Tag Archive | "Tides"

Cuban outfielder Urrutia joins Orioles to start second half

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Cuban outfielder Urrutia joins Orioles to start second half

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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After three red-hot months in which Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia feasted on minor-league pitching, it appears the wait to see him in Baltimore is over.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Orioles will promote the 26-year-old outfielder after he completed a short stint with Triple-A Norfolk in which he hit .367 in 60 at-bats. This success and his .365 average that included seven home runs and 37 RBIs at Double-A Bowie were more than enough to persuade the Orioles to give him a chance to pump life into a stagnant designated hitter role.

This season, the Orioles have hit only .197 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs while posting an anemic .643 OPS (on-base plug slugging percentage) from the DH spot.

In addition to Urrutia, MASN reports Danny Valencia is also on his way to Texas as the Orioles begin their post-break schedule with a three-game set against the Rangers. The additions of both Urrutia and Valencia would appear to be bad news for Nolan Reimold, who has batted .195 and struck out 41 times in 140 plate appearances this season.

Reimold is out of options, meaning the Orioles’ only choice would be to designated him for assignment unless he is heading back to the disabled list. Since returning from the DL earlier this month, Reimold is just 6-for-27 with a homer, three RBIs, and 11 strikeouts.

Urrutia would likely serve as the left-handed DH with Valencia serving as a right-handed bat off the bench and potential DH against left-handed starters. Given the current construction of the Orioles bench that includes two second basemen behind Brian Roberts, Ryan Flaherty would be a logical option to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk due to his sporadic playing time since Roberts’ return.

With the non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Orioles need to see if Urrutia can provide the necessary production from the DH spot that they haven’t received all year, and the 26-year-old has certainly proven worthy of an opportunity after performing admirably at the two highest levels of minor-league ball.

Jurrjens chooses free agency after clearning waivers

As was anticipated last week, the Jair Jurrjens era has officially come to an end in Baltimore.

Despite clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, the 27-year-old pitcher has instead elected to become a free agent. The right-hander was designated for assignment to make room for right-handed reliever Jairo Asencio on the 40-man roster after the former Norfolk closer was promoted to the active roster.

In two appearances with Baltimore this year, Jurrjens made one start and one relief appearance, posting a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings of work. He had an up-and-down season with Norfolk, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 16 starts.

“At his young age, I still wouldn’t close the door,” said Showalter, who initially expressed hope that Jurrjens would remain with Norfolk despite a crowded starting rotation that now includes Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman. “I think Jair still has a chance to pitch competitively up here. He’s shown periods down there. It’s just been inconsistent.”

With his fastball only in the mid-to-high 80s, Jurrjens’ velocity never improved to the level at which he had so much success in Atlanta. His 2011 All-Star selection must feel like a distant memory for a pitcher who passed through waivers after he was designated for assignment by the club on July 12. Of course, injuries and declining velocity can spell disaster for any pitcher in a very short period of time.

Ironically, it was just two winters ago that the Orioles engaged in trade talks with the Atlanta Braves that involved current center fielder Adam Jones, with Jurrjens often being mentioned as a prominent name in a potential deal. Now, Jones is in the midst of his third All-Star season and Jurrjens is looking for work after going unclaimed by the other 29 major league teams.

The Orioles and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette couldn’t have dodged a bigger bullet.

Schoop thriving in rehab stint

Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop is nearing his return to Triple-A Norfolk after hitting his second home run in six games for the Gulf Coast League Orioles. The 21-year-old Schoop is 7-for-18 with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs, and four walks on his rehab assignment.

Schoop hasn’t played a game for the Tides since being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back in late May. Norfolk began its second-half action Thursday night in Charlotte.

While Schoop’s chances for a promotion to Baltimore during the 2013 season were diminished greatly due to the injury, it will be interesting to see whether a strong rest of the season would put him in line for an opportunity to win the starting second baseman job to begin the 2014 season.

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Orioles receive consent to option Japanese lefty Wada to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 14 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — What had the potential to be a significant problem with Orioles left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada’s minor-league rehab assignment coming to an end wound up having a simple solution.

Despite owning a clause in his two-year, $8.15 million contract that said the Orioles could not option him to the minor leagues without his consent, Wada accepted a minor-league assignment as he was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday. He has yet to throw a pitch in the major leagues after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of last year.

Wada progressed well in the spring, but the 32-year-old struggled mightily in his minor-league rehab assignment with Norfolk, making it apparent he was not ready to pitch at the next level. In six rehab starts for the Tides, Wada was 1-4 with an 8.14 earned run average in 24 1/3 innings.

His major-league salary is guaranteed, meaning there are no financial ramifications for the Japanese lefty to remain with the Tides. His contract expires at the end of this season and it would not be beneficial for either Wada or the Orioles to have him join the 25-man roster when he has proven unable to be effective in Triple A to this point..

Had Wada not provided his consent, the Orioles would have been hard pressed to find a roster spot for him as only two relievers in their normal bullpen — Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day — have minor-league options and he certainly hadn’t earned any consideration to join the starting rotation.

