March 2010

Berken to the bullpen & Os pen plans

Nothing is official, but
manager Dave Trembley acknowledged Wednesday that Koji Uehara won’t be ready for the start of the season and that it
might be too late for Kam Mickolio
as well. Mickolio has been sidelined with a sore groin and hasn’t thrown off
the mound in nearly a week . Talking to him today, it’s safe to say Mickolio’s
already figured out that he might start the year on the disabled list or in Triple-A,  with an injury he called “frustrating” given
how hard he worked this offseason.

That leaves seven relievers
left for seven spots, making the Orioles bullpen the kind of math I like to
deal with. It also factors in Jason Berken as the second long man on the team.  Berken turned in his worst performance this
spring Wednesday against the Red Sox, allowing five earned runs on seven hits
over 2 1/3 innings. Ironically enough, his two weakest performances have been
starts.

“[I don't know] if that
means anything or not, the times I’ve come out of the ‘pen this spring I’ve
felt good and I’ve felt comfortable and I felt like I’ve been able to get ready
in time,” Berken said.  “There’s some
adjustments I have to make, but I feel like the opportunities, I’ve gotten out
of the pen this spring have gone pretty well. And I think I’ll be able to
handle that role.”

Like the other Orioles
relievers who are up for a spot, Berken said he hasn’t been told anything by
the team yet. But he made it clear he will do whatever will help Baltimore this
season.

“I want to be part of this
team and I want to help any way I can,” Berken said.  “If that means coming out of the pen than I’m
more than happy to do that.”

Along with Berken, Cla
Meredith, Matt Albers and Will Ohman -barring injury –  will round out the rest of the Orioles ‘pen.  Mark Hendrickson, Jim Johnson and closer Mike
Gonzalez are already guaranteed spots. Of those seven guys, only Ohman is not
on the roster, which will require a corresponding move by the Orioles.  

The deadline for teams to
have their 25-man roster set is Sunday April 4, at 3 p.m. ET.

Orioles go prospect heavy, the plan for Tillman

Baltimore will travel to
Port Charlotte, Fla. Thursday to take on the Tampa Bay Rays for a 1:05 p.m. ET
contest. Highly touted prospect Jake
Arrieta
will get the start, followed by right-hander Steve Johnson. Prospect Brandon
Waring
will start at third base and most of the Orioles regular position
players aren’t expected to make the trip.

Opening Day starter Kevin Millwood will throw to catcher Matt Wieters in a Minor League game in
Sarasota with Mark Hendrickson also
expected to pitch. Chris Tillman
will throw in the Double-A game and get his pitch count up around the 90-100
range.

Tillman is expected to meet
with pitching coach Rick Kranitz, Minor League pitching coordinator Dave
Schmidt, bullpen coach Allan Dunn and Triple-A Norfolk pitching coach Mike
Griffin sometime on Thursday to go over a plan for the beginning of the season. 

“He’s got to pitch more for me,” Kranitz said of Tillman.  “He needs to understand and we
have to get this message across [to all the young pitchers]that we have to pitch more and not less. More innings,
less pitches, we got to pitch them.”

“It’s time to go. You got to show us what you got.”

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Jones Scratch, Roberts makes it 3 & Koji's MRI

Some pregame tidbits…

*Adam Jones was a late scratch from Wednesday’s lineup, with a stomach bug. Felix Pie moved from left field to center with Nolan Reimold inserted
into left. Will give you word when we get any..

*Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts played in his third straight
game on Wednesday, no small feat considering this is only his fourth game this
spring. Roberts debuted on Friday and with Sunday’s rainout throwing off
original plans, he lobbied manager Dave Trembley to play Tuesday afternoon
following Monday’s night game.

He’s trying to get
in baseball shape now,” Trembley said of Roberts. “He says he’s fine. Let’s
cross our fingers and hope he keeps it going.”

Roberts has just one hit -a
double Monday against the Yankees – but his at-bats are improving as he gets up
to speed this spring. The hope is he will be ready for April’s 6 Opening Day.

The Orioles dynamic leadoff
hitter, Roberts has been slowed this spring by a herniated disc in his lower
back.  He’s been on the back fields doing
extra work every day and Trembley raved about how he looked running.

*Koji Uehara will have an MRI either today or tomorrow to rule out anything other than the left hamstring strain he’s currently been diagnosed with.  Like I’ve blogged earlier, the DL is imminent for him. Could it be too late for Kam Mickolio as well?

“Could be,” Trembley said.

Montanez to Triple-A

The Orioles announced prior
to Wednesday’s game that they have optioned outfielder Lou Montanez to Triple-A Norfolk. The move
leaves the Orioles with 32 players left in camp, although three of those
players -Scott Moore, Alfredo Simon, Ross Wolf — were part of the eight that
were sent down
yesterday. They’re here to provide depth.

