Tag Archive | "Cesar Izturis"

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Twelve Orioles thoughts entering 2019 spring training

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Luke Jones

With Orioles pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Sarasota for the start of spring training on Tuesday, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. What would mark an acceptable — relatively and realistically speaking — major league season? I think Mike Elias would gladly take Cedric Mullins and a couple others looking like legitimate pieces for the future and a few veterans performing well enough to be traded. Avoiding 100 losses wouldn’t hurt.

2. Describing an $800,000 contract as even a “low-risk” signing sounds silly, but I liked the addition of Nate Karns to see if his arm injuries are finally behind him. His 9.3 career strikeouts per nine innings and above-average curveball fit nicely with what Elias and Sig Mejdal valued in Houston.

3. I’ll be curious to see which Baltimore pitchers start throwing their breaking pitches more frequently. The talent level is different, but veterans like Justin Verlander, Charlie Morton, and Gerrit Cole featured their breaking stuff more prominently upon joining the Astros. Spin rate is huge in Houston.

4. We’ve now heard Chris Davis talk about making adjustments to bounce back in three consecutive winters. Perhaps the new brain trust will find some magic fix to salvage some value from the remaining four years of his contract, but it’s all eyewash until April.

5. It could be now or never for Chance Sisco to show whether he’s a starting-caliber catcher or just a fringe backup type. The starting job is sitting there for the former second-round pick who will turn 24 later this month. Austin Wynns, 28, substantially outplaying him last year wasn’t encouraging.

6. After hitting well in limited duty last September, DJ Stewart will have his best chance this spring to prove he’s deserving of a starting corner outfield job, especially as Austin Hays needs to reestablish himself after an injury-plagued 2018 season.

7. If I had to predict the starting shortstop and third baseman, I’d pick Rule 5 pick Richie Martin and Renato Nunez. The latter played well late last year, but that’s easily the most depressing left side of the infield on paper since Cesar Izturis and a washed-up Miguel Tejada.

8. Martin and fellow Rule 5 pick Drew Jackson may not be up to the task at shortstop, but I’d prefer keeping Jonathan Villar at second base where he’s at his best defensively. Villar was worth seven defensive runs saved at second and minus-three in 18 starts at shortstop last season.

9. Coming off a 5.55 ERA last season, Mike Wright is now 29 and unlikely to stick on the roster simply because he’s out of options again, especially with the new regime. The same likely goes for the 28-year-old Donnie Hart, who posted a 5.59 ERA while struggling with control.

10. Dean Kremer is the non-roster invitee I’m most looking forward to monitoring. The 23-year-old led the minors in strikeouts last year and possesses a good curve that will appeal to the new front office. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching for the Orioles at some point this season.

11. This can be said about a number of unsigned veterans, but it’s difficult to believe Adam Jones hasn’t found a job as camps open this week. He may not be the player he was a few years ago, but he can still fill a meaningful role for a contender.

12. As much as I loved the Elias hire and have liked what I’ve seen from Brandon Hyde so far, where are the marketing efforts and ticket promotions for a team that has very little to sell from a competitive standpoint? There needs to be much greater urgency in this area.

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Live from Camden Yards: Buck speaks as O’s begin 10 game homestand

Posted on 05 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

BALTIMORE – The Orioles begin a 10 game homestand Friday night with the first three contests coming against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tommy Hunter, acquired from Texas in the Koji Uehara trade, will be making his first start as a member of the Orioles.

Prior to the game, Buck Showalter met with the media and shared many interesting tidbits.

On Cesar Izturis coming off the DL: “It’s been a long road for Izzy. I’m proud of him to get back. Happy to get him back, as much as a person as a player. He’s ready to go. We’ll move him around a little bit.”

On the J.J. Hardy injury front: “J.J.’s got an upper ankle that’s bothering him. In fact it feels pretty good today. It’s kind of strange because he’ll go through periods when he doesn’t feel it at all early on in the day, and then the game starts and it got a little worse last night as the game went on. He can’t tell any one play or anything he did where he felt it. It just got a little progressively worse. We kind of lose sight that the doctors have other patients as important as our guys. So Dr. Wilkins will be here shortly, and he’s had a full day here to look at J.J. I would imagine we’ll get an MRI done tomorrow morning.”

