Tag Archive | "Zach Britton"

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Matusz falters, Johnson recalled – Who do the Orioles call up next?

Posted on 02 July 2012 by hopebirchfield

After the abysmal performance of starter Brian Matusz in Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Indians, he was optioned to Norfolk immediately following the game. In only four innings, Matusz gave up 7 hits on 5 runs (4 earned) and walked four. With the loss, Brian Matusz was awarded his tenth loss of season and fifth loss in a row. It was announced that Steve Johnson would be recalled from Norfolk to join the Orioles bullpen on the road in Seattle. In his last four outings cumulatively totaling 12.1 innings, Johnson has given up only five hits on no runs and has fanned 20. The Orioles are obviously looking to add a long-lasting reliever with the hesitant performances of the starting rotation as of late. Within the next week however, the Orioles will likely need to recall a starting pitcher. Who are the best two options to call up from the Norfolk Tides? Zach Britton and Chris Tillman (Read on before you send hate mail).

Zach “Sinker” Britton

Zach was the starting pitcher on Sunday evening as the Tides looked to best the Syracuse Chiefs. Watching him come out of the gate strong retiring the side in the first (including striking out two), you can not help but wonder whether Britton had heard of the upcoming rotation spot. In five innings, Britton yielded one earned run and struck out seven. There were times when his control and command were not at its best and times when he visibly struggled. All in all, it was not his best performance but it certainly was not his worst performance either. He exited the game losing so even though the Tides won, he did not register a decision.

In the last four games, Britton’s ERA is 4.80 and he has struck out 13 in 21 innings of work. Britton primarily relies on his sinker with velocities in the low to mid 90s, much to the chagrin of the opposing offense. His arsenal also includes an above-average slider and a below-average (but improved) changeup. Typically, Britton throws his sinker as he often has trouble commanding his changeup. With a sinker with such high velocity, when Britton is on his game, he is almost un-hittable. While pitching with the Baltimore Orioles last year; he split the season with eleven wins and eleven losses. His final ERA was 4.61 on the year and he recorded 97 strikeouts. Due to an impingement of his left shoulder, Britton was added to the disabled list in March and has been rehabbing with the Norfolk Tides since June 6th.

It is obvious that eventually Zach Britton will go back to the Baltimore Orioles but when is the more pertinent question. While he still is throwing well, his ERA is similar to the one that yielded a split 11-11 decision with the Orioles. In the most recent game against the Chiefs, Britton commanded the ball extremely well but he is still finding his rhythm. A few more starts at the Norfolk Tides could make him an even better addition for when down the stretch.

Why not Chris Tillman?

Before the collective sighs from Orioles fans who remember his 5.60 ERA, 7-15 record in the 2009 through 2011 season, let me just say that in his last four outings (21-plus innings), he recorded 27 strikeouts. No, that’s not a typo – He has fanned 27 people in 21 innings. Chris Tillman is a different player this year. Farm teams were created to develop player mechanics and before you discount him just because he’s Chris Tillman, his mechanics have greatly improved and made him an elite competitor.

In his recent performances, Tillman has won his last four decisions with a 2.57 ERA, including one shutout performance in Toledo. His fastball has picked up some stream and reaches 94-95 mph pretty consistently. He also has an above-average curveball and an average cutter. In the past, Orioles fans have seen Tillman struggle with commanding the ball, often flustered with runners on base and seeming to quickly unravel with base runners. This year, however, the Chris Tillman that takes the mound is more disciplined with better control. Often Tillman is overlooked because of his performances at the big club but he clearly lives by the mantra – “Practice makes perfect.” Surely his command and control have improved, as can be seen with his ERA dropping and shutout appearances. Like most pitchers, there are times when he still struggles, but unfortunately that can be said about the majority of pitchers currently on the Orioles. There is a reason why farm teams exist and Tillman may be the poster child for their success in developing mechanics of young players. At 24, Tillman may be one of the future pitchers in this organization if he continues to pitch as he has been in his recent outings. If the Orioles actually take the proverbial leap of faith and recall him, Tillman may surprise a lot of people. The numbers in his recent three seasons with the Orioles are not a good indication of his skill level or his recent development. Perhaps this is the case when it’s the 4th time that is a charm.

