April 2010

Tillman's no hitter

Chris Tillman just finished a nine-inning no hitter for Triple-A Norfolk, the first nine-inning no-no for the team since 1992. Tillman issued one walk and struck out six in the 105-pitch effort. 63 of his pitches were for strikes.

Tillman lost his first three starts and said the Orioles told him to work on fastball command. But after a solid outing the last time out, he was told to just have some fun.

“Everything kind of fell into place,” Tillman said following Wednesday’s start. “I was pitching around my fastball. I had my curveball when I needed it. I was able to throw my changeup and my cutter.  My catcher [Adam Donachie] did a great job calling pitches. I had three or four great plays behind me.”

Norfolk won the game over Gwinnett, 6-0.

The no-hitter marked Tillman’s second win (2-3) and improved his ERA to 4.05. It received a nice round of applause from the crowd at Camden Yards as well.

Yankees/Os lineups and pregame tidbits

Greetings from Camden Yards, where Jeremy Guthrie will try to give the Orioles their first series win of the year and extend on their two-game win streak. He will be opposed by CC Sabathia in what promises to be an exciting game. Below, some tidbits….

*As expected, Garrett Atkins is starting over rookie Rhyne Hughes. Given that Hughes is a left-handed hitter this makes sense and it in no way means the team is getting away from playing Hughes, who has been red-hot since Saturday’s call up. I talked to Rhyne about whether there’s any animosity between him and Atkins (given that he’s taking away his playing time and started in his place the prior three games) and he said that’s not the case. Atkins has been talking to Hughes every chance he gets and has encouraged him to keep it up. Always good to hear.
 
*Brian Roberts continues to be plagued by medical issues. He was dealing with a flu-like illness and some gastrological issues so he’s getting an endoscopy Thursday.  He is still not doing any baseball-related activities and has been sidelined since leaving April 9′s home opener.

*Alfredo Simon said he can pitch tonight if needed. Trembley said the team would prefer to be cautious given that Simon just switched to the bullpen barely two weeks ago. We’ll see what happens.

*Adam Jones will continue to be in the lineup despite his struggles. Trembley said there’s no replacing Jones and he’s confident the centerfield will come through his offensive slump. At times, Jones looks great, but Tuesday he struggled again, going 1-for-5 and slamming down his helmet after a sixth-inning strikeout. The Orioles lineup desperately needs him to get back and to get consistent.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 2B
Miguel Tejada 3B
Matt Wieters C
Garrett Atkins 1B
Nolan Reimold DH
Lou Montanez LF
Cesar Izturis SS
Jeremy Guthrie RHP

YANKEES LINEUP

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF
CC Sabathia LHP

Look for Bergesen to start Saturday

I blogged this earlier, but wanted to make sure it didn’t lost in the pregame tidbit shuffle: Brad Bergesen is going to start Saturday.
It’s not official, but the club can’t really make it official without a corresponding roster move (likely a reliever). Bergesen’s been the leadoff candidate all along and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail confirmed nothing has changed.
Although a lot of people have asked me about bringing up Jake Arrieta, the Orioles aren’t going to call him up for a debut against the Red Sox in front of a packed stadium. When they call up Arrieta, it will be for good, not for a spot start. He’s an important part of their future. Bergesen, though, is part of their immediate plans.
 
For more on Bergesen’s Triple-A start, I talked to him Sunday night and that story is up here.

Koji/Gonzo updates & Perez DFA'ed

Koji Uehara appeared in his first rehab outing for Double-A Bowie tonight, tossing 11 of his 15 pitches for strikes. He appeared in one inning against Erie, allowing a hit and picking up a strikeout. He will also throw on Thursday with no specific plans beyond that.

Closer Mike Gonzalez continues to rehab in Sarasota and has been working on strengthening the area around his left shoulder. He said if he stays on track, he will pick up a ball and begin a throwing program on Monday.

Also, a few people asked about the decision to remove Wilfrido Perez from the 40-man roster, a move that cleared a spot for Alfredo Simon to join the Orioles bullpen. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said the organization was hopeful Perez would clear waivers, since another team would have to put Perez on their 40-man roster if they claimed him. However, they felt Pedro Viola -who they claimed off waivers from Cincinnati – had slightly more upside.
The 25-year-old Perez was 0-1 with three saves and a 10.80 ERA, including five walks and five strikeouts, in five games with Double-A Bowie.