On Arrieta’s elbow concerns: “He has an appointment on the 10th (of August). He won’t be pitching between now and the 10th. A lot depends on what Dr. Yocum says.”

On Tillman getting an extended look in rotation. “I hope so. I hope so. I hope he pitches well enough to do that. If he could put together (a start) like the first couple innings that he had, that would be there. It’s there for him if he’ll seize the opportunity. Very much like Simon.”

On being surprised at Mark Connor’s decision to return to the Texas Rangers organization: “No. Not at all. He’s very well thought of over there, and that job description fits him very well where he is in his life. He’s very familiar with all the pitching people, and they with him. It didn’t surprise me at all. I know they had called Andy about it.”

On that note, here are tonight’s lineups:

Baltimore:

SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF: Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
3B: Mark Reynolds
C: Matt Wieters
1B: Chris Davis
LF: Nolan Reimold
2B: Cesar Izturis

SP: Tommy Hunter

TORONTO

SS: Yunel Escobar
LF: Eric Thames
RF: Jose Bautista
1B: Adam Lind
DH: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
2B: Aaron Hill
C: J.P. Arencibia
3B: Brett Lawrie

SP: Brad Mills

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Orioles’ concerns growing over Scott’s injured shoulder

Posted on 19 July 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Despite completing two rehab starts for Double-A Bowie, outfielder/designated hitter Luke Scott will not be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday as was previously hoped.

And judging from comments made by the left-handed slugger and manager Buck Showalter, surgery on Scott’s torn labrum in his right shoulder appears more and more likely. Despite nearly two weeks of rest in which he didn’t swing a bat or lift any weights, Scott did not appear to be encouraged with the health of his shoulder, claiming “it is what it is.” Scott told Showalter the shoulder is at 70 percent right now.

The tentative plan is for Scott to take a day or two to rest before potentially playing in a couple more minor league rehab games.

“It’s just been a challenge to deal with,” Scott said. “I took 13 days completely off, not doing anything, and it’s only just two days of rehab at-bats. I’m trying to build it up some more. … If I’m not 100-percent ready or if I’m not in a position where I’m really going to step in and help the team, I need to take the necessary means to get to that point.”

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Showalter said the decision for Scott to either undergo surgery or shut down the shoulder for a rehabilitation program will ultimately be up to the player. However, the Orioles manager also mentioned the timetable for recovery is getting tight for Scott to be ready for the start of next season if he elects to rehab the injury like Jason Berken did last season.

Whatever the route Scott ultimately chooses — surgery or a rehabilitation program — it’s appearing more likely that his playing days are numbered in 2011. With Scott making $6.4 million this season and facing arbitration (eligible for free agency following the 2012 season), the wise choice would be to take care of the injured shoulder sooner rather than later.

In other news, the Orioles have activated Alfredo Simon from the restricted list, and he is scheduled to make Friday’s start as previously hoped. Third baseman Josh Bell has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after a one-day stay in Baltimore, and Brian Roberts has been shifted to the 60-day disabled list to clear a 40-man roster spot for the returning Simon.

The Orioles also completed a minor-league trade, sending veteran infielder Nick Green and cash considerations to the Texas Rangers for left-handed relief pitcher Zach Phillips. Showalter received a favorable report from pitching coach Rick Adair and former pitching coach Mark Connor regarding the 24-year-old, who had a 4.43 earned run average in 33 appeances for Triple-A Round Rock.

Oft-injured minor league pitcher Chorye Spoone has been designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Phillips.

Infielder Cesar Izturis is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Friday as he moves closer to returning to the Orioles.

And everybody’s favorite starting pitcher, Justin Duchscherer, has received a recommendation from the doctor who performed his previous hip surgery to undergo another procedure.

To hear more from Showalter and Scott, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Orioles place Izturis on DL, recall Snyder from Norfolk

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — A little more than an hour before the start of a brief two-game series with the New York Yankees, the Orioles placed utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the 15-day disabled list due to a right elbow ulnar nerve injury.