Final Thoughts

Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen cannot be the only reliable pitchers in the starting rotation. With the recent departure of Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz, Showalter has made it clear that sub par performances will only be tolerated for so long. Personally, I would like to see both Britton and Tillman at the big league level later this season. They both are dominating pitchers who can throw the ball well with good movement. Who knows? With Tillman being a righty and Britton being a lefty, perhaps they can create a duo that we can deem “Hammel and Chen, Version 2.0.”

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Orioles faced with interesting roster decision in last stretch before All-Star break

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Orioles faced with interesting roster decision in last stretch before All-Star break

Posted on 26 June 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Fresh from a day off before a stretch of 13 games in 13 days that will lead them into the All-Star break, the Orioles will be faced with interesting roster decisions to conclude the first half.

Reliever Matt Lindstrom is back in Baltimore and is expected to be activated prior to Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. On the 15-day disabled list since May 11 with a partially torn ligament in his middle finger, Lindstrom will be examined by team doctors and hopes to pick up where he left off after allowing only two earned runs in his first 13 appearances (14 innings) this season.

However, who he replaces on the 25-man roster remains up in the air with left-hander Dana Eveland returning to the team on Tuesday night. The Orioles planned to place Eveland on the paternity leave list to buy some time on a roster decision, but the long reliever is back sooner than expected.

Further complicating the decision is the Orioles’ need for a fifth starter on Saturday, with Tommy Hunter the most likely candidate to receive the ball in the third of a four-game set against the Cleveland Indians. With Eveland not available against the Angels on Tuesday, Hunter was available to pitch in the bullpen.

If Hunter is need in the bullpen, Saturday’s starter would likely come from Triple-A Norfolk. Miguel Gonzalez is slated to pitch Saturday for the Tides and left-hander Zach Britton made the start for Norfolk on Tuesday night.

Aside from electing to go without a long man in the bullpen, the only other relief pitcher you would even consider shipping out would be former closer Kevin Gregg, but his status is well documented with a $5.8 million salary owed to him in 2012. With the trade deadline just over a month away, the Orioles would like to see if they can move Gregg — understanding they’d likely have to pay some of his salary — and at least get something modest in return.

The most realistic option might be to go with a shorter bench with the club not having another day off until the All-Star break. Infielder Steve Tolleson would be the most likely player to be optioned in that scenario. However, the Orioles will travel to the West Coast next week, making it more difficult to summon someone from the minor leagues in the event of an injury to a position player.

Markakis not swinging yet

Right fielder Nick Markakis had hoped to begin swinging a bat on Monday, but he’ll have to continue waiting impatiently.

The surgical incision on his right hand hasn’t closed completely, and the club wants it to be fully healed before he begins taking swings. Manager Buck Showalter hopes Markakis can begin doing so Friday, meaning his chances of returning before the All-Star break are growing dimmer.

“It’s frustrating, but that’s the time the body needs to heal up,” Markakis said. “You can’t rush it. It’s just a matter of healing up and getting this incision closed up all the way. It’s close, a couple more days — we’ll see.”

Though Markakis and Showalter both expressed hope that the outfielder would be able to return by the final series of the first half in Anaheim, he will need to go on a minor league rehab assignment. With the 28-year-old not beginning to swing until Friday at the earliest, a return before the start of the second half seems very ambitious.

Markakis would begin with dry swings before progressing to tee work and live batting practice. He would then likely play in at least a couple minor league games before rejoining the 25-man roster.

“It’s going to be close on the All-Star break,” Showalter said. “I don’t see us getting him back before the Anaheim series at their place.”

Injury updates

Outfielder Endy Chavez is making little progress on the hamstring injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list on June 14. He is currently rehabbing in Sarasota.

A forgotten man after dealing with a back injury since spring training, catcher Taylor Teagarden is ready to go on a rehab assignment. He will begin playing with the Gulf Coast League team and could be activated shortly after the All-Star break if all goes well.