Yankees/Os lineups and pregame tidbits

The Yankees are in town and Orioles right-hander Kevin Millwood will look for his first win tonight against the defending World Champions.

*In case you missed it, the Orioles made a roster move earlier today, purchasing the contract of Alfredo Simon.
*Brian Roberts saw Dr. Lee Riley yesterday and there is no news. He’s not ready to start doing any baseball stuff, and although he was at Camden Yards on Tuesday, did not make himself available to the media.
*Garrett Atkins was not in the Orioles lineup for the third consecutive game, and to his credit he is saying all the right things. He will get the start against lefty CC Sabathia tomorrow (since Rhyne Hughes is a left-handed hitter, Atkins is a better matchup), but this is an interesting situation to watch. Trembley said whether the team platoons or whether one guys gets the bulk of first base duties has to do with how they perform at the plate.
*Koji Uehara is scheduled to throw an inning for Double-A Bowie tonight as the first outing of his rehab assignment.
*It’s looking increasingly likely that Brad Bergesen will make Saturday’s start against the Red Sox. He’s the leadoff candidate for the spot and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail confirmed nothing has changed. The club could decide to designate a reliever to make room for Bergesen. For more on Bergesen’s Triple-A start, I talked to him Sunday night and that story is up here

ORIOLES LINEUP
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Matt Wieters C
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 2B
Rhyne Hughes 1B
Nolan Reimold LF
Cesar Izturis SS
Kevin Millwood RHP

YANKEES LINEUP

Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posad Ca
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher DH
Randy Winn RF
Phil Hughes RHP

Mickolio sent down, Simon contract purchased

Seeking help for a beleaguered bullpen, the Orioles selected the contract of Alfredo Simon from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned Kam Mickolio back to the Tides, designating left-handed pitcher Wilfrido Perez for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster.

The move was made prior to Tuesday’s series-opener against the New York Yankees.

The 28-.year-old Simon was 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA (17.0IP, 3ER), five walks and 14 strikeouts in four games (three starts) with the Tides.

Mickolio was recalled on April 15 and pitched to a 7.36 ERA over 3 2/3 innings with three walks and four strikeouts in three games. 

Orioles around town this week

Here are some upcoming events this week as the Orioles get ready for six-game homestand against the Yankees and Red Sox….

RIGHT SIDE FOUNDATION “FUN FOR 21″ EVENT
On Tuesday, The Right Side Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by Nick Markakis and his wife, Christina, will host a group of twenty-one kids from the Casey Cares Foundation at the Maryland Science Center as part of their “Fun for 21″ program.  The kids from Casey Cares will have the opportunity to meet the Nick and Christina, tour the Science Center, view an IMAX movie and enjoy a complimentary lunch provided by ARAMARK.  This is the first of six “Fun for 21″ events scheduled for 2010.
 
GARRETT ATKINS ESPN ZONE VISIT
On Wednesday, Atkins will visit the ESPNZone in Baltimore from noon to 1 p.m.  During his visit he will greet fans and sign autographs, as well as participate in a Q&A session with fans hosted by Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter.
 
NOLAN REIMOLD AUTOGRAPH SIGNING
On Saturday, Reimold will sign autographs and meet fans at the Slavie Federal Savings Bank’s Customer Appreciation Day from noon-1 p.m. The Oriole Bird will also make an appearance. The event will be held at Slavie’s Bel Air branch, located at 1614 East Churchville Road in Bel Air, MD.

O's to Honor Jackie Robinson Foundation

The Orioles will honor a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar in a special pre-game ceremony before Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees.

Fana Aragaw, a member of the Extra Innings Graduate Fellowship, will be presented with a #42 jersey by outfielder Adam Jones.  Aragaw graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 with a BS in Biology and is currently at the University of Maryland Dental School, slated to receive her DDS in 2011. Aragaw was one of over 1,300 young men and women who were able to attend college thanks to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Major League Baseball and the Orioles.