The move is retroactive to May 13.

In Izturis’ place, first baseman Brandon Snyder has been summoned from Triple-A Norfolk. Snyder was hitting .276 with five home runs, 16 runs batted in, and a .798 OPS in 35 games for the Tides. He will wear No. 29 with the Orioles.

With the offseason acquisition of shortstop J.J. Hardy, Izturis was re-signed in the winter but relegated to a utility role after being the starting shortstop for two seasons in Baltimore. The 31-year-old is batting .192 with four runs scored in only 26 at-bats in 16 games this season.

First baseman Derrek Lee was out of Wednesday’s starting lineup with a strained left oblique, but the Orioles have chosen to wait to see how he responds to rest and treatment before placing him on the disabled list.

Second baseman Brian Roberts was also absent from the start of Wednesday’s game as he continues to deal with headaches dating back to Monday night’s game in Boston.

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Live from Camden Yards: Injuries shuffle lineup as Orioles host Yankees, Orange Crush chat at 7

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as rookie star Zach Britton and the Orioles begin a brief two-game set with the New York Yankees**

BALTIMORE — As if an 0-4 start in the season series against the New York Yankees wasn’t enough, the Orioles return home with a plethora of injury issues as they try to secure their first win against the Bronx Bombers at 7:05 p.m.

Leadoff hitter Brian Roberts and first baseman Derrek Lee are missing from tonight’s lineup as neither veteran escaped Boston without ailment. Roberts is suffering from headaches after diving into first base during Monday’s 8-7 collapse at Fenway Park in which the Orioles blew a 6-0 lead. Of course, Roberts dealt with headaches and concussion-related symptoms to close 2010 that failed to subside until the middle of the offseason.

Robert Andino will take his place at second base and hit ninth against Bartolo Colon and the Yankees.

Lee (oblique) may be placed on the 15-day disabled list, but manager Buck Showalter said before the game that the club may choose to wait a few days before making a decision. Luke Scott will slide from left field to first base, with Felix Pie taking his place in the outfield and hitting leadoff for the Orioles. Left-handed reliever Troy Patton is in Baltimore if and when Lee heads to the disabled list.

In a move anticipated before Tuesday’s postponed game against the Red Sox, the Orioles have officially placed utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow ulnar nerve injury. First baseman Brandon Snyder has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Izturis’ place on the 25-man roster.

In other news, pitcher Alfredo Simon is expected to be activated from the restricted list on Sunday and will likely pitch in a long relief role with the return of left-hander Brian Matusz right around the corner. Matusz is slated to make a second rehab start in Bowie on Saturday.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

New York
DH Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodgriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
LF Andruw Jones
SS Eduardo Nunez
C Francisco Cervelli

SP Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.74 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Felix Pie
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Vladimir Guerrero
1B Luke Scott
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Mark Reynolds
2B Robert Andino

SP Zach Britton (5-2, 2.42 ERA)

As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

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Orioles bats fall silent in series loss to Rangers

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles lineup started off with a bang against the Texas Rangers over the weekend, plating five runs in the first three innings of rookie Zach Britton’s masterful performance in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday, but quickly dissolved after that.

Adam Jones’ solo home run in the second inning of Saturday’s nightcap was the only run scored in the final 23 innings in the series loss to Texas as the Orioles fell 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

The Orioles entered Sunday afternoon’s game tied for 10th in the American League in batting average (.220), 11th in on-base percentage (.281), and 10th in extra-base hits.

“I can speak for myself and Brian [Roberts] at the top of the order, I think we need to do a little better job getting on base,” right fielder Nick Markakis said. “We’ve been facing some tough pitching. Other than that, I think we’re pretty pleased with our record right now considering the way we’ve been swinging the bats, which says a lot about our pitching. We’ll get the bats going.”

Considering the offense was considered the team’s strength entering the season, it makes the Orioles’ 6-3 start that much more remarkable. However, the Baltimore bats will need to heat up this week as the Orioles head to the Bronx to take on the powerful Yankees for a three-game set.

