February 2011

Odds and Ends…

*In the wake of Andy Pettitte’s retirement announcement today, I got an email reminding me that Pettitte’s first big league manager was Orioles skipper Buck Showalter. Digging through my season archives I found this quote from last fall about the first time Showalter saw Pettitte back in instructional league with New York.

Yankees pitching coach Tony Cloninger had asked Showalter to look at the young prospect, who was in the infancy of that infamous over-the-glove staredown from the mound.
 
“Andy was a big pudgy kid in Greensboro, but [Cloninger] loved him makeup -wise,” Showalter said.

You will read and hear a lot in the next few days about Pettitte’s makeup and what kind of guy he was. In my limited dealings with Pettitte, during the postseason and doing some backing up in New York last year, he was always kind, courteous and willing to talk.
 
I remember during this year’s postseason getting an email from an MLB.com colleague asking if I could get Pettitte to talk about Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, who has tried to mimic his postseason success.

When approached in a packed clubhouse, on his way to the podium to field a throng of media questions about his upcoming postseason start, Pettitte obliged my request to pick his brain about another pitcher on the way to the stage. And he didn’t hesitate to patiently stop outside of the media interview room to finish his thoughts.

He could have just as easily blown me off or grunted a few words. Instead, he gave me more than enough quote-wise to send over to my colleague, a small act not soon forgotten.

Here’s that story about Hamels with the Pettitte quotes. I’ll have more from Showalter later. 

Duke deal official

The Orioles have announced the Justin Duchscherer signing and will have a conference call later so check bag on the blog for some quotes. Here’s the official release…

The Orioles today announced that they have signed free agent RHP Justin Duchscherer to a one-year contract.

 Duchscherer (pronounced Duke-sher), 33, went 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA (28.0IP, 9ER) in five starts for the Oakland Athletics in 2010.  He did not pitch after April 29 and had surgery to correct a Femoral Acetabular Impingement in his left hip on June 7.

A two-time All-Star (2005 and 2008), Duchscherer is 33-25 with a 3.13 ERA (454.2IP, 158ER) in eight major league seasons.  He has made 32 starts, with 27 of them coming in his All-Star season of 2008 (10-8, 2.54 ERA) and 2010.

Originally an 8th round selection of the Boston Red Sox in 1996, he made his major league debut with a five-game stint for the Texas Rangers in 2001.  Duchscherer has since gone 32-24 with a 2.82 ERA (440.0IP, 138ER) in 219 appearances for Oakland.

With the addition of Duchscherer, the Orioles now have a full 40-man roster.

More spring info

I’ve been asked a bunch of times if I’m going down to Spring Training, and the answer is yes. I plan to be down in Sarasota a few days early and will be reporting live once camp starts with lots of updates, pictures, anecdotes etc., here on the blog, on Twitter and Orioles.com.

These dates were mentioned in the earlier blog posts,but I didn’t want them to get lost along the way.

The Orioles pitchers and catchers will hold their first workout in Sarasota
on February 14, and the first full squad workout will take place
February 21.

The Orioles will open the 2011 Grapefruit League schedule
with a split squad game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on February 28 at
1:05 p.m.  The home schedule at the new Ed Smith Stadium opens against
the Tampa Bay Rays on March 1 at 1:05 p.m. The full schedule and any ticket information is up on Orioles.com.
 
O’s minor league
pitchers will hold their first workout in Sarasota on Monday, March 7.
The first minor league full squad workout will take place on Friday,
March 11.  Minor league games begin Wednesday, March 16.

