September 2010

Orioles/Rays lineups and tidbits

*Adam Jones will be out until at least Monday. He’s still not 100 percent after getting a cortisone injection in his left shoulder prior to Thursday’s game.

*Chris Tillman arrived in Baltimore late last night and spoke with reporters at length. Will have his quotes up for you later.

Not much news to report as the Os try to snap a season-high three game skid under Buck Showalter’s time at the helm…

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Julio Lugo 3B
Corey Patterson CF
Cesar Izturis SS

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

RAYS LINEUP:

John Jaso C
Ben Zobrist 2B
Carrl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Matt Joyce RF
Brad Hawpe DH
B.J. Upton CF
Jason Bartlett SS

James Shields RHP

Showalter on Bell forgetting the outs

Orioles rookie Josh Bell forgot how many outs there were in last night’s loss to the Red Sox, as he stepped on the third base bag with Marco Scutaro’s grounder and then threw to first for an unnecessary double play in the third inning. The play was harmless, but at this level that can’t happen.

Asked today if it was a concentration thing that was being addressed with Bell, manager Buck Showalter answered: yes and yes.

“I think Josh is trying to get through, whatever, anxiety there might be about the opportunity. He has some days where you can tell he is real comfortable,” Showalter said.

“It’s more of a reaction thing, that  he stepped on the bag. But the game should never catch you by surprise and that’s a concentration thing. You don’t expect or tolerate from anybody… It tells you need to have a little better concentration level.
 
They were all laughing in the dugout, asking [Ty Wigginton] what he was doing at first base. He had a great answer: ‘I couldn’t tell if he touched the bag and plus I was heading towards the dugout anyway. I just happened to stop there and the next thing I know he was throwing.’ With that being said, ‘It ain’t funny.’ [Bell] was embarrassed about it. Not good.”

Odds and Ends

*Hospital Corpsman First Class Ingrid Cortez threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Camden Yards Friday night. Cortez, stationed aboard the USS Bataan, was named the U.S. Fleet Forces Command’s Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year. The appearance is part of Navy Week in Baltimore, which will take place August 28 to September 6.
 
*On Sunday, September 5, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will be honored in a special pre-game ceremony and throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Orioles take on the Rays in honor of the 15th anniversary of his milestone achievement on September 5 and 6, 1995, when Ripken tied and broke Lou Gehrig’s streak of consecutive games played when he took the field for the 2,131st consecutive time. Ripken went on to play 2,632 consecutive games before ending his streak on September 20, 1998.

*The Orioles will sell game-used baseballs at the OriolesREACH Community Booth located just inside Gate D at Camden Yards at each game this homestand. Sales begin in the top of the 6th inning and continue until the end of the game. Balls that saw action in that day’s game are $50 each. Baseballs that were used from Opening Day through the team’s most recent home game are on sale for $30 on a first-come, first-served basis. All proceeds from the sale of these baseballs benefit the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation.

Hernandez update and the plan for more arms

Reliever David Hernandez(left ankle sprain) is expected to throw an inning for Double-A Bowie on Saturday and assuming everything goes well, he will pitch again for the Baysox Monday.

Hernandez will be evaluated following the pair of outings in Richmond, Va. and could be activated for the second part of next week’s road trip. Orioles manager Buck Showalter acknowledged Friday that Hernandez’s return could determine what the organization does with long reliever Rick VandenHurk.

VandenHurk is out of options next spring and the Orioles want to see what they have in him, and will try to get the big righty a few starts, although it remains to be seen whether they will be spot starts or if he will be moved into the rotation.

Hernandez’s pending arrival, coupled with the recent surge in the starting rotation, has also given the Orioles little reason to add arms with roster expansion. While Chris Tillman will be inserted into the rotation -now to be six men -  it’s unclear when, or if, the O’s will add extra relievers.   

“We have had a couple [games] where we used a lot of guys. I don’t see [adding a reliever] immediately,” Showalter said. “But it could change.”

Triple-A Norfolk’s Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate and Alberto Castillo could be potential candidate for a callup, although Patton is the only one on the team’s 40-man roster. The O’s are also believed to be looking at players in Bowie.

Jones update, plus who the Os might bring up

As expected, Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones was not in the starting lineup and unavailable for Friday’s series opener against the Rays.

Jones received a cortisone injection in his left shoulder prior to Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Red Sox and his timetable remains “open-ended” according to manager Buck Showalter, who didn’t rule out the possibility of the team recalling another position player for depth.

“Most of the people that would fit are non-roster” said Showalter who cited infielder Scott Moore -making his first start in Triple-A after being sidelined with a lung issue – as a possibility. “But it’s not something we couldn’t get around if there was a real vibrant need for a player.”

The Orioles could designate pitchers Franka Mata or Armando Gabino to clear a spot on their 40-man roster if needed, although Moore’s callup isn’t imminent. Having utility infielder Robert Andino also gives Showalter some flexibility for now, and what the team does going forward will be determined by how Jones responds to the injection in the next day or two.

The Orioles were helped by the return of outfielder Corey Patterson to Friday’s lineup. Patterson, who played center field in place of Jones, has been bothered by a sore neck suffered from a pair of recent collisions with the wall and wasn’t available to swing on Thursday. But Patterson was deemed a full-go after some early batting cage work on Friday afternoon and didn’t expect any lingering issues.

Orioles/Rays lineups and pregame tidbits

*Chris Tillman is on his way to Baltimore and will start Sunday, pushing the rest of the rotation back and helping stretch out some of the O’s young arms that are nearing their innings limit. The team will go to a six-man rotation, with long reliever Rick VandenHurk also still scheduled to get a few starts in the final month.