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Texas starters Matt Harrison and Derek Holland combined to hold the Orioles to one run over 13 innings of work in the final two games while the Rangers bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings over the three-game series.

“You face good pitching, that’s usually what tends to happen,” said left fielder Luke Scott, who flied out to center as a pinch-hitter representing the tying run in the eighth. “When that happens, you just tip your cap. You look at your at-bats as, ‘Did we give at-bats away against tough pitching?’ And no, we didn’t. We battled, and when guys needed to make a good pitch for the other team, they made good pitches.”

Gutsy Guthrie

It’s been an unbelievable nine-day stretch for Jeremy Guthrie. The veteran pitcher started with a masterful eight-inning performance on Opening Day, spent two nights in the hospital earlier in the week, and finally returned to the mound at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for his first home start of the year on Sunday.

Despite feeling deprived of his normal energy while still recovering from a bout of pneumonia, Guthrie gave the Orioles six innings against the Rangers, allowing one run on four hits. His fastball sat in the 91-92 mph range for most of the afternoon, but the 32-year-old was unable to reach back for something extra on several different occasions.

“It was a battle the entire time,” Guthrie said. “Was fighting, trying to make better pitches and didn’t always do that. I was fortunate a lot on some of the outs that they didn’t hit it a lot further than they did.”

Despite several screaming outs in his six innings of work, the lone scoring blemish came in the fourth inning when Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre homered into left-center to give Texas a 1-0 lead. Guthrie gave way after 84 pitches after feeling fatigued for much of the afternoon.

“I thought he gave us everything he had,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He was running out of gas there at the end. I was watching him when he backed up third on a fly ball for the last out. Gutty effort. [He] gave us a chance to win and you’ve got to have that with the pitching they run out there.”

The effort, however, was wasted as the Orioles couldn’t generate a single run of support as Guthrie fell to 1-1 on the season. He will next pitch on Saturday in Cleveland, with Monday’s off day providing an extra day of rest for the recovering pitcher.

“He threw great,” Markakis said. “You can’t ask for anything more from him. We couldn’t put up any runs for him, which as hitters is tough.”

Fox-hole at catcher

Spring training star Jake Fox made his second straight start on Sunday, but it came with the unconventional transition from catcher one night to left field the next. Showalter wants to get Fox’s bat in the lineup, but it poses a difficult problem when Matt Wieters is starting at catcher.

With no other backup catcher on the roster, the Orioles are left with a dangerous proposition when Fox is playing elsewhere in the field. In the unlikely scenario in which one of the two would be substituted and the other would have to leave the game, the Orioles would find themselves looking at another player on the roster as an emergency catcher.

Who it might be is anyone’s guess, including Showalter’s.

“[The emergency catcher] may not know it yet,” the manager quipped. “At one point, it was going to be [current Triple-A pitcher Rick] VandenHurk. That’d have been really tough. Take him out of the game pitching, put him behind the plate. Vandy was a catcher for three years, two years.”

Showalter pointed to the Detroit Tigers’ handling of Victor Martinez and Alex Avila as a similar situation. Ironically, the Orioles expressed interest in Martinez before the free-agent catcher signed with Detroit.

The Orioles found themselves without a backup to Wieters on Sunday when Scott hit for Fox in the bottom of the eighth when Texas closer Neftali Feliz entered the game with two men on base and a 3-0 lead.

“No, we’ve talked about that [emergency situation],” Showalter said. “It’s something we’ve got to be careful with.”

Fox’s struggles behind the plate continued Saturday night after allowing two stolen bases and catching a disastrous outing for Jake Arrieta, after which Showalter questioned the sequencing of pitches. Showalter made no secret this spring about Fox’s need to improve defensively if he is going to be a long-term solution as Wieters’ backup.

Last year’s backup Craig Tatum is currently catching at Triple-A Norfolk.

Short-stopped

With J.J. Hardy scheduled for an MRI and expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique injury on Monday, the Orioles will rely on the combination of Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino while Hardy rehabs the injury at extended spring training in Sarasota.

“Izzy and Robert, both, present us with a good option,” Showalter said prior to Sunday’s game.

