Os casting wide net, seeking starters and bullpen help

ANAHEIM— The Orioles are casting a wide net leading up to this year’s Trade Deadline and it’s no secret that the club is looking for both rotation and bullpen help. They’re exploring some interesting ways to get there.

According to industry sources, Baltimore has dangled right-hander Miguel Gonzalez in potential trade talks with at least three clubs, including San Diego, with the thinking that the Orioles could potentially land a starter in return. One interesting name that has come up in preliminary talks is Padres starter Ian Kennedy. Kennedy’s stock has never been higher as he’s pitched to a 3.26 ERA in 21 games and he’s under team control —as an arbitration eligible— in 2015.

The uncertainty in dealing with San Diego, who traded closer Huston Street to the Angels over the weekend, is that the front office is undergoing massive changes. However, it’s believed that assistant general manager A.J. Hinch is itching to get a few deals done before the organization officially hires a new GM. Gonzalez, who is coming off back-to-back eight-inning starts, isn’t a guy the Orioles necessarily want to part with but he could be moved to the bullpen when injured Ubaldo Jimenez is deemed ready to return.

Baltimore is also one of several clubs with interest in A.J. Burnett, a potential fit that would make sense given that the O’s expressed interest in Burnett this winter. While Burnett has a no-trade clause it does not include Baltimore, sources confirmed to MLB.com, and he lives in nearby Monkton, Md. The O’s were linked to Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa earlier this month, although reports were that Colorado was asking for a steep price tag that includes right-hander Kevin Gausman and hasn’t come down much.

The Orioles are also seeking a sixth or seventh-inning reliever type to help bridge to Darren O’Day and closer Zach Britton along with a left-handed hitter. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Monday that he’s been in contact with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette regarding trade scenarios but typically Duquette doesn’t bring up specifics until talks become serious.

“He’s brought up one player’s name to me,” Showalter said of Duquette’s conversations with him regarding trade possibilities. “But I know, I think Dan is in tune and wired to everything that may be out there. And more importantly the cost to get it. What price? not only financially but what we look at is what it takes away from us. Not only here but below. Everybody’s price right now compared to what it would be two hours beforehand. [Now], it’s like “we would never do that.” Two hours before the deadline, it’s “Oh, we did do that.” There’s a bit of poker being played. I don’t dwell on it to much because I like our people and I don’t like, I know Dan doesn’t either, giving someone away that fits where we are and where we are going.”

Duquette has been hesitant in the past to deal any of the organization’s top prospects, and by all accounts it doesn’t look like his stance has changed. The Orioles have been able to acquire some attractive pitching depth in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues however, which make a trade or two more plausible.

Showalter said despite the down year for the American League East, and the O’s current first-place status, the organization isn’t tempted to go all-in at the expense of its future.

“There’s two thoughts of that [thinking]..how did we get there?,” Showalter said of his current group, which entered Monday with a three-game lead over the Yankees and Blue Jays. “I think we got a pretty good grip of who we are and who we are not.”

Orioles @ Angels Game 1

Greetings from Anaheim, where the Orioles will continue their three-city road trip out West with three games against the Angels.

*The Orioles added pitcher Bud Norris from the Minor Leagues to make Monday’s start against the Angels and optioned Steve Clevenger back to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot.

Norris was sent down to Double-A Bowie to stay on a schedule during the All-Star Break with Clevenger recalled on July 11 to give the Orioles a third catcher and another left-handed bat off the bench. Clevenger got just one at-bat during his time with the Orioles and was twice used as a late-game replacement. The Orioles Opening Day backup catcher, Clevenger was the odd man out when the O’s made a trade for Nick Hundley from San Diego in late May.

The Orioles will have to make another roster move on Tuesday to clear a spot for Miguel Gonzalez, who was also optioned to make a start in the Minor Leagues over the break. Manager Buck Showalter said the team was monitoring an injury to a pitcher on Monday and if that turned up OK, they would likely option a bullpen arm to make room for Gonzalez.

*In other minor injury news, Brian Matusz was unavailable the first two games of the Oakland series because he hurt his finger during Thursday’s workout. Showalter described it as a minor thing that happened in the weight room and Matusz pitched on Sunday with no issues.

*Ubaldo Jimenez (right ankle) will throw a bullpen on either Tuesday or Wednesday with the Orioles targeting the end of the week for him to make a rehab start. Jimenez was originally slated to throw in a rehab game midweek but he was favoring his ankle to much from the windup in his last bullpen session.

*Baltimore is among the teams who are in attendance in Philadelphia tonight and the Orioles have definitely discussed the possibility of trading for A.J. Burnett, MLB.com has confirmed. The O’s are also looking to upgrade their bullpen and are casting a pretty wide net right now, meaning a lot of names will be coming up in the next week-and-a-half or so leading up to the Trade Deadline. Stay tuned.