Montantez hit .319 with
eight RBIs in 20 spring games.

Orioles-Red Sox lineups

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Felix Pie CF
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
 Nolan Reimold LF
Luke Scott DH
Matt Wieters C
Garrett Atkins 1B
Cesar Izturis SS

Jason Berken RHP

RED SOX LINEUP

Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortiz DH
JD Drew RF
Mike Lowell 3B
Josh Reddick LF
Che-Hsuan Lin CF

Jon Lester LHP

It ain't easy being Dave

Trembley3.jpg

When manger Dave
Trembley
didn’t meet with the media on Tuesday morning, the general consensus
was he was making cuts, which would be announced later in the day. During a
17-minute, emotional postgame session, Trembley admitted part of his morning
was spent roaming the back fields at Ed Smith Stadium as he prepared to deliver
heart-breaking news to the eight guys who were demoted.

“I got a hell of a job here this year, and I know what’s at
stake this year,” Trembley said. “I’ve tried to go about it in a way that is
the right way.”

“I walked around those back fields all morning, kind of
like, ‘How am I going to talk to some of these guys? ‘It was tough for me to
tell Brandon Snyder he was going out of camp. I had the kid in instructional
league. And [Alberto] Castillo. You know his story? A refugee from Cuba played
independent baseball. Was a first baseman and pitcher in the Giants
organization. Look where that kid has come from. It’s tough to tell those guys.
You’re dealing with people’s lives. [Chad] Moeller is 35 years old. He’s been
the epitome of a professional guy.

“I had to tell [Adam] Donachie he’s going out. Donachie
was a pro’s pro. That kid’s just as important to me as any of these big league
guys that have 10 years in the big leagues. I have to give him the same amount
of time I gave everybody else. It’s only fair, it’s only professional. It’s
only the right thing to do.”

 “It’s the toughest
part of this job, looking at these guys, because you love them. You absolutely
love them. And to tell them that, hey, they’re not breaking with us in the big
leagues and I’m responsible for putting out the light of the dream they have,
it’s tough.”

Orioles Rotation

Will
be as follows: Kevin Millwood for Opening Day, followed by Jeremy Guthrie,
Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez. Hernandez beat out Chris
Tillman for the final spot; the full story is here.

Pie tabbed for the Opener

Pie.jpg


Felix
Pie
will be the Orioles’ Opening Day left fielder, a decision Orioles manager
Dave Trembley has been hinting at for days, but made official following Tuesday’s
game.

I
got to call Pie in [to the office today] and say, Pie you are going to be the Opening
Day left fielder in Tampa [April 6]. You have really improved; you’ve earned
it,” Trembley said.  “This is not a
slight on [Nolan] Reimold, but this is the right thing for Reimold. He’s not
100 percent.”

Reimold has been slowed this spring by offseason surgery on
his left Achilles tendon but has made significant strides in the last 10 days.
The 26-year-old snapped a 0-for-22 skid on March 21 and appears to be running
better in the field and along the bases. Reimold has hit safely in his past five
games, raising his average to .231 in 13 spring games.

“You think I’m going to ask him to go bust his butt on turf?,” Trembley said of Reimold, who has progressed but is still not full-throttle.

“That kid is as tough as nails. We all saw him play for three months last year [playing with the Achilles injury], half
a player, never complained, never did nothing.”

Pie has put together an impressive spring campaign, going
3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored on Tuesday to raise his average to .393.
He is expected to share left field duties with Reimold as part of a platoon
this season.

Bergesen's bad day

Brad Bergesen just finished what
can most certainly be called his worst outing this spring. Bergesen allowed six
earned runs on five hits and four walks over five innings. In the four starts
prior, he had yielded a combined six earned runs with five walks.

After a four-run fourth inning,
Bergesen went on to retire seven of the next eight batters he faced, before
surrendering the second of three homers. He raised his ERA over a run, to 5.59,
in the 93-pitch outing.

Bergesen, who is slotted to be
the team’s fourth starter, is expected to start the O’s home opener at Camden Yards.

Orioles cut 8

By
now you know about Chris Tillman, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk in favor
of David Hernandez, who will be the Orioles fifth starter. The O’s just
announced that Alberto Castillo and Justin Turner will join Tillman at
Triple-A camp.

Catcher
Adam Donachie and outfielder Jeff Salazar has been reassigned to Minor League
camp as well. Baltimore will hang on to infielder Scott Moore and right-handed
pitchers Alfredo Simon and Ross Wolf, although they have also been reassigned to
Minor League camp. The trio will stay in Major League camp to provide depth.

The team’s roster stands at 33.

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