Defensively, yes, but the offensive implications are exactly why president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail pried away Hardy from the Minnesota Twins in the offseason. Baltimore shortstops hit just .236 with a .549 OPS in 2010, with Izturis receiving 142 starts at the position.

With Andino or Izturis manning the ninth spot in the order, it will likely create fewer RBI opportunities for Roberts, who is currently tied with third baseman Mark Reynolds for the team lead in runs batted in (eight).

Good starts not so rare

The final two losses to drop the Texas series take some of the air out of the Orioles’ sail, but a 6-3 record has Baltimore talking baseball with much excitement. Hyperbole and overreaction are synonymous with the first week of the baseball season, but it’s hard to blame fans for feeling enthused about a club with a reasonable chance to end the current streak of 13 consecutive losing seasons.

“We come out prepared everyday, play the game smart, play the game hard,” Scott said. “We’ve had some success up and down the lineup, and our pitching staff has done a great job for us. I think that’s where everything started. We’ve been getting good outings from our starters. The bullpen’s been coming in and giving us quality innings. It’s a good formula for success and hopefully we can continue that.”

However, with the Orioles heading to Yankee Stadium and following that with a three-game series in Cleveland against the red-hot Indians, optimism could come back down to earth in a hurry.

And it wouldn’t be that terribly different than a number of occasions over the last 13 years. For all the talk of this year being different, the Orioles are no strangers to strong starts.

Strong starts since 1997
1998 – 10-2 (finished 79-83)
2000 – 15-10 (finished 74-88)
2003 – 15-12 (finished 71-91)
2004 – 20-16 (finished 78-84)
2005 – 42-28 (finished 74-88)
2006 – 11-7 (finished 70-92)
2007 – 11-7 (finished 69-93)
2008 – 6-1 (finished 68-93)
2009 – 6-2 (finished 64-98)

Of course, most would correctly argue this year’s team has far more talent than those clubs of the past, but things can fall apart very quickly. In reality, many of the superlatives tossed around over the last nine days aren’t that terribly different than ones uttered in past seasons after strong starts.

The true test for gauging how much progress the Orioles have made will be watching them succeed in the middle portion of the season and, most importantly, seeing them play well in August and September when pitchers — especially young ones — tend to wear down.

Last season’s 34-23 finish under Showalter bodes well for this team’s chances, but it’s important for fans to brace themselves for struggles, especially in the starting rotation while the Orioles await Brian Matusz’s return in a few weeks.

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Orioles-Rangers postponed, will play doubleheader Saturday

Posted on 08 April 2011 by Luke Jones

(Updated 9:50 p.m.) — Tonight’s game has been postponed and will be made up as part of a straight doubleheader beginning at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Here’s the official press release regarding the cancellation and ticket exchanges:

Tonight’s game between the Orioles and Texas Rangers has been postponed due to rain. The teams will play a single-admission doubleheader tomorrow beginning at 4:35 p.m.

Tickets for tonight’s game may be exchanged for seats of equal value for tomorrow’s doubleheader or any remaining non-prime home game during the 2011 season, subject to availability. Ticket exchanges must be made by May 31. Student Night tickets may be exchanged for tomorrow’s game or any other non-prime Friday home game during the 2011 season.

Tickets for tomorrow’s game will be valid for both games of the doubleheader.

Original ticket purchasers residing outside a 75-mile radius of Camden Yards may request a refund because of the postponement. Refund requests must be submitted in writing along with the original tickets and mailed via certified mail by May 31 to:

Baltimore Orioles
Attention: April 8 Rainout
333 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

BALTIMORE — With the Rangers coming to town for the opener of a three-game set at 7:05, Camden Yards would certainly benefit from the dry Texas heat this evening as rain has fallen in the area all day. The Orioles are hoping to get this one in, but the tarp remains on the field less than an hour before gametime.