Showalter said outfielder Nolan Reimold had already regained strength in his arm and hand just a few hours after Monday’s neck surgery. He also revealed the herniated disc may have stemmed from an April game in Chicago in which Reimold dove into the stands after a foul ball.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Nick Markakis and Buck Showalter.

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Some free advice for Britton, Newsome, Davis, more

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Some free advice for Britton, Newsome, Davis, more

Posted on 14 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

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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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Orioles sign 49-year-old Moyer to minor-league deal, option Britton to Norfolk

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Orioles sign 49-year-old Moyer to minor-league deal, option Britton to Norfolk

Posted on 06 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy was born just under a month before the Orioles signed 30-year-old free agent lefty Jamie Moyer in December 1992.

They’ll now be part of the same minor league system after Baltimore signed the 49-year-old Moyer to a minor-league deal on Wednesday. Moyer was released by the Colorado Rockies on June 4 after making 10 starts, going 2-5 with a 5.70 earned run average over 53 2/3 innings. He did not pitch in 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Moyer will report to Triple-A Norfolk and is scheduled to pitch for the Tides in Buffalo on Saturday. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Boston the club plans to evaluate the geriatric pitcher over a few starts before making a decision on his status with the Orioles.

He is 269-209 with a 4.25 ERA in his astonishing career, playing for eight different teams including the Orioles.

The southpaw last pitched for Baltimore from 1993 through 1995, going 25-22 with a 4.41 ERA in 66 starts (75 games overall).

Though the Orioles are desperately looking for pitching depth, it’s difficult to fathom Moyer faring well in the American League with his fastball not even reaching 80 miles per hour in his 25th big league season. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting story tracking how he fares over the next couple weeks.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Orioles activated left-handed pitcher Zach Britton from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. To make room for Britton on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Stu Pomeranz (strained oblique) was placed on the 60-day DL.

Britton made three combined rehab starts for Bowie and Norfolk, going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA while striking out 13 and walking five over 18 innings pitched.

The decision to option Britton means he cannot be called up to the big leagues for at least 10 days unless replacing a player going on the disabled list.

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With Roberts’ potential return looming, Orioles still seek leadoff solution

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With Roberts’ potential return looming, Orioles still seek leadoff solution

Posted on 29 May 2012 by Luke Jones

After being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Tuesday’s game in Toronto, 22-year-old outfielder Xavier Avery became the latest in a long list of candidates to fall short in stabilizing the Orioles’ leadoff spot over the last two seasons.

Since second baseman Brian Roberts exited a game with concussion-related symptoms on May 16, 2011, the Orioles have been without a bona fide hitter at the top of the order despite trying a number of candidates in the role.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy had a higher degree of success than others last season, but his .295 on-base percentage while batting in the leadoff spot — to go along with a career .320 on-base percentage — didn’t exactly scream top-of-the-order hitter. In fact, Hardy’s power numbers (40 home runs in 176 games with the Orioles) suggest a player better suited to hit in the middle of the order than at the top.

This season, left fielder Nolan Reimold appeared to be an intriguing — but unconventional — choice with his career .338 on-base percentage, but a herniated disc in his neck has sidelined him after a fast start. In his absence, the combination of Endy Chavez, Robert Andino, Ryan Flaherty, and Avery has not been able to produce and set the table for the middle of the order.

Avery shows promise for the future, but his extended audition exposed the need for him to improve against off-speed pitches and develop further at Norfolk before he’s ready to assume the leadoff role on a permanent basis.

In 2011, the No. 1 spot in the order accounted for a .240 batting average and a .290 on-base percentage, the worst figures of any spot in the batting order. The numbers have been even worse this season as the top spot in the order has produced an anemic .213 average to go along with a .258 on-base percentage.

While many place too much emphasis on the batting order, the leadoff spot is expected to be occupied by a player with a strong ability to get on base and speed — a combination that has eluded the Orioles.

So, who might manager Buck Showalter turn to?

