April 2011

Orioles/Rangers lineups and pregame tidbits

*The Orioles optioned Brad Bergesen to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Saturday’s doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, purchasing the contract of right-hander Chris Jakubauskas in his place.

Manager Buck Showlater said Jakubauskas will be used in an emergency situation on Saturday, and the thought is the team would prefer to give Jeremy Guthrie an extra day or two in his recovery from pneumonia by having Jakubauskas make Sunday’s start.

Under that scenario, Guthrie would start Tuesday’s series opener in New York.

*Bergesen was the choice given that he hasn’t been able to give the team length as a starter and is coming off a rough spring in which he was struck by a line drive in his right forearm. He needs to go down and “get back on track,” Showalter said.

Bergesen was not happy and upon seeing reporters around his locker gave a terse “No comment” before walking away. It was also an awkward moment for Jakubauskas who greeted Bergesen warmly, in the locker next to him, before he was made aware that he was taking his spot.

*J.J. Hardy is feeling better and will play in the second game, Showalter said.

*Brian Roberts also said he was feeling fine and could play both games today, depending on how he feels. Roberts had some tests on his stomach last night but did not stay overnight and said he had no idea how the stomach pain started or what happened.

*Here’s the Orioles lineup as rookie Zach Britton makes his first start at Camden Yards….

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Derrek Lee 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Matt Wieters C
Cesar Izturis SS

Zach Britton LHP

RANGERS LINEUP
Ian Kinsler 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Josh Hamilton LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Michael Young DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Mike Napoli 1B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Julio Borbon CF

Colby Lewis RHP

Os option Bergy, purchase Jakubauskas’ contract

The Orioles optioned Brad Bergesen to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Saturday’s doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, purchasing the contract of right-hander Chris Jakubauskas in his place.

Manager Buck Showlater said Jakubauskas will be used in an emergency situation on Saturday, and the thought is the team would prefer to give Jeremy Guthrie an extra day or two in his recovery from pneumonia by having Jakubauskas make Sunday’s start. Under that scenario, Guthrie would start Tuesday’s series opener in New York.

The Orioles 40-man roster had an extra spot, so the team did not have to make another move in adding Jakubauskas.

Roberts cleared, status for DH still TBD

BALTIMORE – Tests on Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts’ stomach came back negative and the infielder has been cleared to play, although his status for Saturday’s doubleheader is still unknown.

Roberts was taken to a hospital with a stomach issue on Friday night prior to the series opener against the Rangers, which was rained out.

He alerted the team and its medical staff about 20 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch, and they didn’t like the sound of things, so Roberts was taken to a local hospital to investigate further.

Roberts would have been a late scratch from Friday’s game if it had been played, and the team will see how he feels Saturday afternoon before determining his availability for the O’s twinbill. Saturday’s straight doubleheader against the Rangers begins at 4:35 p.m. ET.

We should know more on Roberts this afternoon when the clubhouse opens to the media.

Rainout, BRob, roster moves

Friday’s scheduled game at Camden Yards between the Orioles and Texas Rangers has been postponed due to rain. The teams will play a single-admission doubleheader –meaning one ticket will be valid for both games –Saturday beginning at 4:35 p.m ET.

Friday’s scheduled matchup, O’s rookie Zach Britton versus Colby Lewis, will serve as the first game with Baltimore’s Jake Arrieta following Texas’ lefty Matt Harrison in the nightcap.

Given the Orioles already-depleted bullpen corps, manager Buck Showalter said there’s a chance the team makes a roster move to add depth in between games. While it’s not likely that move would involve a disabled list trip, the O’s could option a starter such as Brad Bergesen or Chris Tilman to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for another arm.

That will largely depend on how Britton fares in the first game and could also be determined based on who the team tabs for Sunday’s start, Jeremy Guthrie or someone from Norfolk. Showalter said that announcement will come Saturday.

A decision on Brian Roberts’ availability will also come Saturday. The O’s second baseman Roberts was taken to a local hospital with a stomach issue on Friday evening and would have been a late scratch had the game been played.

The last time the Rangers had a doubleheader in Baltimore was Aug. 22, 2007. The Rangers won Game 1, 30-3 and won the second game 9-7.