Spring Training roster w. uniform numbers

Here’s the Orioles full Spring Training roster in alphabetical order…
# Player Pos
50 Accardo, Jeremy RHP
41 Adair, Rick Coach
73 Adams, Ryan* INF
87 Allenson, Gary MiLC
11 Andino, Robert INF
38 Angle, Matt OF
34 Arrieta, Jake RHP
70 Atkins, Mitch* RHP
37 Bell, Josh INF
35 Bergesen, Brad RHP
49 Berken, Jason RHP
85 Bordick, Mike MiLC
53 Britton, Zach LHP
52 Connor, Mark Coach
48 Crowley, Terry MiLC
94 Dickerson, Bobby MiLC
79 Donachie, Adam* CA
45 Drese, Ryan* RHP
36 Dunn, Alan MiLC
60 Erbe, Brandon RHP
69 Florimon, Pedro INF
9 Fox, Jake CA
61 Gabino, Armando* RHP
51 Gonzalez, Michael LHP
84 Graham, Brian MiLC
6 Green, Nick* INF
63 Gregg, Kevin RHP
91 Griffin, Mike MiLC
46 Guthrie, Jeremy RHP
2 Hardy, J.J. INF
28 Harris, Brendan* INF
Hendrickson, Mark* LHP
74 Henson, Tyler* OF
99 Hernandez, Jose MiLC
71 Hernandez, Michel* CA
95 Hocking, Denny MiLC
3 Izturis, Cesar INF
43 Johnson, Jim RHP
10 Jones, Adam OF
72 Joseph, Caleb* CA
89 Kendall, Gary MiLC
23 Kirby, Wayne Coach
93 Komminsk, Brad MiLC
64 Lebron, Luis RHP
25 Lee, Derrek INF
58 Mahoney, Joe INF
21 Markakis, Nick OF
17 Matusz, Brian LHP
92 May, Milt MiLC
40 Patton, Troy LHP
66 Pelzer, Wynn* RHP
18 Pie, Felix OF
16 Presley, Jim Coach
13 Randolph, Willie Coach
57 Rapada, Clay* LHP
14 Reimold, Nolan OF
12 Reynolds, Mark INF
65 Rivero, Raul* RHP
1 Roberts, Brian INF
68 Rosario, Adrian RHP
59 Rupe, Josh* RHP
27 Russell, John Coach
86 Schmidt, Dave MiLC
30 Scott, Luke OF
26 Showalter, Buck MGR
55 Simon, Alfredo RHP
29 Snyder, Brandon INF
62 Spoone, Chorye RHP
96 Steenstra, Kennie MiLC
15 Tatum, Craig CA
24 Tillman, Chris RHP
19 Uehara, Koji RHP
54 VandenHurk, Rick RHP
47 Viola, Pedro LHP
97 Walling, Denny MiLC
90 Werner, Don MiLC
32 Wieters, Matt CA
Winn, Randy* OF
*Indicates Spring
Training Invitee

Os invite 16 non-roster players to Spring Training

Per the team’s press release…

Pitchers invited to camp include: LHPs MARK HENDRICKSON and CLAY RAPADA and RHPs MITCH ATKINS, RYAN DRESE, ARMANDO GABINO, WYNN PELZER, RAUL RIVERO and JOSH RUPE. Position players invited include CAs ADAM DONACHIE, MICHEL HERNANDEZ and CALEB JOSEPH; OFs TYLER HENSON and RANDY WINN; and INFs RYAN ADAMS, NICK GREEN and BRENDAN HARRIS.

Of the pitchers invited, six have major league experience, with five spending at least part of 2010 in the major leagues. Hendrickson has spent the last two seasons with the Orioles, going 7-11 with a 4.74 ERA in 105 games (12 starts) in that time. Gabino pitched at three levels last season, including the majors, spending the majority of the season with Triple-A Norfolk, where he went 7-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 30 games (eight starts). Atkins, 25, appeared in five games for the Cubs last season after going 8-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 28 games (15 starts) with Triple-A Iowa.  Rapada, 29, made 13 appearances for Texas in addition to 50 appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he posted a 1.82 ERA in 59.1 innings for the RedHawks. Rupe, 28, posted a 2.92 ERA in 40 appearances for Triple-A Omaha and made 11 relief appearances for Kansas City, posting a 5.59 ERA. Drese, 34, last pitched in the major leagues in 2006 for Washington, his sixth big league season.  He pitched for Mexicali of the Mexican Winter League in 2010, going 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA in nine starts.

Pelzer receives his first invite after being acquired from San Diego on July 29 in exchange for Miguel Tejada.  He went 1-0 and pitched to a 4.50 ERA, striking out a batter per inning in 10 games with Double-A Bowie. Rivero also receives his first invite after splitting 2010 with Class-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, where he combined to go 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 37 relief appearances.  Rivero struck out 60 while walking 25, and recorded an almost 3-to-1 groundball-to-flyball ratio (104:35) between the two levels.
 
Donachie, Hernandez and Joseph all return as invitees after they were in big league camp in 2010.  Donachie spent the majority of last season with Triple-A Norfolk (78 games) but also appeared in five games for Double-A Bowie. Hernandez appeared in 58 games for Norfolk, batting .263. He has previous major league experience with the Yankees (2003) and Tampa Bay (2008-09). Joseph spent 2010 with Bowie, batting .235 with 11 home runs in 106 games.