Here are your lineups…

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Hundley C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Bud Norris RHP

ANGELS LINEUP
Kole Calhoun RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols 1B
Josh Hamilton DH
Howie Kendrick 2B
David Freese 3B
Efren Navarro LF
Hank Conger C
John McDonald SS
Matt Shoemaker RHP

Orioles vs. Yankees first half finale

Greetings from Camden Yards, where the Orioles will play the Yankees in the first-half finale. Regardless of tonight’s outcome the O’s will go into the All-Star Break in first place in the American League East.

Not a whole lot of pre-game news, although Bud Norris will go around 100 pitches on Monday for Double-A Bowie and Gonzalez will aim for 90-95 for Norfolk later in the week. (Besides Norris and Gonzalez’s outings, Dylan Bundy will be pitching on Wednesday for Frederick if you need to get your baseball fix.) Speaking of the Minor Leagues, veteran pitcher Randy Wolf has opted out of his contract, with the Virginia-Pilot reporting earlier today that the lefty had his stuff all packed up and said goodbye to teammates.

The O’s will say goodbye for a few days, with the plan for the team to fly pretty early to the West Coast on Thursday. They will also have a workout on Thursday. In the meantime, all of your All-Star coverage for the Orioles will be on Orioles.com over the next few days as some of my colleagues are already in Minnesota and will provide comprehensive coverage of the game and Home Run Derby. I’ll be taking a few days to recharge and will meet the team on the West Coast.

Here are your lineups…

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Brian Roberts 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Kelly Johnson LF
Yangervis Solarte 3B

Chase Whitley RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Kevin Gausman RHP

Orioles vs. Yankees Game 2

Greetings from Camden Yards, where there’s been more roster shuffling given the upcoming All-Star Break. The Orioles have added Steve Clevenger, mostly as a left-handed bat, to fortify the bench and optioned last night’s starter Miguel Gonzalez to clear a roster spot.

Gonzalez has gone eight innings in back-to-back outings and the O’s want to keep him on a schedule so he will head home to the West Coast and then start on Thursday for Triple-A Norfolk. He will head back to the West Coast to meet the team and pitch in the Tuesday game in Anaheim. Bud Norris, who they optioned to Double-A Bowie to also stay on track, is pitching the series opener with the Angels on Monday.

Speaking of starters, Kevin Gausman is here to take the roster spot of Ubaldo Jimenez, who the Os will place on the DL to active Gausman for Sunday’s start. Manager Buck Showalter said today that the Orioles have it set up so that Gausman can pitch until the Orioles season ends and he won’t be shut down early.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Nick Hundley C
Chris Tillman RHP

Orioles vs. Yankees lineups & pregame notes, Jimenez DLed

*The big story out of today is that Ubaldo Jimenez –the Orioles most expensive free-agent signing in club history– is headed to the disabled list with a right ankle sprain suffered on Wednesday. Jimenez, who manager Buck Showalter said is “an eight” on a pain scale of 1-10, will be replaced on the roster by right-hander Kevin Gausman who will pick up one of this weekend’s starts against the Yankees. You can read more on that situation here.

*Matt Wieters will stay with the club after the All-Star Break, though he’s not going on the team’s three-city West Coast trip. Wieters, recovering from Tommy John surgery, said today he plans on going on shorter road trips to be around the club while he rehabs.

*Julio DePaula has been outrighted to Double-A Bowie.

*Brian Roberts and the Yankees are here tonight and it will be interesting to see what kind of reception the longtime Oriole gets in his first trip back to Camden Yards….

Here are your lineups…

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce DH
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Nick Hundley C

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teizeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Brian Roberts 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Kelly Johnson DH

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

Jimenez to the DL, Gausman on his way up

Ubaldo Jimenez –the Orioles most expensive free-agent signing in club history– is headed to the disabled list with a right ankle sprain suffered on Wednesday. Jimenez, who manager Buck Showalter said is “an eight” on a pain scale of 1-10, will be replaced on the roster by right-hander Kevin Gausman who will pick up one of this weekend’s starts against the Yankees.

“He stepped in a hole in the parking lot,”Showalter said of Jimenez’s injury. “We were looking at it today. It’s pretty puffy, taped up. He tried to take a work day yesterday. We were hoping that it would resolve somewhat today, it did not and he’s not going to be able to start tomorrow, so we’re probably going to DL him and back-date him and have him ready post-All-Star break.”

Gausman was on his way to Camden Yards on Friday afternoon and will likely start Sunday’s game, though he is an option to pitch on Saturday. Chris Tillman could be moved up to Saturday, which would have been his normal day. Gausman took a “light side day” on Thursday for Triple-A Norfolk.