Tickets for Friday’s game may be exchanged for seats of equal value for Saturday’s doubleheader or any remaining non-prime home game during the 2011 season, subject to availability. Ticket exchanges must be made by May 31. Student Night tickets may be exchanged for Saturday’s game or any other non-prime Friday home game during the 2011 season.

Original ticket purchasers residing outside a 75-mile radius of Camden Yards may request a refund because of the postponement. Refund requests must be submitted in writing along with the original tickets and mailed via certified mail by May 31 to: Baltimore Orioles, Attention: April 8 Rainout, 333 West Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Roberts taken to hospital

Prior to Friday’s game –which was postponed due to inclement weather – Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was taken to a hospital with a stomach issue.

Roberts alerted the team and its medical staff about 20 minutes prior to gametime, and they didn’t like the sound of things, so Roberts was taken to a local hospital to investigate further.

He would have been a late scratch from Friday’s game if it had been played and manager Buck Showalter said the team will see how he is Saturday morning before determining his availability for the O’s doubleheader against the Rangers.

Hardy still day-to-day

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy remains day-to-day with tightness in his left side and manager Buck Showalter said the team will stay away from using him in Friday’s series opener against Texas unless something “drastically changes.”

Hardy was a late scratch from Thursday’s game and Showalter said he might take some soft toss on Friday afternoon. While Hardy didn’t appear overly concerned on Thursday night –saying he only felt pain when swinging full bore – the team will take a conservative stance and try to calm the issue down rather than risking further injury.

“The challenge is he’s never had it before so there’s nothing to weigh it against,” Showalter said of Hardy’s injury. “I was talking to him before [Thursday’s] game and he was throwing some. I said, ‘Have you ever had anything like this before or anything like it?” Because if he had, he’d know the difference.

“We’ll try to err on the side of caution and we’ll see where we are [Saturday] think I could use him if I had to.”

Without Hardy, Cesar Izturis was slated to get Friday’s start. Izturis filled in for Hardy on Thursday night and went 1-for-3, including an RBI single, in the Orioles 9-5 win.

The O’s No. 9 hitter, Hardy had three hits and four runs in his first 14 at-bats this season and Showalter the team has run a few tests, but right now there’s no plan for anything further, such as an X-Ray or MRI.

Hardy was in the clubhouse pregame hanging out with nothing on his side, so I don’t think it’s going to be a disabled list situation.

Orioles/Rangers lineups and pregame tidbits

*J.J. Hardy is day-to-day and manager Buck Showalter said he would not start today’s game. Hardy was a late scratch from last night’s game with left side tightness. Cesar Izturis will play instead.

*Justin Duchscherer’s ablation yesterday went well and Showalter relayed that the right-hander is in good spirits.

*Jeremy Guthrie threw today and was a little weak, according to Showalter. The team should have a better idea post-game what they are doing in terms of Sunday’s start. Guthrie said on his Twitter account that the bullpen session was around 40 pitches. It was the first time he had thrown off a mound since he was hospitalized with pnemonia earlier this week.

*With Troy Patton in Baltimore and a possible roster move looming, Showalter confirmed that the team has no option-able position players. Patton will not be activated for tonight’s game, but the bullpen situation remains a “moving target.” A lot of that depends on if the weather holds out for tonight’s game.

“With Andino, Fox, Izturis, Pie, none of those are optional pieces,” Showalter said. “In the American LEauge East, you’re going to have some challenges with your roles in the bullpen. It just fell that way.

It’s not something you want when you have three young pitchers pitching back-to-back-to-back. What somebody’s role – in a perfect world – is in the bullpen is not always going to present itself on a given day….if we play 18 innings tomorrow, that’s a lot of baseball to pitch. And one of the things about being home, you know you’re going to pitch nine innings.”

*In shocking news around baseball, Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement. Ramirez failed his second drug test and rather than face a suspension, has decided to call it quits.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Derrek Lee 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott LF,
Adam Jones CF
Mark Reynolds
Matt Wieters C
Cesar Izturis SS

Zach Britton SP

RANGERS LINEUP
Ian Kinsler 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Josh Hamilton LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Michael Young DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Mike Napoli 1B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Julio Borbon CF

Colby Lewis RHP

Patton on his way to Baltimore

With a depleted bullpen corps, Triple-A Norfolk’s Troy Patton is expected to be in Baltimore later this evening.