Coming off a 9-5 victory over the Tigers on Thursday, Baltimore (5-1) sends rookie Zach Britton to the mound for his home debut against Rangers veteran Colby Lewis, who returned from two years in Japan to go 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA in 2010.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy is out of the lineup again as he continues to deal with a left ribcage injury that forced him out of Thursday’s game only minutes before first pitch. Hardy is not expected to go on the 15-day disabled list at this point, according to manager Buck Showalter.

In other injury-related news, Jeremy Guthrie’s bullpen session in the indoor tunnel went well earlier this afternoon, but the Orioles will hold off on making an announcement regarding his status for Sunday. If Guthrie is unable to make the start, he would likely be pushed back to Tuesday’s game against the Yankees in the Bronx. Of course, if Guthrie’s stamina isn’t where it needs to be — anyone who’s ever had pneumonia can empathize — the disabled list could be an option and would be retroactive to April 2.

More concerning than anything for the first-place Orioles is the current state of the rotation and bullpen. With Josh Rupe and Jeremy Accardo each expected to be unavailable for tonight’s game, the Birds may be forced to make a roster move for another bullpen arm.

But who goes in return?

The Orioles would have likely elected to go with a short bench under normal conditions, but Felix Pie, Robert Andino, and Jake Fox are all out of options. They could also elect to temporarily send down a starting pitcher such as Chris Tillman or Brad Bergesen, but any player optioned to the minor leagues must remain there for 10 days unless recalled due to an injury.

Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Texas
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Julio Borbon

SP Colby Lewis (1-0, 4.50)

Baltimore
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
RF Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Zach Britton (1-0, 1.50 ERA)

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Orioles hit and walk way to 9-5 victory over Tigers

Posted on 08 April 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — This one had a little bit of everything for the Orioles.

Two different lineup changes before the game even started.

An unconventional 8-9 putout in the fourth inning that really wasn’t an out at all.

Five extra-base hits and seven walks for the offense, two areas in which the Orioles had languished in the season’s first five games.

Three separate comebacks.

But most importantly, a second series win in the opening week of the season after a 9-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. Lest we forget, the Orioles didn’t earn their first series win until May 2 last year and their second until May 13.

Who knows how long this fast start will continue — remember the Texas Rangers are coming to town for a three-game set before the Orioles head to the Bronx to take on the Yankees — but it’s sure been a lot of fun, hasn’t it? A five-game lead over the Red Sox and the Rays might not mean much in April, but it’s a lot better than trailing by five games right out of the gate.

After doing just enough to get by but failing to overwhelm opponents during their 4-0 start, the lineup busted out Thursday with Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds knocking in three runs apiece and Vladimir Guerrero hitting his first home run of the season. It was a good thing too, as Chris Tillman struggled in 4 2/3 innings in a second straight lackluster start for the Baltimore rotation.

With the Orioles currently missing three projected members of the starting rotation, they’ll need potent bats to stick with two of the most prolific offenses in the game over their next six games. But they hadn’t been very potent in terms of power, or simply getting on base, in the first five games of the season. The Orioles had just 11 extra-base hits entering the night before collecting five against Tigers pitching, including home runs by Guerrero and Jones and a two-run double by Reynolds.

They hadn’t been patient either, collecting just eight free passes in five games before drawing seven walks against Detroit pitching.

It was an impressive display of power and patience as every starter except Brian Roberts — who collected two hits anyway — either homered or walked to send the Orioles to their biggest run output of the young season.

The Orioles’ offensive explosion occurred despite the late scratch of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is dealing with a lower left rib cage injury. Cesar Izturis took his place in a move that wasn’t announced until the Orioles had taken the field to warm up for the top of the first inning. Left fielder Luke Scott was a late addition to the lineup after he proved to be fit to play after a successful batting practice session.

Even the light-hitting Izturis felt the hitting bug, collecting a run-scoring single as part of the Orioles’ pivotal five-run seventh inning that transformed the Tigers’ 5-4 lead into a 9-5 victory to move the Orioles to 5-1 and all alone atop the AL East.

Hardy spoke to reporters following the game, saying he felt minimal pain when swinging hard during batting practice. It was ultimately manager Buck Showalter’s decision to keep him out of the lineup on a chilly night at Camden Yards. Hardy does not believe the injury is serious but wanted to see how it responds on Friday before committing to an immediate return to the lineup.