Ironically, it might be the man the Orioles have been trying to replace for over a year.

Five games into his minor league rehabilitation assignment, Roberts has yet to experience any setbacks while collecting two hits and two walks in 12 plate appearances at Double-A Bowie. Even if his rehab stint goes off without a hitch, it would be ambitious to expect Roberts to return to the form of a career .353 on-base hitter, but the 34-year-old infielder would easily become the most viable option in the top spot if he’s even remotely close to the player he was prior to the injury.

The debate will continue over how Showalter should handle Roberts’ workload and what it means for current second baseman Robert Andino, but the Orioles desperately need more production from the leadoff spot.

And with Roberts’ return looking more realistic every day, he would be as close to the ideal candidate as the Orioles have had since his exit over a year ago.

Starting pitching woes

The news of veteran pitcher Roy Oswalt signing a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers stole some of the thunder of this topic, but it’s become clear the Orioles need better starting pitching if they hope to maintain anything close to the 29-20 pace that’s put them in first place for much of the first two months of the season.

The current 4.31 earned run average from the starting rotation is just above the league average of 4.30, but that number becomes more concerning when you consider starters pitched to a 3.63 ERA in April but have posted a 4.94 mark so far in May.

Left-hander Zach Britton is expected to take the place of the struggling Tommy Hunter, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday with his ERA ballooning to 5.59 after another poor start in Toronto on Monday. However, the in-house options are few and far between after that, making the idea of Oswalt so appealing before he decided to sign with the defending American League champions.

The Orioles have few pieces in their system to warrant anything better than what they already have in making a trade, meaning they will likely have no choice but to depend on the continued success of Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen and hope for more consistency from Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz to prevent too much wear and tear on the bullpen.

While the health of Britton’s left shoulder remains the priority over any short-term results, the Orioles can only hope the 24-year-old more closely resembles the pitcher who was 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in his first 10 starts last season than the one posting a 6.25 mark over his final 18 starts, which included a demotion and a trip to the disabled list with that sore shoulder.

With two days off during the current nine-game road trip, the Orioles will not need a fifth starter again until June 9. Barring any setbacks, Britton should be ready to join the starting rotation by that point in time.

Given Oswalt’s preference to play for a winner, Baltimore was an extreme long-shot, but his veteran presence for one season — without a long-term financial commitment — would have brought some much-needed stability and a veteran presence to the rotation.

Carrying Flaherty becoming burdensome?

Showalter has said how impressed he is with Rule 5 selection Ryan Flaherty on several occasions this season, but you have to wonder if the 25-year-old is becoming too great a burden on the 25-man roster for a first-place team.

Injuries provided the utility player more playing time in the early stages of May, but his .143 batting average (7-for-49) has led to less playing time over the last two weeks. Since going 0-for-4 in Kansas City on May 17, Flaherty has received only one start and four plate appearances while being relegated to the bench.

The idea of a Rule 5 player on a team projected to be in last place sounds like an acceptable situation, but carrying a player like Flaherty when you’re trying to win is a dicey proposition, especially when the Orioles have elected to go with a three-man bench and 13 pitchers at times when the bullpen has been overworked.

In addition to Flaherty, infielder Steve Tolleson doesn’t have a strong hold on his roster spot, so it will be interesting to see what executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette decides to do if and when Roberts is ready to be activated on June 12. Regardless of whether Roberts takes Andino’s starting job or not, his addition will take away another roster spot and make you wonder if the Orioles can keep Flaherty around much longer if he isn’t going to produce.

 

 

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Signing Jones tremendous step, but time will tell if it signals real change for Orioles

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Signing Jones tremendous step, but time will tell if it signals real change for Orioles

Posted on 27 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Sunday was a tremendous day for the Orioles and their fans with the announcement of center fielder Adam Jones signing a six-year contract to remain in Baltimore through the 2018 season.

There’s plenty to smile about these days at Camden Yards with the club sitting in first place and off to its best start since 2005. Jones is off to the hottest start of his seven-year career in the big leagues after hitting 14 home runs in the first 48 games of the season.

