May 2011

Orioles/Yankees lineups and pregame tidbits

*In case you missed it, the Orioles have placed Derrek Lee (left oblique strain) and Brian Roberts on the disabled list, although given Roberts’ injury –which is concussion-like symptoms– the team is hoping to put him on the 7-day DL.

Given the dire straits of their bullpen following Wednesday’s 15-inning loss, the O’s have recalled lefty Troy Patton and right-hander Chris Jakubauskas to take the roster spots vacated by Lee and Roberts. The thought is one of those pitchers could be sent back to Triple-A after Thursday’s game in favor of a position player. You can read more on that here.

*Starter Brian Matusz (left intercostal muscle strain) will make his next rehab outing for Double-A Bowie on Saturday. The plan is for Matusz to throw between 75-80 pitches

*Cesar Izturis will have surgery to move the ulnar nerve in his right elbow on Tuesday at 7 a.m.. It will be performed by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens and manager Buck Showalter said if all goes well Izturis “still has potential to be a player for us this year”.

*The Orioles rotation following Brad Bergesen tonight will be Jake Arrieta, Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Tillman. Guthrie threw 7 pitches last night and the Orioles were forced to juggle their rotation a bit.

*Yankee outfielder Chris Dickerson, who was hit in the head with Michael Gonzalez’s fastball last night, had a CT scan that came back normal. That’s welcomes news in what was a scary moment.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Robert Andino 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Jake Fox C
Brandon Snyder 1B

Brad Bergesen SP

YANKEES LINEUP
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Jorge Posada C
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF

CC Sabathia LHP

O’s lineup, Roberts & Lee to DL

The Orioles have placed Derrek Lee (left oblique strain) and Brian Roberts on the disabled list, although given Roberts’ injury –which is concussion-like symptoms– the team is hoping to put him on the 7-day DL.

Manager Buck Showalter said Roberts started feeling the ill effects when he slid into first base headfirst while hustling down the first-base path after hitting a ball off Daisuke Matsuzaka’s midsection in the first inning of Monday night’s game. Right now, the team isn’t sure if that was the cause of Roberts’ headaches or if it just amplified his symptoms. In any event, Roberts will be on the shelf for at least a week further crippling the Orioles bench.

The Orioles’ leadoff hitter, Roberts was batting .221 with three homers and 19 RBIS in 39 games. He had a hot start to the season but has struggled in May, opening the month with a brutal 4-for-45 stretch in 11 games. Roberts has hit safely in his past three contests, going 5-for-15 during that timeframe.

Lee has been bothered by discomfort in his left side for weeks, but he aggravated the muscle further while running the bases during his first at-bat on Monday.He was hitting .231 on the season with 14 RBIs and 41 strikeouts.

Given the dire straits of their bullpen following Wednesday’s 15-inning loss, the O’s have recalled lefty Troy Patton and right-hander Chris Jakubauskas to take the roster spots vacated by Lee and Roberts. The thought is one of those pitchers could be sent back to Triple-A after Thursday’s game in favor of a position player.

The roster moves leaves the Orioles with a two-man bench Thursday: Luke Scott and catcher Matt Wieters, who is getting a rare off day. The earliest Lee could be activated would be June 1, although shortstop J.J. Hardy missed a month with a lefty oblique strain earlier this season and the average rehab is 32 days for the popular DL injury.

Roberts’ return is more of a moving target given that the team still doesn’t know exactly what they are dealing with and if he will be eligible for the 7-day DL.

Machado to start baseball activities

I mentioned this last night but it probably got lost in the shuffle given the crazy events of the Orioles 15-inning 4-1 loss.

Top prospect Manny Machado, who has been sidelined since dislocating his left kneecap on May 5, has headed to the team’s spring complex in Sarasota and is expected to start baseball activities on Friday. Machado will be on a rehab program that figures to be 3-5 days and he will get some at-bats down there after that. The whole process is expected to last at least 7-8 days.

Gonzalez tossed (updated)

Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez was ejected in the top of the 15th inning Wednesday night after hitting Yankees outfielder Chris Dickerson in the head and causing him to exit the game, which New York went on to win 4-1.

“No way, shape or form was I trying to hit Dickerson or anything like that,” said Gonzalez, who stood on the mound in a state of shock as Dickerson crumpled to the ground. “I was trying to throw a fastball down and away. It got away from me and I’m sorry it hit him.”

Dickerson —who shattered his helmet — did walk to first base after being examined by the team’s medical staff but was removed in favor of pinch-runner A.J. Burnett almost immediately after he got there. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team is erring on the side of caution with Dickerson, who was taken to the University of Maryland’s hospital to get a CT scan.

“He was lucid and knew where he was at, but he had a lump on the side of his head,” Girardi said, adding that Dickerson never lost consciousness and will probably be diagnosed with a concussion. “You’ve got to do everything precautionary now.”