Winn, 36, has played in the major leagues for the last 13 seasons, batting .284 with 110 home runs for five different teams (Tampa Bay, Seattle, San Francisco, the Yankees and St. Louis).  He was an All-Star in 2002 with the Rays.  Harris, 30, is entering his 11th professional season and is a career .260 hitter in 485 major league games with Montreal, Washington, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Minnesota.  He was acquired from Minnesota with J.J. Hardy in December. Green, 32, is entering his 13th professional season and is a career .237 hitter in 392 big league games with Atlanta, Tampa Bay, the Yankees, Seattle, Boston, the Dodgers and Toronto.  Adams receives his first invite to camp after batting .298 with a club record 43 doubles in 134 games with Double-A Bowie in 2010. He was named the Orioles #8 prospect by Baseball America. Henson is also receiving his first invite on the strength of batting .278 with 52 extra-base hits for Bowie last season.
 
Orioles pitchers and catchers will hold their first workout in Sarasota on February 14, and the first full squad workout will take place February 21. The Orioles will open the 2011 Grapefruit League schedule with a split squad game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on February 28 at 1:05 p.m.  The home schedule at the new Ed Smith Stadium opens against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 1 at 1:05 p.m.
 
O’s minor league pitchers will hold their first workout in Sarasota on Monday, March 7. The first minor league full squad workout will take place on Friday, March 11.  Minor league games begin Wednesday, March 16.

Down to the wire with Vlad

Where will Vladimir Guerrero sign? It’s February and Spring Training is literally just around the corner, making these next two days very important tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.
 
“The next 48 hours [are] expected to be pivotal in the Vladimir Guerrero contract talks,” Olney tweeted earlier. “The O’s have their offer on table; Vlad is looking for more.”

Not much here that hasn’t already been talked about, but it seems as if Guerrero will make a decision soon. The Orioles have had an offer on the table since Thursday and as of Wednesday morning have no knowledge of any self-imposed deadline from Guerrero or his camp.

They haven’t threatened to withdraw their offer by a certain date, either.

So, we’re left with Vlad weighing his other options, whatever they may be (an interesting idea floated last night by FoxSports was the Rays. More on that here.)

The O’s offer — believed to reach the $5 million mark with incentives — isn’t changing.  He’s made it no secret that he wants to play for a team with a chance to win and is more comfortable with a clubhouse that has some Latin American players. Neither of those things works in the O’s favor but they can offer Guerrero something most clubs can’t: consistent playing time.

He’d be a full-time DH, with Luke Scott moving to left field and Felix Pie/Nolan Reimold battling it out in Spring. Reimold has an option left so he could start the season in Triple-A.

What the O’s would sacrifice on defense with Scott in left, they’d presumably make up for with a beefed-up lineup.  You’ve heard before that the Rangers and Angels could sign Vlad in a part-time role, and he could put value the chance to play for either of those teams again over coming to Baltimore.

Either way, it looks to be resolved before the week is over.

More Minors signings

I’m a little late to this party, but the Orioles signed a trio of Minor League pitchers tonight according to Baseball America. They are right-handers Chris Jakubauskas and Mark Worrell and lefty James Houser.

None of the three have been invited to big league Spring Training.  The 26-year-old Houser, a former Rays second-round Draft pick, has just one Major League appearance to his credit, 1 1/3 innings in a game against the Florida Marlins in 2010.

The 32-year-old Jakubauskas pitched in one game for the Pirates last year and was with the Mariners in 2009. He is a career 6-8 with a 5.48 ERA.

Worrell, 27, appeared in four games for the Cardinals in 2008, all in relief.

Tides to help participate in food drive

The Norfolk Tides have joined the effort in a region-wide food drive sponsored by the Foodbanks of Southeastern Virginia, the Virginia Peninsula and Albemarle. People are encouraged to drop off nonperishable items at Harbor Park on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The food drive is being staged to help feed the hungry across the Hampton Roads and Northeastern North Carolina regions. It is also being staged to honor Beverly Hill, who was recently selected by ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to receive a new home.

The hit ABC show is currently in Virginia Beach building the new home for Beverly, her husband Fred Burdette and their six adopted daughters. Hill has been a generous donator to the community for the past 15 years. The couple has taken in more than 35 foster kids since 1992 and Beverly has also gone out of her way to feed and clothe homeless people in the community.

The Norfolk Tides will open the 2011 season in Charlotte on Thursday, April 7. The team will make its Harbor Park debut against the same Charlotte Knights on Saturday, April 16. Season ticket packages and Tides Ten Packs are currently available over the phone or by visiting the Tides Box Office at Harbor Park.

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