The Orioles all wore Robinson’s No. 42 jersey on April 15th, the first day Robinson appeared in a Major League uniform and the day MLB has officially made Jake Robinson Day. Each player’s authenticated game-worn, autographed #42 jersey was auctioned at http://www.orioles.com and the auction raised over $8,600 to benefit the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Postgame Meredith, Hughes and Hernandez

More on the Orioles win today at Fenway Park. Here are some of the post-game quotes that didn’t make it in my game story.

Cla Meredith- who recorded his first save in his 272nd career relief appearance.
“I’m just happy to get a chance to get the ball in my hand and get the job done for the ballclub.”

Is it better here as a former Red Sox, to do it at Fenway Park?

“I think every reliever might perform a little bit better when the chips are on the line. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way. But it certainly helps you out a little bit when you are in Fenway Park. We have been scuffling as a ballclub and you get an opportunity to get us in the win column and it definitely helps you out a little bit.”

“It is big [to pull out the win]. If you look at any good team around the league and the one-run games, the close games are the ones that they win and they define you as a ballclub. Certainly not what I did but what the boys did out there today, hanging in there, coming back, throwing some runs up on the board, maybe that will springboard us and we’ll have a nice day off tomorrow and we’ll try to get rolling.”

Starter David Hernandez on watching the team put up some runs

“We have a good lineup, it’s only a matter of time before we start clicking and the last two games we have hit the ball pretty well. Hopefully the runs will show up because of it.”
Hernandez had to finish up his workout and was watching the game in the clubhouse with some of the pitchers.

“We were watching the delay, so we were hearing the Red Sox fans cheering, and we were like, oh, it’s probably not a good thing coming up. So it was pretty tough watching it in here.

“We eventually went into the backroom and they were showing it live. We couldn’t take the 10 second delay and hearing fans cheer and what not.”

Rhyne Hughes

“When Wiggy caught that last out, that feeling was like nothing else. This place was rocking, those guys were trying to make a comeback, it was a lot of fun.”

Has this sunk in yet?

“Last night I think adrenaline was kicking in big time but today I settled down a little more. And that’s what I said yesterday, I was talking to Luke [Scott], I said, ‘I just went to get past the wow stage and get to playing ball’. There’s situations that are going to come up up here that I haven’t been in, but I’m just going to try to stay relaxed and let it stay the same game.”
 
“Sure it’s a big relief, we finally get one. To finally come out on top, it feels really good. Winning always feels good, it makes everything better.”

Bergesen on his Triple-A outing

Brad Bergesen made his first start for Triple-A Norfolk Sunday afternoon, and allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings. He tossed 56 of his 81 pitches for strikes, fanning four, and didn’t issue a walk in Norfolk’s 7-2 win over Charlotte.

Bergesen’s sinker would appear to be on track given that he had 14 ground outs and only two fly outs. The Orioles are hoping Bergesen can get on his stuff back in time to make Saturday’s scheduled start in Baltimore. Was that enough?

“I saw a handful of sinkers today that I hadn’t seen since July,” Bergesen said in a phone interview. “And there were still ones that were flat that I got away with here.”

Does he think it’s all fixed?

“I don’t know, its always tough, if you had a good outing down here would that transfer to an OK outing up there?” Bergesen said. “Would it be just as good?”

“I felt good, I’ve been working with [Norfolk pitch coach Mike] Griffin for the last four days and I’ve had some good chats with him and had some good bullpen sessions with him. I was with him in ’08 so I really trust in everything he has to tell me and I really take his opinions into consideration.”
 
Bergesen said he hasn’t heard anything from the Orioles pertaining to Saturday’s start and didn’t want to get his hopes up. Following Sunday’s win in Boston, pitching coach Rick Kranitz went into manager Dave Trembley’s office where Bergesen’s start was likely discussed.

There’s no official word, but I’ll have more details and analysis from Trembley and Kranitz up on Orioles.com for Monday’s off day. If Bergesen doesn’t get the nod it’ll be either relievers Jason Berken or Mark Hendrickson or a call-up for Jake Arrieta, who has been lights out in Triple-A.

See you all back in Baltimore!

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