*David Hernandez will throw an inning for Double-A Bowie on Friday and will throw again on Monday. Manager Buck Showalter said he will be evaluated after that. If all goes well, Hernandez could rejoin the Os for the second half of next weeks’ roadtrip, which would be Friday in Detroit.

*Hernandez’s pending arrival will also play a part in who the Os call up from Triple-A Norfolk, if they call up anybody at all. Adding Hernandez to the ‘pen should be a help in getting VandenHurk a few starts. Another option would be to recall Troy Patton, who is starting for Triple-A Norfolk tonight, sometime next week. Patton is on the team’s 40-man roster, but that’s not really a problem. There has been hints the team is also looking into bringing up someone from Double-A Bowie.

*Adam Jones’ timetable is still uncertain. Showalter used the term “open ended” in describing what will happen with Jones going forward. He received a cortisone shot yesterday and the Os could opt to call up another guy to add depth to their position players. Scott Moore is an option. 

*Corey Patterson took some early swings in the batting cages and was cleared to go.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Felix Pie LF
Corey Patterson CF
Matt Wieters C
Cesar Izturis SS
Josh Bell 3B

Kevin Millwood RHP

Tillman on his way, Os will go to 6-man

BALTIMORE — Chris Tillman is expected to arrive in Baltimore on Friday night and he will likely make his next scheduled start on Sunday for the Orioles.

Manager Buck Showalter said Friday afternoon that plan is not definite yet, but acknowledged it was what would probably happen. Given that the Orioles have several young arms reaching their innings limit, inserting Tillman in the rotation would give the team a chance to go to a six-man rotation to help get through the season’s final month.  It would also move the rest of the current rotation back a day, putting Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergesen in line to pitch next week’s series in New York, which starts on Monday.

Long reliever Rick VandenHurk is also someone the organization wants to get a look at in a starting role, and he could make several spot starts in September.  VandenHurk was acquired for the Marlins in a deadline deal with the Marlins and the O’s could chose to skip a starters schedule turn entirely or just push back the rotation again to give VandenHurk a look.

The 22-year-old Tillman went 1-4 with a 7.92 ERA in two separate stints with the Orioles this season. He pitched to a 3.34 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk, posting an 11-7 record in 21 starts.

Garza vows payback on the Os

Rays starter Matt Garza is looking for revenge after his last outing at Camden Yards back in resulted in the Orioles lighting him up to the tune of seven runs –including four homers — in Baltimore’s 11-10 win. Here’s what Garza told the St. Petersburg Times regarding what he hopes to do on Friday…

“I owe them a lot of payback for the type of outing I had last time against them,” he said to the paper. “They had back-to-back-to-back. So I’m going to make them feel really uncomfortable in the box. So they know, this (stuff) doesn’t happen, so don’t get used to it.

“I’m going to go in there, hair on fire, like I have been and go after them and say, ‘Hey, you got me the first time, well I’m going to shove it down your throat this time.’ “

Garza is 13-7 with a 3.53 ERA and will face veteran Kevin Millwood in the series-opening set.

Jones gets cortisone shot

Adam Jones received a cortisone injection in his left shoulder prior to Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Red Sox, and will be sidelined until at least the end of the week.

Jones, who got the shot on the top of his shoulder, said he’s a fast healer and was hopeful he would get in Saturday’s game, although much of his timetable will be dictated by how his shoulder responds on Friday.

Jones exited Wednesday’s game prior to his seventh-inning at-bat, and said on Thursday afternoon that the discomfort in his upper back/shoulder region is more intense and in a slightly different area than where he was hit last week.

He took a pitch from White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd to the left shoulder blade on Aug. 24 and missed the following five games with lingering soreness. Wednesday’s injury came on a swing in his fourth-inning at-bat, and the tightness didn’t go away, forcing him from the game with an elevated level of discomfort.

“Before, it was just kind of sore. This is actual pain,” said Jones who consulted with the team’s doctors before deciding to go with the cortisone injection.

Matusz takes home some hardware

Matusz.jpg

BALTIMORE — Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz was named the American League Rookie of the Month for August, pitching to a 2.43 ERA and going 4-1 in six starts last month.

Matusz lead all rookies in wins, innings pitched (37) and strikeouts (26) and held hitters to a .241 batting average over that stretch. Taking out his one loss – a four-inning, five-run game against the Rays  — Matusz had a 1.36 ERA in his other five outings and has shown why the 23-year-old was a preseason prediction for AL Rookie of the Year.

Fresh off two consecutive wins, Matusz entered Tuesday’s start having allowed just one run in his previous 15 innings, and he cruised through the first four frames, holding the Red Sox to just two hits. He didn’t allow a leadoff batter aboard until Mike Lowell’s fifth-inning single, and was tagged with just two runs despite admittingly not having his best stuff. 

For pitching coach Rick Kranitz, it was one of Matusz’s most impressive starts given that he had to battle to beat a patient, veteran Boston lineup.

“The fact that he didn’t have his best command and he threw six innings and only gave up two runs, that meant a lot,” Kranitz said of Matusz. “His last few games have been excellent as far as command-wise and location. [Tuesday] was a little bit off…But you know what, [starts like that] lets them know that they can get through September when it really counts.”

Added Matusz: “To be strong at this point in the season is what you want to do. Because years to come when we are in the playoff race, this is when you want to be your strongest. Fortunately, I’ve been able to string together some good outings and stay strong. It’s a matter of staying healthy and continuing to push and work hard and finish off the year good.”

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