March 2010

Yankees-Orioles Lineups and Tidbits

Sorry for the delay today, but there was no morning availability thanks to the players union meeting. Also, if you missed it, I just blogged about Brian Roberts’ debut which is slated for Friday night.

Koji Uehara tossed from 120 feet on one of the back fields, with pitching coach Rick Kranitz watching alongside. There’s no updates on Koji and no timetable right now, although the right-hander still thinks he will be ready come Opening Day.

Jake Arrieta was sent down to Minor League camp, effective today. He said he met with Trembley and Kranitz after yesterday’s game and told them he wanted to get more innings. He had only thrown five innings of actual game action this spring. Something tells me he will be back.

And finally, here are the lineups (although if you follow me on Twitter- you’ve got ‘em already). Brad Bergesen will start against basically the Yankees starting lineup, minus outfielders Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner. Big news out of Yankees camp is that Phil Hughes is the team’s fifth starter, with Joba likely shifting to the ‘pen. Should be a potent punch for the O’s to deal with…

ORIOLES LINEUP

Felix Pie LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Matt Wieters C
Adam Jones CF
Luke Scott DH
Garrett Atkins 1B
Ty Wigginton 2B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brad Bergesen RHP

YANKEES LINEUP

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Marcus Thames LF
Randy Winn CF
Francisco Cervelli C

Alfredo Aceves RHP

 

  

Roberts Debut Friday

Manager Dave Trembley just announced that Brian Roberts will make his Spring Training debut Friday night against the Minnesota Twins.

The goal is obviously five innings and three at-bat’s but Trembley declined to specify his plan for Roberts. The switch-hitting second baseman was cleared by the medical staff yesterday, and Trembley said the decision came this morning when he spoke with Roberts.

Roberts has had a rocky road in recovering from the herniated disc
in his lower back — suffered during offseason workouts at the Athletes’
Performance Institute in Arizona — but he acknowledged on Tuesday
morning that he is feeling better.

“I don’t really know what has helped and what hasn’t,” said Roberts, who
went through several different megadose packs of medication before
flying to Baltimore to see Dr. Lee Riley for an epidural on March 15.

“I know it feels better. I feel better than I did 10 days ago. There’s
things that still feel the exact same, but things that feel a little
better. So as long as [the epidural] helped me hit, that’s all that
really matters.” 

*******

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Arietta Sent to Minors camp

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Orioles announced on Thursday morning
that right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta has been reassigned to Minor League camp.

A non-roster invitee, the 24-year-old Arrieta allowed three
earned runs on seven hits over five spring innings. He struck out nine and
walked four and tossed his strongest outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on
March 17. In that outing, Arrieta struck out four and allowed one hit in two
scoreless innings.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder is one of the Orioles top pitching
prospects and Arrieta is expected to start the season in Triple-A Norfolk’s
rotation. Last season, he went 5-8 with a 3.93 ERA in his last 17 starts with
the Tide.

Arrieta’s reassignment reduces the Orioles Spring Training
roster to 47 players.

Koji says he could throw now

If Koji Uehara had to pitch right now, he could. At least, that’s what
he told pitching coach Rick Kranitz on Sunday.

Kranitz checked in with the
Japanese right-hander, who is nursing a strained left hamstring, prior to the
Orioles game in Clearwater. Koji also told Kranitz he doesn’t need much time to
be ready for April 6’s opener.

“He feels like his command is there, his arm strength is
there,” manager Dave Trembley said of Koji.  “It is still a day-to-day thing with him.”

Koji played catch on Sunday and
again on Tuesday at the team’s workout complex in Sarasota, and said through interpreter
Jiwon Bang, that there is still not detailed schedule for his progression. He
has no idea when he will throw from the mound but, in the meantime, he will
continue to work out and play light catch.

Koji did acknowledge that the
pain is “getting better” in his left hamstring and, right now, his status for
Opening Day doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy.

I’m confident he’s going
to be ready [for the start of the season],” Trembley told reporters in Jupiter
on Tuesday morning.

Still, given Koji’s long history of hamstring issues, his
latest strain deserves a closer look. I wrote on Saturday about how Uehara’s
injury could change the Orioles bullpen
outlook to open the season.  And given that the season is getting closer
and closer, it’s something that all Orioles fans should keep a watch on. 

In my opinion a Koji injury means the bullpen will have Matt Albers, Kam Mickolio and Cla Meredith, to start the season, instead
of two of the three. Will Ohman’s looking like a lock as the lefty specialist
and the other three ‘pen spots – Jim Johnson, Mike Gonzalez and Mark
Hendrickson – are already set.