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Infield prospect Schoop sidelined with stress fracture in back

Posted on 22 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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A day on which most discussion centered around the promotion of top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman, the Orioles received some discouraging news about their top positional prospect as infielder Jonathan Schoop will be sidelined indefinitely with a back injury.

Sidelined since May 12, Schoop is dealing with a stress fracture in his lower back, according to executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. The 21-year-old could be sidelined six to eight weeks and will seek a second opinion.

Promoted to Triple-A Norfolk this season, the organization’s 2011 minor league player of the year was hitting .268 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 34 games despite a slow start with the Tides. Schoop has the ability to play three infield positions and was splitting time between shortstop and second base.

With the Orioles struggling to receive any offensive production from the second base spot this season, many speculated that Schoop could have received a summer promotion similar to the way Manny Machado provided a boost to the club in last August last season. Instead, the organization will simply focus on getting the Curacao native healthy before he returns to the Norfolk lineup.

Since optioning the struggling Ryan Flaherty to Norfolk last weekend, the Orioles have used a platoon of Yamaico Navarro and Alexi Casilla at second base. Through the first 45 games of the season, Baltimore second basemen were hitting .200 with two homers, seven RBIs, and a .561 on-base plus slugging percentage.

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Burnett, Navarro summoned to take Orioles’ roster spots

Posted on 14 May 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have placed left-handed Wei-Yin Chen on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 13, with a right oblique strain. The club has also recalled right-handed pitcher Alex Burnett and infielder Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Norfolk.

Chen was injured during his Sunday start at Minnesota in which he picked up his third win of the year with five scoreless innings. Chen is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA (47.1IP,16ER) in eight starts for the Orioles. Chen led the Orioles with 32 starts in 2012.

Burnett, 25, joins the Orioles for the third time this year (also April 22-24 and May 9-10). He appeared in one game, allowing one hit and striking out one in a scoreless inning May 9 against Kansas City. In seven games with Triple-A Norfolk, Burnett was 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA (9.2IP, 2ER) and eight strikeouts.

Navarro, 25, returns for a second stint with the Orioles as he was with the club April 5-6 but did not see game action. In 34 games with Norfolk, Navarro was batting .303 (37-122) with two homers and 13 RBI. He scored 28 runs in those 34 games and posted a .395 on-base percentage for the Tides.

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Orioles’ final spring training cut Jackson elects to retire

Posted on 14 April 2013 by Luke Jones

After being the final cut of spring training when the Orioles selected their 25-man roster to begin the 2013 season, outfielder Conor Jackson has chosen to retire after just nine games with Triple-A Norfolk.

Jackson was a safe bet to join the Orioles at some point this season based on the fluidity of last year’s roster and the early struggles of outfielder Steve Pearce, but the 30-year-old retired after a 5-for-25 start with the Tides. In 22 Grapefruit League games, Jackson hit three home runs and drove in six runs as he was strongly considered for a roster spot before manager Buck Showalter chose Steve Pearce for the final bench spot.

Showalter told reporters prior to the Orioles’ series finale in the Bronx that Jackson was simply at a stage in his life where he no longer wanted to continue playing. However, the manager said he respected Jackson’s decision and wished him well.

His career nearly ended in 2009 when he was diagnosed with Valley fever, a serious disease most common in the southwest that can cause fever, headaches, and joint and muscle pain. The condition limited him to just 30 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks that season after he was a .300 hitter in 144 games in 2008.

After two ineffective seasons in which he split time with Oakland and Boston, Jackson spent the entire 2012 season with Triple-A Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox system and performed well enough to earn the spring invitation to Sarasota with the Orioles earlier this year.

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Britton primed for Tuesday call-up after strong Norfolk start

Posted on 12 July 2012 by Luke Jones

Opportunity has been ringing like an alarm clock pitcher Zach Britton has slept through for the better part of the last five weeks.

With three-fifths of the Opening Day rotation now working in Triple-A Norfolk and the Orioles needing a starter on Tuesday in Minnesota, it appears the left-hander is finally ready to answer the bell after struggling with consistency upon being activated from the disabled list.

Britton pitched seven shutout innings for Triple-A Norfolk against Lehigh Valley on Thursday, putting himself in position to be recalled for the first time this season. The southpaw allowed four hits, struck out six, and walked none over his 93 pitches of work in the 7-0 victory for the Tides. He also induced 10 groundball outs compared to three fly outs and reportedly showed excellent fastball command in the lower half of the strike zone.

The stellar outing improved Britton’s record to 4-1 and lowered his earned run average to 4.15. Over his last five starts, the 24-year-old has allowed 10 earned runs and 24 hits in 32 innings while striking out 23 and walking 12.

The organization has wanted to see Britton improve his command while continuing to build strength in his pitching shoulder. Now, it appears he’s on the verge of regaining his spot in the Baltimore starting rotation.

Britton would also be working on regular rest Tuesday when the Orioles play the second game of a four-game set against the Twins.

Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, and Chris Tillman will be the starters against the Detroit Tigers this weekend while Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to take the ball in the series opener in Minnesota on Monday night.

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Moyer granted release from Triple-A Norfolk by Orioles

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Moyer granted release from Triple-A Norfolk by Orioles

Posted on 23 June 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Earlier this month, it looked like 49-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer would pitch for the Orioles for the first time in 17 years.

