July 2010

Os/Blue Jays lineups and pregame tidbits

*Brian Roberts will join Double-A Bowie on Monday and could rejoin the Orioles on this current homestand. He is believed to be about a week to 10 days away, according to interim manager Juan Samuel.

*Luke Scott is expected to drive to Baltimore after playing in Sunday’s Gulf Coast League game and will likely rejoin Roberts on rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie.

*Michael Gonzalez allowed a pair of runs on three hits and a walk over 2/3 inning at Triple-A Norfolk last night and is scheduled to pitch again on Sunday. His rehab assignment ends on Wednesday and the Orioles will have to decide what to do with him. The obvious answer would be to activate him but Samuel was noncommittal on that, saying the organization would have to make up its mind on what to do.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Corey Patteron DH
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Craig Tatum C
Julio Lugo 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Jeremy Guthrie RHP

BLUE JAYS LINEUP:
Fred Lewis LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Adam Lind DH
Aaron Hill 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Jose Molina C

Brandon Morrow RHP

B-Rob could rejoin the Os on the homestand

Brian Roberts is close to coming back –about a week to 10 days — and interim manager Juan Samuel said it’s possible B-Rob could be in the lineup during the O’s current homestand.

Roberts has been rehabbing with the Gulf Coast League Orioles since Monday and will join Double-A Bowie this upcoming Monday. Samuel recently spoke to Roberts and said this is the most positive he’s heard him since the injury. Roberts took two at-bats right-handed today and the rest of his ABs have been as a lefty. He’s in no reported pain and told Samuel he would try to pressure him to put him in Monday’s lineup, claiming he needed 15 more ABs.

According to Samuel, that’s not going to happen on Monday, but B-Rob is very close.

What about Bell?

Josh Bell is not in Friday’s starting lineup and interim manager Juan Samuel acknowledged it will be hard to get some at-bats for the rookie, who was recalled (again) after Matt Wieters went to the DL.

“I might have to give one of our veteran players an off day to get him in there,” Samuel said. “I’d like to see Josh Bell get some at-bats here and we have to try to do anything possible to get him in there. So, we will see the next couple days how this thing pans out.”

The 23-year-old Bell was optioned on July 10 to make room for starter Chris Tillman, but he hadn’t been added to Triple-A Norfolk’s active roster given the All-Star break and the 72-hour rule on reporting.

Bell was batting .266 (76-for-286) with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs in 74 games for the Tides. He made his Major League debut for the Orioles on July 1, and batted .200 (3-for-15) in five games.
 

Os/ Blue Jays lineups and pregame tidbits

*Matt Wieters is on the DL for Josh Bell, but it’s only expected to be the minimum 15 day stay. Interim manager Juan Samuel said Wieters could have played Sunday or Monday but they didn’t want to push it.
*As expected, Craig Tatum will get the bulk of the catching duties with Jake Fox scheduled to back him up. The plan for now is Fox to catch Sunday’s game.
*Michael Gonzalez and Luke Scott are expected back within the next week. Gonzalez will pitch tonight at Triple-A Norfolk while Scott started his rehab for the Gulf Coast League on Thursday.
*Kevin Millwood threw a light side session with no pain yesterday and was planning on throwing a bullpen this afternoon. He told me he did a lot of resting (ie. no golf) and Samuel said he’s about a week away from returning.
*Down in Sarasota, Jim Johnson threw off flat ground on Monday and Wednesday and said in a text that the outings went “as well as can be expected”. He’s in no pain, and will throw again tomorrow afternoon. Johnson hopes to get up on the mound next week. Lou Montanez is still rehabbing his oblique and has not started to get in rehab games. He estimates he’s about a week away from that.
*Brian Roberts has been rehabbing with the GCL but will move to Double-A Bowie next week. He could still hit that Aug. 1 deadline he mentioned, but Samuel didn’t want to be confined to that. 

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Corey Patterson DH
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Craig Tatum C
Julio Lugo 2B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brad Bergesen RHP

BLUE JAYS LINEUP:
Fred Lewis LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Adam Lind DH
Aaron Hill 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
John Buck C
Edward Encarnacion 3B

J.C. Romero LHP

Dickerson leaves Tides for a few days

The Orioles affiliate, the Norfolk Tides, will be managed by Minor League Roving Catching Instructor Don Werner until Monday. I’m told interim manager Bobby Dickerson is home for a few days, to make up for the vacation time he lost when promoted from roving Minor League instructor to interim manager. 

This could be nothing. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Dickerson happens to be extremely close to Buck Showalter, who is rumored to be nearing a deal to manage the Orioles. Dickerson played under Showalter while in the Minors and was the Arizona Diamondbacks infield instructor 1998-1999, part of the three years Showalter was at the helm.