Whether Koji’s injury will put him on the disabled list to start the year or not is hard to say. Only Koji knows how minor (or major) the issue is and if he could really throw right now.

Eutaw Street Promotion is back

The Orioles announced on Tuesday
that they are bringing back the popular Eutaw Street promotion, presented by
Home Savings of America and Southwest Airlines.

On five 2110 Eutaw Street dates,
fans can purchase a Eutaw Street Bleacher seat and a limited edition 2110 Eutaw
Street t-shirt for $21.  What’s new for this season is each game will feature a
different t-shirt design. 

In addition, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones
will toss baseballs into the stands throughout the game, autographed t-shirts
will be tossed into the section during one inning break, and for every home run
hit by Markakis or Jones in that day’s game, one lucky fan in the section will
receive a bat autographed by the player who hit the homer. 

This year’s 2110 Eutaw
Street dates are Sunday, May 16; Sunday, June 27; Saturday, July 24; Sunday,
August 8; and Saturday, September 4.

 Tickets for 2110
Eutaw Street are on sale now while supplies last at www.orioles.com or by
calling 1-888-848-BIRD. 

Roberts: this is the week (end), perhaps

If Brian Roberts can get into a game this week -something the
Orioles and the second baseman himself believe is possible – he would have
enough spring left to be ready for April’s 6 Opening Day.

“If I can play by the end of the week or the weekend I should
be fine, ” Roberts told me this morning in Sarasota. “As long as there are no setbacks after that.”

A critical sparkplug atop the Orioles lineup, Roberts took
full swings from both sides of the plate during batting practice on Sunday and
Tuesday, taking Monday’s scheduled off day with the rest of the team.  Roberts had had a rocky road in recovering from
the herniated disc in his lower back, but acknowledged 
that he is feeling better.

“I don’t really know what has helped and what hasn’t,” said
Roberts, who went through several different megadose packs of medication before
flying to Baltimore to see Dr. Lee Riley for an epidural on March 15.

“I know it feels better. I feel better than I did 10 days
ago. There’s things that still feel the exact same, but things that feel a
little better.  So, as long as [the
epidural] helped me hit that’s all that really matters.”

Roberts said the goal is to make his Spring Training debut
this week, a sentiment manager Dave Trembley echoed to reporters in Jupiter,
Fla, where the Orioles were slated to play the Florida Marlins.

“It would be nice to get him in a game at the end of the
week,” Trembley said.  “But I’ll have to
check with the medical people and see what he says.”

Baltimore is hosting three Grapefruit League contests this
week, facing the New York Yankees on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET, the Minnesota
Twins Friday at 7:05 pm ET and the Red Sox Saturday at 1:05 p.m . ET.  Sunday’s game is against Toronto in nearby
Clearwater, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET.

How badly do the O’s miss Roberts? 

Baltimore
entered Sunday’s game last in batting average (.241), runs scored (72) and on-base
percentage (.301) in the Grapefruit League.

Kevin Millwood might of said it best. I was doing some season preview stuff with him this morning and asked if he was concerned about the team’s offense.

He said he wasn’t worried about the team’s spring struggles at the plate, noting that “it’ll all change when Roberts comes back.”

Given the Orioles tough first-half schedule, 21 of their first 60 games are against the Red Sox or Yankees, having Roberts suited up on Opening Day would be a huge boost.

Back in Sarasota….

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez is based out of Miami and is
(thankfully) saving me from making that long drive and overnight stay in
Jupiter. So Orioles.com  will still
have all the usual game stories and coverage you’re used to these next two
days.

It will be interesting to see what kind of start Jeremy Guthrie has
later this afternoon. His spring struggles have been no secret, and if you ask
me, he’s really a key to the O’s rotation this year. If Guthrie can return to
the Guthrie of ’07 and ’08, it would take some pressure off the young guys and
help save the bullpen from being overworked in the first half.

Back in Sarasota, I’m checking out some Minor League stuff with the Triple-A
and Double-A teams both in action against the Rays’ Minor League teams.

Koji Uehara played some light catch on Sunday, according to translate
Jiwon Bang, and there’s been some semi-meaningful apologies to me about my
Michigan State Spartans who defeated Maryland to advance to the Sweet 16.

Brian Roberts is here, although I just said hi briefly. Not sure what’s
he done today or what the plan is. Hopefully, I’ll get to check in with him
later.

RAY MILLER & JOHNNY OATES ELECTED TO ORIOLES HALL OF FAME

The Orioles announced Monday that former pitching coach and
manager Ray Miller has been elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame. Former O’s
manager and player Johnny Oates will also be enshrined posthumously as a
selection of the Veteran’s Committee, and longtime Baseball Operations employee
Lenny Johnston is this year’s Herb Armstrong Award winner.