The injuries keep piling up, but the Orioles have overcome — and thrived — against early adversity in the opening week of the season.

Instead of making excuses, or lamenting over who’s not able to play on any given night, the Orioles continue to get the job done since Showalter took over in early August of last season.

It’s sure been a fun ride so far.

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Orioles 2011 Season… in Review… a Preview

Posted on 31 March 2011 by WNST Interns

It’s that time of year again; it’s time to review the 2011 season. It felt like just yesterday I was threatening my neighbor with my lawn-mower because he said Cesar Izturis would hit 15 home runs while I said he would hit over 30. Oh, how wrong we were.

But two years of probation aside, it’s time for me to review the crazy 2011 Orioles season. Whew, where to begin, I know! I’ll begin in

April:

Opening day for the Orioles was one to remember, with a stunning 13-0 decimation of the Rays the Orioles prove that the years of sad-sack esque failure are over… April Fools! Haha, oh what fun. No, of course that’s not what happened. The opener was like every other opening day, extremely forgettable, I think the Orioles won, but don’t hold me to it.

The Oriole’s home opener begins with a bang! Well, to be more realistic it was more of a pop. At least that’s how the fans in the 1st base field boxes described what they heard when Vladimir Guerrero blew out both his knees jogging to 1st base after being walked in the second inning. Many fans were left in total shock as the unimaginable happened; Vladimir Guerrero actually got a walk.

April, which Orioles fans have lovingly nicknamed “ContinuousDissapointment-ril” comes to a peculiar end. Down by 3, with the bases full, Red Sox slugging catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia faces Kevin Gregg. After half heartedly chipping a 0-2 changeup right to Cesar Izturis, a series of strange events involving a squirrel, a Richard Simmons imposter, and the spontaneous combustion of Luke Scott’s glove, allows for an amazing inside the park grand slam, proving once and for all that God does not, in fact, bleed orange.

May:

While reading the Sunday paper in his favorite lazy-boy, coach Buck Showalter receives a call from his daughter announcing she was getting married, Buck celebrates the long awaited occasion by showing no cheerful facial expression whatsoever.

The Orioles finally make headlines! Unfortunately it’s not for reasons you would want. In a startling revelation it is discovered that owner Peter Angelos had been lying for years. Investigation reveals that Angelos was not in fact a billionaire lawyer/part time seal clubber like he claimed. It turns out Angleos was actually three bitter dwarves in a rubbery old man costume. Fans are alarmingly un-alarmed by the revelation.

June:

The Orioles, now with a win-loss record that would make the Washington Generals blush, try to draw in more fans with a special promotion “Ravens Cheerleaders Mopless” where several Raven’s cheerleaders would shave their heads for cancer awareness. An unfortunate misspelling on the many of the billboards that were posted over the city led to the first ever all-male sellout crowd in Orioles history. Upon learning the truth many fans begin to riot, leading Baltimore police to casually blame the drastic increase in violence on “the weather.”

After yet another mispronunciation of his last name by a stadium announcer, Felix Pie finally snaps. As a way of proving to everyone how fed up he is, he decides to exhibit great potential in every way possible, and then play like a AAA journeyman.

July:

July came and went, as many great Orioles fan celebrated the traditional Baltimore heat wave by over-heating and dying as they waited in line at Boog’s BBQ. On a completely unrelated note, since then many surviving fans have found themselves shaking with anticipation to have more of Boog’s newest dish; “Mystery Ribs.”

Angelos-Gate continues as a trial is scheduled for the three dwarfs found to be controlling the former Yellow Pages lawyer as a “Weekend at Bernie’s” style puppet. The defense is severely weakened when police find a notebook labeled “Plans to Destroy the Integrity of Every Major-Metropolitan City on the East Coast” in Angelos’s desk.

Brad Bergesen is chosen as the Orioles lone all-star despite being traded a month earlier. When asked why they made the controversial choice Major League Baseball was quoted as saying; “By being traded, Brad allowed the Orioles the opportunity to call Zach Britton up from the minors. This selfless act was by far the greatest contribution any player on the 25 man roster has made to the Orioles all season.”

