June 2010

Scott likely headed to DL

BALTIMORE– Luke Scott is likely headed to the 15-day disabled list. Scott left Wednesday’s Orioles-Athletics game with a left hamstring strain after blasting a one-out, solo homer in the bottom of the seventh inning.

His blast came on the heels of teammate Ty Wigginton’s homer, and as he rounded first base Scott shortened up his stride and limped around the basepaths, occasionally grabbing his left leg.

Scott gingerly touched home plate, pausing to point both fingers to the heavens to cause thunderous applause from the crowd.

Television cameras showed Scott carefully walking down the dugout steps with head athletic trainer Richard Bancells. The homer broke a 6-6 tie and capped a productive night for Scott, who walked three times and scored three of Baltimore’s first seven runs.

Scott said afterward that he wasn’t sure his ball had cleared the fence, and was hustling around first base when the injury occurred. He acknowledged the strain would likely sideline him for two weeks.

Gonzalez could be post All-Star break

BALTIMORE–While initially targeting an early July return, Orioles closer Michael Gonzalez won’t be activated for this weekend’s series in Boston and could be facing a post All-Star break return.

Gonzalez arrived in Bowie, Md. on Wednesday and will start a rehab assignment for the O’s Double-A affiliate on Friday.  He is scheduled to pitch Friday, Sunday and Tuesday for the Baysox which means the earliest he could rejoin the O’s would be for the last leg of a 10-game road trip in Texas.

However, Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz didn’t rule out the possibility that Gonzalez wouldn’t be ready until the All-Star break, and called the lefty’s rehab program “his Spring Training.”

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail acknowledged on Wednesday that Gonzalez is farther behind than outfielder Felix Pie, who will likely rejoin the team for Monday’s series in Detroit.

Gonzalez appeared in two games for short-season Aberdeen this week, allowing two earned runs on five hits over 2 1/3 innings, and was clocked in the 90-91 mph range. While his velocity raised concerns in the initial stages of his rehab -when he was clocked in the mid 80s – Gonzalez’s location is what has kept his hindered his recent progress.

“His command was not where we want it to be,” interim manager Juan Samuel said of Gonzalez’s outing on Tuesday night. “His breaking ball is not where we think it should be. We’re going to continue to monitor his progress.”

Gonzalez (left shoulder strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list -later transferred to the 60-day DL – on April 10. He appeared in three games for the Orioles, pitching to a 18.00 ERA with two blown saves.

Os/As lineups and pregame tidbits

*Jim Johnson (slight right elbow tear) has been shut down for 3-5 days.
*Felix Pie won’t join the team until Detroit, most likely.  The Orioles want him to play the field more and get some AB’s so he’s ready to go right when he’s activated and they don’t have to ease him in.
*Michael Gonzalez is having command issues and will throw for Double-A Bowie on Friday and Sunday. Gonzalez is farther behind Pie, and probably won’t rejoin the team until after the All-Star break. “It’s like Spring Training for him,” pitching coach Rick Kranitz said of Gonzalez.

Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Scott Moore 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Kevin Millwood RHP

Coco Crisp CF
Daric Barton 1B
Conor Jackson LF
Kurt Suzuki C
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Mark Ellis 2B
Gabe Gross DH
Chad Pennington SS
Ben Sheets RHP

Gonzo, JJ, Pie updates

Orioles right-hander Jim Johnson has been shut down for 3-5 days with tightness and minor discomfort in his elbow. Johnson will rest and be reevaluated, which is what the team’s medical staff recommended according to president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.

MacPhail also said Felix Pie will not return for Boston and will need to play a few more games. Michael Gonzalez is further behind and will likely not rejoin the team until the Texas trip on July 8 at the earliest. Gonzalez will throw Sunday for Double-A Bowie.

Meredith accepts assignment in Norfolk

Sidearmer Cla Meredith has cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. Meredith was taken off the Orioles 40-man roster and exposed to waivers with the Orioles trade for Jake Fox. 

Speaking of Norfolk, the Tides lost 2-1 to Charlotte today. Troy Patton allowed two runs (one earned) over six innings, while Josh Bell had two hits.

Zach Britton will make his Triple-A debut against the Knights on Thursday.

Tillman, Salazar named IL All-Stars

Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Chris Tillman and outfielder Jeff Salazar were named to the International League All-Star squad today.

The team consists of 30 IL standouts who will take on the Pacific Coast League’s best in the 23rd annual Triple-A All-Star Game, slated for July 14 in Lehigh Valley. First pitch is set for 7:07 p.m. eastern time and can be seen live on MLB Network.

Tillman is 7-4 with a 3.07 ERA combined in two separate stints with the Tides. Salazar entered Wednesday afternoon’s game hitting .284 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs.

A note on Klein

Orioles third-rounder Dan Klein (6-1) took the loss for UCLA Tuesday night after working 3 1/3 innings for the Bruins

South Carolina’s Whit Merrifield connected on Klein’s 2-0 pitch for a game-winning RBI single with one out in the 11th
inning to cap a 2-1, College World Series-clinching victory.