A native of Suitland, Md., Miller will be enshrined for his
work as Baltimore’s pitching coach, a role he held for three separate stints -
1978-95, 1997 and 2004-05.

During Miller’s tenure, the Orioles won the 1979 American
League Championship and the 1983 World Series. Five Orioles pitchers won at
least 20 games under his tutelage – Mike Boddicker, Scott McGregor, Steve
Stone, Mike Flanagan, and Jim Palmer.

Miller also served as manager for the Orioles during the
1998 and 1999 seasons, compiling a 157-167 record. From 1985-86, he managed the
Minnesota Twins and from 1987-1996 he served as pitching coach for the
Pittsburgh Pirates.

Oates will be inducted as a manager by the Veteran’s
Committee. A catcher, Oates made his Major League debut with the Orioles on
September 17, 1970. He also played for the Birds in 1972, appearing in a total
of 90 games over the two seasons.

Oates
was named manager of the Orioles midway through the 1991 season. In 1992, he
led the club to an 89-73 record and in 1993 the team went 85-77, earning Oates
The Sporting News Manager of the Year honors. He served as Baltimore’s manager
through the strike-shortened 1994 season, compiling a 291-270 overall record.
His .519 winning percentage is 5th-highest in Orioles history.

Miller and Oates will be formally inducted into the Orioles
Hall of Fame as part of pre-game ceremonies at Camden Yards on Saturday, August
7, prior to the Orioles’ 7:05 game against the Chicago White Sox. Longtime
Orioles Baseball Operations employee and current Coordinator of Bluefield
Operations Lenny Johnston will receive the Herb Armstrong Award, given to
non-uniformed personnel who have made significant contributions to the ballclub
and the game of baseball.

 Miller, Oates and
Johnston will be honored at a luncheon sponsored by the Oriole Advocates,
founders of the Orioles Hall of Fame, on Friday, August 6, in the Warehouse at
Camden Yards. Tickets for the luncheon are available by calling 410-466-8242.
Tickets for the induction ceremony and the Orioles-White Sox game on Saturday,
August 7 are available at http://www.orioles.com or by calling 1-888-848-BIRD.

No Orioles baseball today…

michigan-state-bb.jpg

  • But I’ll still be talking
    about it. You can catch me on the HotStove.com
    Live show
    at 3 p.m. ET discussing the latest news from Orioles
    camp. 
  • I also went on ESPN 980 on
    Saturday. You can catch that video here.
  • I recently spoke
    with Camden Chat
    about becoming the newest Orioles beat writer and
    what that really means.
  • And one
    final shameless plug for those of you teasing me on Twitter: how
    about those

    Spartans?

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The closer's getting closer

Mike Gonzalez tossed a scoreless seventh inning on
Sunday afternoon, which marked his first official game outing since throwing an
inning against the Twins on March 8.  He
pitched around a two-out double and looked better than he has all spring.

“I think Gonzalez answered the bell as well,” manager Dave Trembley
said after the topic had switched from starter Kevin Millwood. “

His arm speed was improved.  Velocity was there,
sharpness. It seemed like he had some energy. Seemed like he was locked in to
pitch in a big league game.”

The Orioles new closer, Gonzalez left a “B”-squad game on the 13th
with lower back tightness and only pitched to two batters.  After several days of just treatment and light
catch, he threw eight pitches in a Minor League game between the Orioles and the
Red Sox on Friday afternoon.

Gonzalez was pleased with Sunday’s
outing and said his back is getting better each time out. He estimated that it
was at about 80 percent on Friday and 95 percent on Sunday, with his back only
locking up twice -both times in the bullpen during his warm up session.

Once I got into the game, I
didn’t feel a thing, so it’s definitely feeling much better,” said Gonzalez.

The hope is he will be 100 percent by his next outing, which
right now is scheduled for Wednesday in Jupiter.

Trembley said he talked to Gonzalez a few days ago and was
assured that Gonzalez would be ready come Opening Day.

“[I said] what you need to do is start getting in some games
for me,” Trembley said of his conversation with Gonzalez.  “You need to make a couple trips. And I’ll
trust that what you’re telling me is, in fact, going to occur.  And he said, ‘Dave I’ll give you everything I
got [Opening Day] April 6. And I said, ‘Mike, no problem. And here we go.”

Sunday’s outing marked Gonzalez’s second scoreless outing this spring, lowering his ERA to 3.00. In three official innings, Gonzalez has allowed a run on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

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