It was that blistering production that pushed the Orioles’ hand in accelerating contract talks and presenting an $85.5 million contract to the 26-year-old center fielder, even though executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had repeatedly stated his preference not to negotiate contracts during the season.

“The dude rang the cash register every time he hit a home run,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. “Adam really forced the issue, didn’t he? We’re glad to have him for a long time.”

The deal not only makes Jones the second-highest-paid current center fielder in baseball — behind the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp — but it includes a no-trade clause, signifying an even bigger commitment by the Orioles to keep him in Baltimore.

Though he was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the Erik Bedard trade prior to the 2008 season, Jones feels much like a homegrown player and identifies with Baltimore as his city after playing here for over four years.

“I really don’t see myself wearing another white uniform that doesn’t have Orioles across the chest,” Jones said. “After I put that in perspective, if I won here — if we win here — this is my championship. This is our championship. I’m not part of someone else’s championship [by signing elsewhere].”

Jones has expressed a strong desire to win over the last couple seasons, speaking with more volume and conviction than any of his teammates. There’s little disputing the Orioles’ 29-18 start had a major effect on both sides to get a deal done.

If you would flip the win and loss totals, we’d likely be talking about the Orioles trading Jones by the deadline instead of reacting to a long-term extension and wondering whether Duquette and the Orioles will be buyers in late July.

It’s amazing what two great months of baseball can do for an organization.

Nonetheless, the decision to keep Jones is an encouraging one for the fan base and should signal the Orioles are in win-now mode — not just in 2012, but in the next couple seasons. Locking up your best trade chip doesn’t make much sense if you still consider yourself years away from contention.

“We are telling Oriole fans we are committed to this player,” Duquette said. “We are committed to putting a winning team on the field and we’re committing to providing hope to rebuilding our fan base.”

Where do the Orioles go from here?

In terms of addressing contracts for players already in the organization, the club will likely shift its attention to All-Star catcher Matt Wieters over the next year to 18 months. Though he doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season, the backstop will be a difficult signing since he’s represented by super agent Scott Boras.

Whether you’re buying into the Orioles’ first two months in 2012 or not, it’s difficult envisioning the club having a great chance to make the postseason consistently over the next few years without adding more talent from outside the organization. However, a limited number of prospects in the farm system makes the reality of a trade a difficult — and unwise — one.

Does the steep financial commitment to Jones mean the Orioles will show more aggression in adding prime free-agent talent should it become available in the off-season?

“I don’t think the way to build a team is through free agency,” Duquette said. “I think the way to build a team is through an organizational approach where you sign and develop good players and then you keep the best players on your team, like we’re doing today.”

This answer was nothing new from Duquette, who has repeatedly echoed the sentiment since taking the Baltimore job last fall. However, it’s not the answer most fans want to hear, and it does make you wonder if the Orioles suddenly think they’re good enough to win solely with what they already have.

With no disrespect meant to Jones, who has clearly been the club’s best player this season and one of the best since his time in Baltimore, the Orioles’ decision to keep him in Baltimore doesn’t suddenly make them any better. It guarantees he’ll remain for the next six years, but it doesn’t push them closer to winning than where they already stood.

“It’s to be continued,” said manager Buck Showalter in describing the push to field a championship team. “I think everyone here is driven to put something together that stands the test of time.”

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Britton allows 3H, 2BB over 5IP for Bowie in rehab start

Posted on 27 May 2012 by WNST Staff

BOWIE, Md. – With three Baltimore Orioles players in the line-up, the Baysox (20-28) rolled past Altoona (22-25) 9-6 Saturday night to end a four game losing streak against the Curve.

The Baysox offense scored their nine runs on just eight hits, but were able to take advantage of seven walks to get the offense going. In the team’s four run second inning, the offense recorded just two hits, but also drew four walks to get more runners on base.

“We took advantage of some walks to give us a lead,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “We also had one inning where we came through with a base hit and then we got a two-run home run. I thought we ran the bases well and we took advantage of some stolen bases – we will take runs any way they come.”