Instead, the experiment ended at Triple-A Norfolk after the left-hander asked for and was granted his release on Saturday. The Orioles were hoping Moyer would agree to remain in Triple A a little longer, especially since the club doesn’t need a fifth starter again until next Saturday.

Moyer went 1-1 with a 1.69 earned run average over three starts that covered 16 innings. He struck out 16 without walking a single batter over the three outings.

“He pitched pretty well down there in a short look, and we’re very appreciative of him for giving us that opportunity to look,” Showalter said. “I don’t think anybody would be surprised if he didn’t pitch effectively for somebody.”

With Chris Tillman pitching effectively and Zach Britton pitching better in his most recent outing, Moyer was viewed as a lesser option to help the Orioles. Showalter appreciated Moyer’s work and wanted to offer him the professional respect and courtesy he deserved after agreeing to what was essentially a three-start tryout in which the organization would evaluate him.

In 10 starts made for the Colorado Rockies earlier this season, Moyer was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA and allowed 11 home runs. He was released on June 4 before being signed to a minor-league deal two days later by Baltimore.

As for other veterans in the Orioles’ minor league system, left-handed reliever J.C. Romero also has an opt-out clause and the organization will have to make a decision by the All-Star Break. Though currently away from Triple-A Norfolk to deal with a personal matter, the 36-year-old Romero has pitched 10 1/3 scoreless innings over 13 appearances for the Tides.

Veteran third baseman Miguel Tejada does not have an opt-out clause, however, and is hitting .248 with no home runs and 17 runs batted in over 121 at-bats for Norfolk. The 38-year-old infielder has just two extra-base hits, both of them doubles.

Left-handed starter Dontrelle Willis was also activated by Norfolk on Saturday and will presumably assume Moyer’s spot in the starting rotation.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Buck Showalter about Moyer’s release and other items prior to the second of a three-game series against the Nationals.

 

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

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Britton struggles again in Norfolk loss

Posted on 10 June 2012 by WNST Staff

The Bisons came out with the mentality of making up for their shutout loss Saturday night.

The result Sunday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field was a 4-2 win over the Tides.

The Herd struck first in the bottom of the third.

Bottom half for the Bisons began on back-to-back singles by Sean Kazmar and Corey Wimberly. After that, Brad Emaus hit a bunt to Tides starter Zach Britton to sacrifice Kazmar and Wimberly to second and third with one out.

Fred Lewis delivered with a fly ball single to right to knock in Kazmar and Wimberly and in the process make it a 2-0 Bisons lead.

“Definitely good to see some offense today,” Manager Wally Backman said. “We’ve been missing key opportunities lately so it’s good to get some runs today.”

The Tides although would answer back in the top of the fourth.

After a double by Lew Ford, former major leaguer Miguel Tejada brought in Ford with an RBI single and cut the Bisons lead to 2-1.

In the top of the fifth, Tides tacked on another run to tie the game at 2, courtesy of Bill Hall’s solo shot.

However, the tie ball-game wouldn’t last long. The bottom of the fifth began with a single by Oswaldo Navarro, Kazmar hit a sacrifice bunt to move Navarro to second.

Wimberly followed with a run-scoring double to left to make it 3-2 Bisons.

The Herd tacked on another run in the sixth, this time a solo home run by Rob Johnson.

In relief of Dylan Owen, the Bisons bullpen combined to four and a third innings, allowing two hits and striking out five.

“Our bullpen has been phenomenal lately, especially (Fernando) Cabrera,” Backman added. “He’s built to be a closer so see him deliver the way he is great.”

BISONS NOTES: Fernando Cabrera recorded his 14th save of the season. He is a perfect 14-for-14 in save opportunities…Fred Lewis is four plate appearances short for qualifying for the sixth-highest average (.305) in the IL…Dylan Owen is the third straight starter to last 4.2 innings Sunday afternoon in an outing, with Harvey and Mejia the other two starters.

 

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Moyer throws five shutout innings in Norfolk debut

Posted on 10 June 2012 by WNST Staff

Jamie Moyer and Brad Bergesen combined on a two-hit shutout as the Tides blanked the Buffalo Bisons 5-0 Saturday evening.

Moyer (1-0) was brilliant in his Tides’ debut, as he yielded one single while striking out five in five innings of work. The 49-year-old, who was signed by Baltimore as a free agent earlier this week, did not walk a batter while throwing 52 of his 84 pitches for strikes.

Bergesen tossed the final four innings of the contest to register his first career save. He struck out one and walked one, and he’s now 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his last six outings – five of which have been starts.

Norfolk scored all of its runs in the fifth inning, as the Tides sent eight men to the plate against Jenrry Mejia (0-1). The big hit of the inning was a three-run homer by Lew Ford, his fourth home run of the season.

Brian Roberts and Bill Hall each had two hits apiece for Norfolk.

The two clubs will square off again Sunday afternoon, with first pitch slated for 1:05. Left-hander Zach Britton (1-0, 6.00) will take the mound for Norfolk against right-hander Dylan Owen (3-3, 5.32).

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