August:

On a rare beautiful and sunny Friday afternoon that Buck Showalter had off, Buck was drinking his favorite brand of beer, eating a delicious hot-dog, and playing with an adorable puppy when Buck suddenly realized he had achieved everything he wanted in life and had never been happier. Buck showed his joy by sneering and sighing.

The Orioles kept the courts busy during the 2011 season. A season that already couldn’t have been going worse somehow found a way to do just that; get worse. News broke that General Mills had taken the Oriole’s straight to Baltimore City Circuit Court for defamation over the use of the nickname O’s. Claiming that they “didn’t want their flagship product (Cheerio’s) associated in any way with the depressing sports organization the Baltimore Orioles.”

September:

Nick Markakis wakes up one morning and realizes that no one makes a big deal about him anymore. Emotionally hurt; Markakis holds a press conference outside of the stadium. Unfortunately only an exasperated businessman waiting for the Light Rail attended the press conference where a tear-full Markakis first demanded a trade, after which he then quickly changed his mind and begged for forgiveness instead simply asking for a Markakis bobble-head night instead.

Angelos-Gate draws to a close as the Hon. Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill dismisses the case against the three bitter dwarfs in the Peter Angelos costume, not for a lack of evidence, but for “a serious phobia of banging gavels to signify the end of a trial.” And so ends one of the sorest blights in Orioles history, but hey, look on the bright side, at least we’re not the Pirates. **Shudder**

October:

HAHAHAHAHAHA? Really?

Note:
The author of the above essay is not in any way clairvoyant and was able to achieve this knowledge through the use of a broken 8-ball and some darts. Any angry letters or e-mails regarding your opposition to witchcraft should be sent to WNST 1550 Hart Road, Towson, MD 21286-1635. Or Glenn@WNST.net. Thank you.

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Koji Back With O’s For 2011, Hardy On The Way?

Posted on 09 December 2010 by WNST Interns

Would your boss be satisfied if you called out 50% of the time?

Apparently, the O’s were happy to bring back Koji Uehara, 35, for a 3rd season despite the Japanese former All Star’s penchant for fatigue-related sick days.

To be fair, Uehara’s first two seasons in MLB varied widely. Signed to much fanfare before the 2009 season, Uehara came to Baltimore to start games. Beset by injury, Uehara and the club quickly realized that his days of starting were behind him. Also, humidity is really not his thing.

In 2010, Uehara was an effective reliever, saving 13 games and finishing the year with a 2.86 ERA.  He can be an important piece to the back end of the bullpen if he can manage to stay upright.

The club was uncharacteristically quick in re-signing Uehara, perhaps because they are dealing so much relief pitching this offseason. They shipped David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio to Arizona for Mark Reynolds earlier in the week and appear poised to deal more pitching to improve their infield.

Speaking of…

According to CBS Sports, the O’s are set to announce a trade of minor leading pitchers James Hoey and Brett Jacobsen to Minnesota in exchange for infielders J.J. Hardy and Brenddan Harris.

O’s GM Andy MacPhail seems to have finalized this deal late last night, well after the sweater vest crowd usually nods off for the evening. Look for an announcement after the Rule V draft today, unless Peter Angelos decides to nix it on a whimsy.

Hardy, 27, is the centerpiece of the trade. His OPS is 100 points better than light-batted Cesar Izturis. Hardy has two more years of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent.

Harris, 29, struggled in limited appearances last season, but he’s a career .260 hitter with a .318 OBP. Harris has played every position around the diamond, including 218 games at shortstop.

It looks like Robert Andino will have to find another club for which he can ride the express to and from AAA to the bigs.

An infield of Reynolds, Hardy, Roberts, and Anyone But Atkins won’t win the AL East, but it represents a steady improvement from last season.

My vote would be for the O’s to bring in Paul Bunyan-esque Jim Thome to DH. Thome was good for 25 dingers in only 276 at bats last year. Let’s see what he has left at age 39 and give guys like Markakis and Reynolds some real lineup protection. My two cents.

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