September 2010

Arrieta shut down, will remove spur

BALTIMORE– Rookie starter Jake Arrieta will not pitch again for the rest of the season and is tentatively scheduled to have a bone spur on his right elbow removed by team doctor Andrew Cosgarea on Wednesday , a preemptive procedure that the Orioles decided on Saturday.

“The number of innings and the bone spur [at the same time] it just worked out funny like that,” said Arrieta, who finished the season 22 2/3 innings above his previous career high.  “If I didn’t have tightness in my triceps [following Tuesday’s start] this wouldn’t have even been an issue, I probably wouldn’t even have this done.

If Arrieta would get another start was already 50-50 and manager Buck Showalter said the team was leaning toward shutting  Arrieta down following Tuesday’s win, which put him at 173 1/3 innings. Arrieta was dealing with tightness on Wednesday and a precautionary MRI Saturday afternoon revealed no ligament damage, just the bone spur on Arrieta’s right elbow.  Showalter said the team already knew about the spur, which Arrieta estimates he’s had since at least college, but the thought was if they removed it now it wouldn’t disrupt his offseason.

“There was a risk where if I don’t having it done, going into camp I’m fine, maybe May or June it starts to act up a little bit and I’d have to have something done,” Arrieta said of the spur, which has never caused him any pain, just some soreness. “I just think it’s the best route to where I don’t miss any time.”

Added Showalter:”[Arrieta’s] in a real good spot inning-wise. He’s healthy. One of the first things he heard is guys taking about how good the ligament looks and everything.”

The procedure could actually help Arrieta -who went 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA in 18 starts for Baltimore -and his performance in the long run.  The 24-year-old said he was told he would have an improved range of motion and could add a tick of velocity once he’s fully recovered, which is expected to be around mid-October.

“In the big pictures of things it’s not that disappointing. I would have liked to make that start [Tuesday at Boston], but if it’s going to be beneficial for my career and my future to shut it down and have this done now,  then I’m all for it,” said Arrieta, who credits cleaning up his mechanics for his solid end of the season numbers.

“It’s not worth jeopardizing your future over one start.”

Asked to reflect on his rookie season, Arrieta said he would call it a success, and Showalter –who took the reins on Aug. 2 — agreed.

“You can see why people are high on him,” Showalter said of Arrieta, who tossed six scoreless innings in his final outing. “I can see why he’s had challenges at time too…he knows he’s going to come in next year. And he’s got a chance to make our club.”

Tuesday’s start at Fenway Park wil now be either long man Rick VandenHurk or Wednesday’s starter, Brad Bergesen. The O’s are already on a six-man rotation, so Bergesen wouldn’t have to pitch on short rest and Showalter said much of the order of those two depends on if VandenHurk is used in Saturday’s game or not.

Millwood on the fireworks

Orioles starter Kevin Millwood was not a fan of the premature firework that went off after he allowed a leadoff homer to Alex Rodriguez in the second-inning of Friday’s 4-3 loss. The usually reserved Millwood had no problems airing his opinion, twice, post-game.

“It was a little shocking that we shot off fireworks for an opposing team’s home run. That wasn’t the best thing in the world,” he said. 

“{The Yankees] were a lot more aggressive tonight than they normally are,” said Millwood, who held New York to one run over seven innings and took a no-decision. “I guess it was a good thing that  I was throwing my fastball where I wanted to for the most part except for right before the fireworks.

Second Guessing

The Orioles gave the Yankees their third win in 11 games -two of which have come from closer Koji Uehara’s arm – and the O’s clubhouse afterward were left wondering what might have been, questioning the pitch that came prior to Alex Rodriguez’s homer.

“The pitch before the home run, the fastball inside, I didn’t get that call,” Uehara said through interpreter Jiwon Bang of his 1-2 offering, which home plate umpire Ted Barrett ruled a ball. “[I’m] a little disappointed.”

Said A-Rod: “I didn’t think it was close. I thought it was a good no-call.

“From where I was looking, I could see  [the Orioles] whole dugout. And their whole dugout literally jumped like out of the dugout hoping or expecting that to be strike three. So they laughed at me and I laughed at them a little. It was over the white line. I thought the first pitch was borderline, and he called it a strike. Every pitch after I thought was worse than that.”

Manager Buck Showalter was in agreement with Koji and said the pitch “was close. It was obviously a better pitch than strike one to [Matt] Wieters [in the ninth inning],”said Showalter. “I’ll tell you that.”

“It was a good pitch,” Orioles starter Kevin Millwood said of Uehara’s 1-2 offering.”I mean, it was a ball. But it was a good pitch. You can’t fault the umpire for calling a ball a ball.”

“Well I can’t change the results,” said Uehara, who declined to talk about if the non-call affected him.

“It’s not that I’m going to die from it. So just start all over tomorrow.”

Orioles/Yankees lineups and pregame tidbits

*Brian Matusz said he felt “100 percent” throwing his bullpen session Friday afternoon and expects to start on Monday at Fenway Park.
*Jake Arrieta, who the Os are deciding whether to give another start to, got some precautionary treatment today and said he has to see the team’s doctors to be evaluated. Arrieta did some long toss and said he felt great and it looks right now that manager Buck Showalter will lean toward having Arrieta make that start.
*Triple-A Norfolk interim manager Bobby Dickerson joined the O’s coaching staff on Friday and will be here the rest of the season.
*Third overall pick Manny Machado will be here Saturday to take pregame batting practice. If you missed it yesterday, I talked to Machado and some people who know him best. Story is up here.
*Also, if you are wondering if Robert Andino has ever played third, like he is tonight, he said he did back in his Marlins days. He took some reps there this spring and you have to think if he’s going to be considered for a spot on next year’s squad, the more versatile the better.


Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Felix Pie LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Robert Andino 3B
Cesar Izturis SS

Kevin Millwood RHP


Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Lance Berkman DH
Austin Kearns
Brett Gardner LF
Fransico Cervelli C

A.J. Burnett RHP

Machado coming to Baltimore Saturday

BALTIMORE– The Orioles are expected to officially introduce third overall Draft pick Manny Machado prior to Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees.  

The 18-year-old Machado -who agreed to terms just minutes shy of this year’s Trade Deadline –  will take pregame batting practice at Camden Yards with the current O’s and is expected to take part in the team’s unofficial instructional league that starts next week.

Considered one of three standalone talents in this year’s Draft, Machado made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League on August 27 and hit his first professional homer, a two-run shot, in the following game. In seven games for short-season Aberdeen he hit .345 (10-for29) with a double, a triple, three RBIs and three walks. Following the IronBirds’ season, Machado worked out with Class-A Advanced Frederick, although he was not officially part of the team’s roster.

The athletic infielder hit .639 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI in his senior season at Brito, and he also led Team USA to a gold medal in the 18-and-under Pan-American games in Venezuela last summer.<p>

Bell on not sliding

Given last night’s blowout, it wasn’t a huge play by any means. But I did get a few emails asking about why Josh Bell –who was running from first base– scored standing up when there was a throw to the plate during the six-run seventh inning.

Here’s what Bell had to say about that play:

“When you are running you kind of get an idea in  your head of how much time you have. Yesterday
I figured if the ball hadn’t been there yet maybe they would have cut it off,” said Bell, who scored on Robert Andino’s bases-clearing double.  “By
the time I got close, I saw [Cesar] Izturis he was going down [with his hands] but by
then it was too late.”

Bell said he saw Izturis right at the last second, and Matt Wieters –who was also standing on the on-deck circle — didn’t make any motions to help. 

“A lot of times you are in such a zone, they might be doing
something, you are looking at them but not really looking at them” Bell said. “It was too late for me to slide, like the last time. I figured
out I was already past him.”

This isn’t the first time Bell hasn’t slid, and he said he didn’t receive any specific reprimand from manager Buck Showalter. But in the future, when in doubt, he will  get down.

“Oh, I’ll be sliding now,” Bell said.

Os/Jays lineups and pregame tidbits

*Touted prospect Kyle Drabek will make his Major League debut tonight as the Orioles go for the sweep…

*Brian Roberts is back in the lineup after taking a day to rest his right knee, which was struck by a pitch in his eighth inning at-bat on Monday night. Luke Scott is at first so just manager Buck Showalter can get another look at him there, and have Corey Patterson in the lineup.

*Jake Arrieta will throw a bullpen on Saturday and depending on how that goes, could make his next start in Boston. The original thought was he would be shut down after last night’s start, but the Orioles want him to pitch in Fenway Park, since he has yet to do that. Actually, technically he has pitched at Fenway, facing Pawtucket while with Triple-A Norfolk. But, you get the gist.

*Brian Matusz felt good playing some long toss with Jeremy Guthrie today and said he’s on track to make his next start, which would be Monday at Boston. Matusz took yesterday off after leaving Monday’s start with a left triceps contusion.

*Julio Lugo, who is suffering from sinus isuses and headaches, will see an ENT on Friday afternoon and won’t be available for the week. Lugo and the Orioles hope to know more after that appointment.

Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Luke Scott 1B
Felix Pie LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt WIeters C
Corey Patterson DH
Cesar Izturis SS

Brad Bergesen RHP

DeWayne Wise RF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista 3B
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
Adam Lind DH
John Buck C
Travis Snider LF

RHP Kyle Drabek

Roberts exits, too

 Orioles second baseman Brian
exited Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays prior to the ninth
inning, after being struck in the right knee by Jason Frasor’s pitch in the
bottom of the eighth inning.

Roberts was hit by Frasor’s first-pitch
fastball and limped gingerly to first base where he was greeted by assistant
athletic trainer Brian Ebel and manager Buck Showalter. Roberts took several
steps off the bag to test his knee but remained in the tie game, representing
the go-ahead run.  Ensuring batter Robert
Andino flied out to end the frame and Roberts did not return.

The O’s offensive catalyst, Roberts
belted a solo homer in the first inning and singled in the third. He exited
with a .286 batting average, including four homers and 15 RBIs despite missing
the entire first half with a herniated disc in his lower back.

A sneak peek

Tuesday’s t-shirt is manager Buck Showalter, as I wrote in today’s notebook. Here’s a peek:

showalter shirt.jpg

Matusz exits

Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz exited prior to the second
inning of Monday’s game against the Blue Jays with a left triceps contusion.

Matusz was struck by Yunel Escobar’s comebacker in the
second at-bat of the game and play was momentarily suspended while he conferred
with assistant athletic trainer Brian Ebel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz.
Manager Buck Showalter, who was already on the field to contest first base
umpire Bruce Dreckman’s ruling, also came over to the mound and after several
warmup pitches Matusz remained in the game. But it would be the last frame, as
Rick VandenHurk replaced Matusz to start the second inning.

Matusz retired Jose Bautista on foul popup and got Lyle
Overbay swinging to pitch around Vernon Well’s double. He threw 14 of 24 pitches for strikes. The 23-year-old Matusz was named the American League’s Rookie of the month in August and entered
Monday’s start 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his previous four outings.