A few musings and updates..

A few minor notes today before the Orioles open up the second-half of the season with Friday’s series against Toronto. The Blue Jays are already here, and have a workout planned at Camden Yards. Newest Jay Yunel Escobar, who was acquired in yesterday’s trade with the Braves, will make his Toronto debut this weekend.

Second baseman Brian Roberts has been playing in the GCL since Monday and will likely move to Double-A Bowie after that. If he stays on track, he could hit the Aug. 1 deadline Roberts set for himself on the radio a few weeks back. Luke Scott also started his rehab in the Gulf Coast earlier today.

Mike Gonzalez will throw Friday for Triple-A Norfolk and either the 18th and 19th or the 18th and 20th, depending on whether the organization wants to see him throw back-to-back. His velocity has been fine -clocked in the low to mid-90s – and he’s thrown three pitches for strikes, according to director of player development John Stockstill. But the organization doesn’t want to rush him along and wants to make sure Gonzalez is ready. Given how the bullpen — particularly closer Alfredo Simon — has done, it’s a smart move.  I’ve been asked a few times about whether Gonzalez will be handed the closer role when he returns. I know interim manager Juan Samuel would have eased him back in, and I believe even if the Orioles make a manager swap before then, that will still be the case.

Speaking of manager moves, there’s been a lot of speculation as to when the Orioles will announce the hiring of Buck Showalter, the clear front-runner and guy rumored to be all but a certainty for Baltimore. Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reported the other day that a source said Saturday, which would make sense since it’s Andy MacPhail’s state of the team address to season ticket holders. But Price went on to cite another source as saying its not imminent. There you have it. Lot of rumors, lots of speculation and very little known for sure. It would surprise me if the Orioles made an announcement this week, since it seems rushed and MacPhail is anything but. It would make more sense to hold off for a few days beyond that, work out coaching staffs and ease Samuel out in a seamless, classy, manner, which is what he deserves.

Either way, it will be an interesting homestand for Baltimore, who take on Tampa Bay after Toronto. I blogged the Blue Jays-Orioles pitching matchups the other day and the Rays will send Wade Davis, Matt Garza and James Shields to the mound for next week’s series.

I’ve gotten a few emails about the status of Brandon Snyder, who is listed as having a right shoulder strain. Snyder’s actually on the DL with more of a rib/back strain and told me over the weekend that he’s closing in on a rehab assignment. It’s been a frustrating year for him, and for a lot of players in Norfolk. It’s easy to forget that given the struggles of the big league club, but looking around the Norfolk clubhouse you see guys who collectively have had a down year due to injury or just underperformance. 

Nolan Reimold has been playing first base ever since Snyder hit the DL about a month ago, and I’ll have a story up later on Reimold’s struggles and how he plans on getting back to Baltimore. The beauty of baseball is that the first-half of the season is already in the books and there’s nothing anyone can do about it but move forward.

For those asking me why the O’s don’t just tank the rest of the season intentionally to get the top draft choice, I present this report which says college star Anthony Rendon, will have ankle surgery. Rendon is considered to be the leading choice for next year’s No. 1 pick in the Draft and is definitely on the Orioles radar. He still could be, but the point is you never know what could happen. I don’t think anyone in the Orioles clubhouse was planning on purposely losing, anyhow.

A reminder for Saturday’s game: Brooks jerseys will not be available.
Instead, the 1st 25k fans 21+ will get a Brooks t-shirt and also voucher for
jersey when it arrives.
  

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