Jimenez has had a similar injury with Cleveland and was shut down early in the 2012 season. Signed to a four-year, $50-million deal this winter, the news of his injury on Friday is the latest in a disappointing first half for Jimenez. He went 3-8 with a 4.52 ERA in 18 games, including a 1-6 mark with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts at Camden Yards.

Showalter said because they are recalling a player within the 10-day window –in Gausman–they can’t backdate Jimenez to his last start. He would be eligible to pitch the sixth game of the second half, though that’s not guaranteed and it will be based on his rehab progression.

Bundy struggles again at Frederick

BALTIMORE— Orioles righty Dylan Bundy, who will likely be limited to 75 pitches in every outing this year, exited Thursday’s start for Class-A Frederick in the fourth inning.

Bundy, who allowed a pair of singles before he was replaced, was charged with three runs against the Salem Red Sox. Making his fifth start, fourth with Frederick, Bundy had a 1-2-3 first inning that consisted of 15 pitches.

The 21-year-old issued a pair of walks to start the second inning and allowed a pair of RBI singles to Kendrick Perkins and Jordan Weems after that. Bundy worked around a one-double in the third inning, and started the fourth at 64 pitches.

The Orioles top pitching prospect, Bundy is recovering from Tommy John surgery and it’s unlikely -given his pitch constraints— that he’s a factor for the big league club this season.

Os option Norris, add Guilmet

BALTIMORE— The Orioles optioned right-hander Bud Norris to Double-A Bowie prior to Thursdays game, a roster move that allows the right-hander to get some extra work in the Minors during the All-Star Break.

“”Bud had, what, 17 days? Having another 11, 12 or 13 before his next start is something we’d like to stay away from,” manager Buck Showalter said of Norris, who returned from the disabled list to make Wednesday’s start. “He’s already had his All-Star break.”

With the extra roster spot, the Orioles recalled right-hander Preston Guilmet from Triple-A Norfolk to add to the bullpen. Guilmet, 26, has posted a 5.79 ERA (9.1IP, 6ER) in nine games with the Orioles this season, striking out 11 and walking two.

Norris’ 10-day stay in the Minor Leagues means he could be activated to start at the end of the Oakland series, although given his career numbers —0-2 with a 9.35 ERA in four games— the Orioles will likely wait until the following series in Anaheim. Norris is 3-0 with an 0.32 ERA in four career games against the Angels.

Orioles vs. Nats Game 3

Greetings from Camden Yards, where the Orioles will take on the Nationals for the third game of a four-game set. (The fourth game will be made up on August 4 in DC.)

*Bud Norris will not start on short rest on Sunday, although he could be used out of the bullpen. Manager Buck Showalter floated the idea of a short start on Wednesday, but that won’t happen now.

*Matt Wieters is here and will go to the All-Star Game in Minnesota before returning to Atlanta to continue his rehab. Wieters had planned on coming to Baltimore during a few homestands this year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

*Steve Johnson went two innings for short-season Aberdeen on Wednesday night and Showalter said they are still deciding whether Johnson will be starting or relieving in the Minors as he works his way back.

*Kevin Gausman will make his next start for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

NATIONALS LINEUP
Denard Span CF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ryan Zimmerman DH
Bryce Harper LF
Ian Desmond SS
Wilson Ramos C
Kevin Frandsen 2B

Gio Gonzalez RHP

McLouth on Baltimore: “I can’t think of one thing I didn’t like about playing here”

Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth admitted it was a little odd to be in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards on Wednesday afternoon.

McLouth, who spent 1 1/2 years with Baltimore, signed with Washington this winter for $10.75 million over two years (with a $6.5 million club option for 2016) and the four-game Beltway Series has provided a chance for McLouth to see some old friends.

“The baseball part is not the hard part,” said McLouth, a fan favorite who should get a favorable reaction at Camden Yards on Wednesday. “The hard part is the relationships and the friends you make. That was, I don’t really like the guys here that much. No, I’m kidding. But you form friendships and you feel comfortable and that was the hardest part. I can’t think of one thing I didn’t like about playing here [in Baltimore].”

McLouth said he never got the sense that the Orioles -despite publicly saying so- wanted to bring him back and he doesn’t harbor any ill-will about it.

“It didn’t hurt my feelings or anything,” McLouth said. “That’s just how it works. I didn’t feel at any point like it was going to work out, unfortunately, and you just deal with it. It’s not like it’s personal. It’s not personal. It’s how it works.”

McLouth, who hit hit .261/.333/.409 in 201 games with the Orioles, has had to adjust to not having an everyday role with the Nats and it’s been difficult. He’s batting .194/.308/.266 in 65 games.

And, like many of his former Oriole teammates, McLouth is rooting for a Nationals-Orioles World Series.

“[It would be] awesome,” McLouth said. “I think if for no other reason than the travel. It’s possible. It’s very possible.”

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