A right-hander with three-plus pitches (with the potential for a fourth) Klein was the Orioles’ top arm in this year’s Draft. The O’s selected high school shortstop Manny Machado with the No. 3 overall pick and didn’t have a second-round selection because of signing Type-A free agent Michael Gonzalez.

'62 Mets on this year's Orioles

MLB.com columnist Marty Noble recently wrote a column centering on the chances of this year’s Orioles team possibly giving the 120-loss ’62 Mets squad a run for their money. You can read the whole story here, but I excerpted some of the highlights…

Al Jackson: “…Losing 120 times was different. It was every day. And I’d never
been with a losing team in my life.

“You’d wake up in the morning and say, ‘We’ve got a chance tonight.’ But
you’d just be lying. We had no chance. It was dreadful what we went
through. How could you wish that some other team suffered like we did?

“I know the Orioles are going through a tough time, but I don’t think
they can keep up with what we did,” Jackson said. ” I don’t want to hang onto [the
distinction] necessarily. But I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. That
was hard. It was misery.”

“The team was bad. But the memories are good,” Roger Craig said seven
summers ago when the Tigers threatened to wrest away the Mets’

“Some of the guys, I think, want to hang on to it,” Craig said. “It’s
like a pitcher who gives up a real long home run or a historic one. And
he wants to be remembered it. He wants to be remembered for something.”

The Orioles’ four-game winning streak might be the push they need to get out of the woods. They entered Tuesday 23-52 and, as Noble notes, catching the Mets would be a challenge.

“By the time those Mets played their 63rd game, they were well
past the 17 straight losses that left them 24 games behind after 48
games. But they had the 11-game losing streak in July and a 13-game
streak in August. That left them 65 games under .500 and 50 1/2 games
from first place. And they lost 17 of their final 22 games.”

“For their sake,” Jackson said, “I hope the Orioles win some and spare
themselves the misery we had.”

Pie Update

UPDATE 10:05 pm. Felix Pie went 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored in Bowie’s win.

BALTIMORE– Orioles outfielder Felix Pie is hopeful he will be join the team for Friday’s series opener in Boston.

 “I feel good, no pain,” Pie said in a phone interview with MLB.com. “Right now, the hardest thing is seeing pitches [at the plate]. But that will come with more and more [at-bats].”

Pie -who moved his rehab to Double-A Bowie Tuesday night– said the plan is for him to play nine innings in the field and continue to test his upper body strength; hopefully with some plays at the plate.

Pie has been sidelined with an upper back strain -officially landing on the disabled list on April 16 –and said he has been feeling good both in long toss and in making throws from the outfield.  He played nine innings in left field on Sunday at Class-A Advanced Frederick with no lingering soreness the next day.

Pie, who has played five games split between the Gulf Coast League and Frederick, is scheduled to play at Bowie Tuesday and Wednesday and, according to interim manager Juan Samuel, he will be evaluated after that.

“We’ve got some other people keeping an eye on [Pie],” Samuel said. “If they feel he’s anywhere close to joining us, we’ll see how they evaluate him, to see if he’s game ready.”

Samuel wasn’t sure if the team would opt to take a reliever or position player off the 25-man roster for Pie, but said that when the outfielder is activated he plans on using him.

“Obviously, [Corey] Patterson has done a good job,” Samuel said of Patterson, the Orioles everyday left fielder in Pie and Nolan Reimold’s absence. “But if Felix Pie is here and he’s going to play left field, I’ll probably have him lead off.”

Pie is hitting .300 (6-for-20)with two RBIs and four runs scored in his first five rehab games. With his activation looming, Pie said he was “very excited” to get back to helping the big-league club.

“I can’t wait,” Pie said. “I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Os/As lineups and pregame tidbits – Braden scratched

*A’s starter Dallas Braden was scratched with stiffness in his left elbow. Right-hander Vin Mazzaro will make the start instead. The Orioles have removed Jake Fox from the lineup, adding Corey Patterson to left.

*It’s the return of Jake Fox, who was traded a week ago. Fox was in the original lineup but was scratched due to the pitching switch.

The A’s had to change signs a few days ago because of Fox being on the Orioles. I asked a
few A’s if it was a normal thing, they said no. Teams typically only
change signs once or twice a season. Coco Crisp said it wouldn’t be a
problem since he just got back 5 days ago and still hadn’t learned all
the signs. So, go figure.

*Felix Pie will play in Bowie tonight and tomorrow and could be activated for Friday’s series in Boston. Pie sounded optimistic that would be the case and said the big thing is just picking up the ball at the plate; something that figures to get easier over time.

*Michael Gonzalez will throw an inning out of the bullpen for Aberdeen tonight. It’s the first time he’s going to come out of the ‘pen and throw. His velocity was around 90-91 last time, according to interim manager Juan Samuel. And the homer he gave up was on a slider.

Julio Lugo 2B
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Jake Fox DH
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis SS

Brian Matusz LHP

Coco Crisp CF
Daric Barton 1B
Conor Jackson LF
Kurt Suzuki C
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Adam Rosales 2B
Mark Ellis DH
Rajai Davis RF
Pennington SS

Dallas Braden LHP