The team hasn’t made an official announcement and Patton will be activated for tonight’s series opener against the Rangers only if there’s a disabled list situation. With some threatening weather, there’s a chance Patton is in town for insurance reasons, since if the game is a rain out the Orioles would really luck out. In that scenario, they wouldn’t have to activate him and make a roster move.

Patton would presumably be the long man if necessary tonight and would also give the Orioles a second lefty in the ‘pen to go along with Michael Gonzalez. He is already on the team’s 40-man roster, but the O’s would have to take someone off the 25-man to add Patton, which could get tricky.

The team could DL a pitcher or a position player at this point, and either scenario would involve activating Patton. Jeremy Guthrie could be headed to the DL, which the team could backdate to April 2. He is supposed to take a work day today and the team will see how that goes in terms of evaluating him for Sunday. O’s manager Buck Showalter said yesterday that if not Sunday the Orioles were targeting Tuesday, so DL’ing Guthrie doesn’t seem like a likely scenario right now.

We will also find out the status of J.J. Hardy, who was scratched from yesterday’s game with left side tightness, and see how Luke Scott came through his first game since being sidelined with right groin tightness. So, there’s a lot of different scenarios at play here.

By the way, it’s Guthrie’s birthday today. (And my dad’s, who reads this blog and will be incredibly embarrassed that I mentioned it. But the guy deserves a shout out given that he watches all the O’s games from Connecticut and the pre and post shows to listen for my questions. Thanks, Dad.)

O’s could add a reliever

Largely lost in the Orioles hot start has been the starters alarming trend of short outings. Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman have posted consecutive short games, and manager Buck Showalter said the team could dip into Triple-A.

“We’re going to examine whether or not we’re going to need a pitcher for tomorrow,” Showalter said following last night’s win. [“Because [Josh] Rupe and [Jeremy] Accardo both are down for tomorrow.”

Rupe and Accardo have posted long relief in the past two games and Koji Uehara is also unavailable because he can’t go back-to-back. They’d probably like to stay away from Jim Johnson, who threw 31 pitches over 1 2/3 innings, making tonight’s start a big one for rookie Zach Britton. Britton will make just his second career Major League start against a red-hot Texas team that is 6-0, largely thanks to their offense.

The O’s were already considering a Triple-A starter for Sunday if Jeremy Guthrie can’t go, a decision that could be made after Guthrie’s work day today. If the weather holds out for tonight’s game, the Orioles could do some shuffling. Stay tuned.

Tillman’s night

Lost in the O’s 9-5 series win tonight was the uneven outing from starter Chris Tillman.

Coming off six no-hit innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, Tillman labored through a 32-pitch first inning in a four-run outing that saw him exit after 4 2/3 innings. Tillman allowed a pair of runs in the nearly 20-minute first, but settled down to put up a pair of quick zeros after that.

“That first inning, I felt like I threw a million pitches,” Tillman said. “They fouled off it felt like 100 pitches. I wanted to make that second inning a quick one. I just wanted to get back in the dugout, it was a cold night. So the only thing on my mind was make it a quick one here. And I think tempo was on my side the second and third and fourth inning and I think that helped me.”

After a one-out fourth inning walk of Miguel Cabrera, Tillman retired Martinez on a fabulous effort from Jones. The center fielder made an on the run stab at it, slamming into the wall and bobbling the ball and getting help from Markakis, who rushed over to finish the play before the ball could hit the ground. The play was ruled as an out and stayed that way despite an on-field visit from Leyland and television replays appearing to show that the ball hit the wall first.

Alex Avila — fresh off a five-RBI performance Wednesday night — opened the fifth inning with a homer, and Detroit chased Tillman from the game two outs later, after Brennan Boesch doubled in Will Rhymes. Tillman allowed four runs on six hits and two walks in the 97-pitch outing, his shortest start since going 3 2/3 innings vs. the Yankees on Sept. 19.

“I think that’s probably the one thing I take out of this game as a positive. After that first inning to come back strong, I think, you guys can be the judge of it, but I think in the past that first inning is one of those innings that really would get away from me in the past,” Tillman said. “And I was happy to be able to get back on my feet and (make) some of my pitches.”

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