83 at-bats for Norfolk.

Phillips was with the Orioles for only Tuesday’s game, allowing Josh Hamilton’s third home run of the evening in his 2/3 inning of work.

To clear room for Tolleson on the 40-man roster, the Orioles have shifted reserve catcher Taylor Teagarden to the 60-day disabled list. Still dealing with a back injury, Teagarden has responded well to a third epidural injection, but there is still no timetable for a return.

With Hunter currently in the minors, Hammel likely to miss a start, and Brian Matusz struggling, Showalter was asked about the possibility of Zach Britton’s rehab program being accelerated. The young left-hander remains on schedule, but the Orioles have no interest in putting short-term needs ahead of his overall well-being for the future.

“He’ll stay right on his program,” Showalter said. “We’re going to get that right.”

Britton is expected to pitch in an extended spring training game on Thursday. He’s scheduled to throw 45 pitches.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

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

SP Colby Lewis (3-1, 2.97 ERA)

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

SP Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 2.76 ERA)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter and Chris Davis prior to the third of a four-game set against the Texas Rangers.

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

Posted on 09 May 2012 by Luke Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It needs to regroup in a hurry.

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Hamilton makes history as Rangers blow out Orioles

Posted on 08 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Arrieta hopes to get Orioles back on track Tuesday night

Posted on 08 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Orioles add bullpen help against powerful Rangers

Posted on 07 May 2012 by Luke Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are tonight’s lineups…

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

SP Matt Harrison (3-2, 5.40 ERA)

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

SP Brian Matusz (1-3, 4.67 ERA)

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Rangers 1B Snyder returns to Baltimore to face red hot Orioles

Posted on 07 May 2012 by WNST Audio

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