I know the two have great respect for each other and that Dickerson would jump at the chance to join a Major League staff in any capacity.

Again, it could be nothing. This is pure speculation on my part, and Dickerson is expected to rejoin the Tides on Monday. Still, it’s rather interesting timing to be taking an extended, non-emergency leave… 

Wieters to DL

BALTIMORE– The Orioles placed catcher Matt Wieters on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring on Thursday, a move that is retroactive to July 10.

Wieters came out of Friday’s game in Texas after stumbling around second base, and did not play the rest of the weekend. Interim manager Juan Samuel told reporters in Arlington that the organization hoped the four days during the All-Star break was enough to quell the recurring injury, which Wieters tweaked the prior series in Detroit.

Now, it appears Wieters will need more time, making backup catcher Craig Tatum the likely choice to assume the bulk of playing time behind the plate.  The O’s recent trade for utility man Jake Fox, who can also catch, will help spell Tatum if needed.

Still, the injury to Wieters is a big blow for an-already beleaguered Baltimore club. The 24-year-old switch-hitter was a mainstay in the Orioles lineup and was batting.245 (66-for-269) with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 77 games. Wieters’ defense has been much improved under the tutelage of new bench coach Jeff Datz and he was beginning to put it together at the plate, posting a .313 average in his last 10 games.

Baltimore will announce a corresponding roster move prior to Friday’s series opener against Toronto.

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.
  

Os/Blue Jays pitchers

Friday July 16: Orioles vs. Blue Jays

RHP Brad Bergesen vs. LHP Ricky Romero

Bergesen fared OK in his last start before the break, but was on the losing end of a 4-2 game against Detroit, yielding four runs over six innings. He will open against Toronto on eight days’ rest and look to continue to establish last season’s form.
Romero is coming off a pair of poor outings. Over his past two starts (July 3 at New York and July 9 against Boston), the left-hander has allowed 17 runs (13 earned) on 12 hits over just five innings. Romero’s last win came on June 16.

Saturday July 17: Orioles vs. Blue Jays

RHP Jeremy Guthrie vs.  RHP Brandon Morrow  

Guthrie allowed four earned runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings against Texas on July 8. After a solid start to the year, he has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his last two outings.
In two July starts, Morrow has no decisions and an 8.10 ERA over 10 innings between outings against the Red Sox and Yankees. In his last turn, the right-hander allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits over just four innings at home against New York.

Sunday July 18: Orioles vs. Blue Jays

LHP Brian Matusz vs. RHP Shawn Marcum

The 23-year-old Matusz tossed one of his shortest outings of the season in Texas, allowing four earned runs over three innings in his last start of the first half. He struck out two and issued four walks in that start.
Marcum is slated to be activated from the disabled list after a bout with inflammation in his right elbow. In his last start on July 1 against the Indians, Marcum lasted four innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.

Mayor Bloomberg, Yogi on Steinbrenner

This is the statement from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on the passing of George Steinbrenner III today. (Also, the flags in front of City Hall Plaza have been lowered to half staff in Steinbrenner’s honor.)

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire Steinbrenner family. This is a sad day not only for Yankee fans, but for our entire City, as few people have had a bigger impact on New York over the past four decades than George Steinbrenner. George had a deep love for New York, and his steely determination to succeed – combined with his deep respect and appreciation for talent and hard work – made him a quintessential New Yorker.

George invested his heart and soul into the Yankees, and his competitive fire helped usher in new eras of Yankee greatness, reclaiming the team’s long tradition of excellence and its position as the most successful franchise in the history of American sports. He was a champion who made New York a better place, and who always gave back to the city he loved. He has left an indelible legacy on the Yankees, on baseball, and on our city, and he leaves us in the only way that would be appropriate: as a reigning world champion. We will be lowering the flags in City Hall Plaza today in honor of his achievements. George was a larger than life New York figure whose passion and drive to succeed will forever be missed.”

Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra also issued this statement

“This is a very sad day for me and Carmen and all of baseball. My sympathies go out to the Steinbrenner family. George was The Boss, make no mistake. He built the Yankees into champions and that’s something nobody can ever deny. He was a very generous, caring, passionate man. George and I had our differences, but who didn’t? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much.”

Angelos on Steinbrenner

 Here’s the statement from Orioles principle owner Peter Angelos on today’s passing of George Steinbrenner. The two actually share a birthday (July 4) and I’m sure the news was just as shocking to Angelos as it was to all of this this morning…

“The Orioles are saddened to learn of the passing of George Steinbrenner. As an active participant in the organizational direction and operations of the New York Yankees, his name is as synonymous with that franchise as any of the legendary athletes who have played in pinstripes. On behalf of the Orioles organization, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Joan, and the members of his family.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 319 other followers