Baltimore Orioles left-handed starting pitcher Zach Britton made his season debut for the Baysox Saturday evening, pitching five innings and allowing two unearned runs on three hits while striking out six and walking two in the win.

“I think tonight was a successful start,” said Zach. “I got my pitch count up and I definitely threw a lot more breaking balls than I normally would, but I just wanted to get the feel for that. Towards the end I got a little tired, but overall I though it was pretty good.”

Baysox right fielder Buck Britton, the older brother of pitcher Zach Britton, had a strong game in support of his brother Saturday. He went 2-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. This is the third season in a row that the two brothers have had some limited opportunities to play with each other.

“At that time in the game, I felt like we needed a big hit, the count went to 3-2 and I got a fastball over the plate and I put a good swing on it,” Buck said, “Last year every time [Zach] pitched I would hit a home run too. I don’t know what it is – I guess sometimes the Britton’s just get going.”

The Baysox also had two other Orioles players making Major League Rehab Appearances with the Baysox Saturday – third baseman Mark Reynolds and left fielder Endy Chavez. Reynolds finished the game 1-4 with a walk, two strikeouts and a fielding error. Chavez was 1-5 with two runs scored.

For the sixth time this homestand, the Baysox opponent scored first. Saturday night, Altoona struck first with two runs in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Miles Durham drew a walk and then moved to second base when Quincy Latimore reached on a fielding error by Reynolds. Elevys Gonzalez then singled to left field to score Durham and move Latimore to third when he scored on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0.

The Baysox jumped back into the lead in the bottom of the second inning against Altoona starter Nathan Baker. With one out, shortstop Manny Machado was hit by a pitch and catcher Caleb Joseph followed by drawing a walk. Buck singled to right field to load the bases and designated hitter Josh Barfield hit an infield single to score the first run. Chavez grounded into a force out and second baseman Jonathan Schoop followed by drawing a walk to score another run. With Reynolds batting, Baker threw a wild pitch that advanced all the runners and plated Barfield. Reynolds then drew a walk to load the bases and Baker was called for a balk with center fielder LJ Hoes batting to plate Chavez and give the Baysox a 4-2 lead.

Bowie extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning against Altoona reliever Kyle Cofield. Hoes drew a lead off walk and scored from first base on a double to center field by first baseman Robbie Widlansky. With two outs, Buck homered to center field to give the Baysox a 7-2 lead. Jeff Inman replaced Cofield on the mound to finish the inning.

The Curve got back in the game in the top of the sixth inning against left-handed pitcher Jake Pettit. Matt Curry hit a one out single to left field and Durham drew a two out walk. Latimore then hit a three-run home run to left-center field that made the score 7-5.

The Baysox again extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hoes drew a two out walk and stole second base with Widlansky batting. Widlansky then singled to center field to plate Hoes and extend the Baysox lead to 8-5.

Bowie added another insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning against Altoona reliever Vic Black. Chavez hit a lead off single to second base and scored on a Mark Reynolds double to right field after a throwing error by the right fielder to make the score 9-5.

Altoona mounted a last rally in the top of the ninth inning against right-handed reliever Kyler Newby. Elevys Gonzalez hit a one out double, but was then thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple. Robbie Grossman then hit a two out single to center field and scored when Brock Holt doubled to left field to make the score 9-6. Right-handed reliever Greg Burke entered to finish the ninth inning and record the save.

Pettit pitched two innings and allowed three runs on three hits while striking out two batters and walking one. Newby pitched one and two-thirds innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out four batters.

Baker earned the loss for the Curve, pitching three innings and allowed four runs on three hits while striking out three batters and walking five.

RHP Bobby Bundy (2-7, 5.26) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they play the third game in a four game home series against the Altoona Curve.

The Baysox are home through Monday, May 28 for an eight game home stand. Baltimore Orioles players Brian Roberts, Mark Reynolds and Endy Chavez will be making Major League Rehab Appearances with the Baysox over the weekend.

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