If it is ruled to be a concussion, Dickerson, who just recalled from Triple-A prior to Tuesday’s game, could be placed on the 7-day disabled list. Asked if he felt Gonzalez’s pitch was intentional, Girardi said he wasn’t going to get into that.

“It’s just a scary part of the game when a guy gets hit there,” he said.

The ejection capped an-already ugly inning for Gonzalez, who allowed a go-ahead two-RBI triple to Robinson Cano with his first pitch of the game. His 1-1 offering caught the side of

Dickerson’s head –shattering the helmet’s bill — and Gonzalez was ejected immediately by home plate umpire Dan Bellino. The final member of the Orioles exhausted bullpen, Gonzalez remained on the field while manager Buck Showalter came out to talk to the umpiring crew, which had assembled near the first base line.

“It was tough for me,” Showalter said of keeping his cool when he went out to talk with

Bellino and the rest of the umpires. “First of all, you take a deep breath. Regardless of what decision that umpire makes, a young umpire just starting out in the Major Leagues, you’ve got a guy laying on the ground and you don’t know how seriously he’s hurt, and I have a lot of concerns for that. I’m not going to go out there and vehemently argue while a guy’s laying on the ground, potentially a real tough situation physically.”

Like Gonzalez, Showalter was confident it wasn’t a purpose pitch, but he understood why the call was made to toss the lefty from the game.

“I wouldn’t have done it, but I’m biased,” Showalter said. “I wouldn’t have ejected him, but I can understand how someone… My first thoughts weren’t on Gonzo being ejected, but the health of Dickerson.”

“It was kind of shocking,” Gonzalez said of watching a stricken Dickerson fall to the ground.

I hit him and obviously I get thrown out, and I was more worried about how he was doing down there. You see a player go down like that and obviously in his head area, I really wasn’t sure that [Bellino]threw me out or not.

First of all, I didn’t understand why and second of all, Dickerson is down there on the ground and that’s the last thing you want to see.”

It was Gonzalez’s first career ejection a dismal outing in which he failed to record a out –throwing just four pitches – and was charged with a run to raise his era to a 8.53.

Roberts sidelined with headaches

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts wasn’t in Wednesday’s starting lineup against the Yankees and manager Buck Showalter confirmed that the second baseman is dealing with headaches and is day-to-day.

“He’s had some headaches and has had trouble sleeping the last couple nights,” Showalter said of Roberts, who was not in Tuesday’s starting lineup in Boston before the game was postponed.

“So before moving forward we want to check it out.”

Roberts was scheduled to be evaluated by the team doctors on Wednesday to get a better idea of how to proceed. Showalter said Roberts started feeling the ill effects when he slid into first base head-first while hustling down the first base paths after hitting a ball off Daisuke Matsuzaka’s mid-section in the first inning of Monday night’s game. Right now, the team isn’t sure if that was the cause of Roberts’ headaches or if it just amplified his symptoms.

Any injury to Roberts would be a significant blow for an Orioles team that is already expected to put utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the disabled list and is dealing with a left oblique strain to Derrek Lee that could put him on the DL as well.

Given Roberts’ injury history –he was limited to just 59 games with a herniated disc in his lower back last season and slowed this spring with a neck muscle issue– Showalter was asked if there would come a time when he would prefer to have the second baseman alter his game to stay on the field.

“We talked to him about [the headfirst slide],” said Showalter, who added that he’s never been a manager who mandates that a player has to alter his game.

“The problem in the heat of the moment, and the heat of the competition you are trying to get there the fastest way you can and he feels like he can. But it’s part of his game, whether he’s sliding headfirst into second or third or first. There’s always risk involved.”

The Orioles leadoff hitter, Roberts is hitting .221 with three homers and 19 RBIS in 39 games. He had a hot start to the season but struggled in May, opening the month with a brutal 4-for-45 stretch in 11 games. Roberts has hit safely in his last three contests, going 5-for-15 during that timeframe.

Orioles/Yankees lineups and pregame tidbits

*Utility infielder Cesar Izturis (right elbow irritation) was placed on the disabled list today and will undergo surgery that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks.

There were three options for Izturis, according to manager Buck Showalter: a cortisone shot in the elbow, surgery to remove scar tissue that causes the numbness or surgery to move the ulnar nerve. Izturis will have the nerve moved.

The injury is believed to be an effect of the Tommy John surgery Izturis had in 2005.

First baseman Brandon Snyder was activated in his place.

*Troy Patton was also here, but the team will not activate him and will go day-to-day on a decision with Derrek Lee instead.

Lee (left oblique strain) is still trying to avoid the disabled list. With last night’s postponed, the Orioles don’t need Patton since the bullpen has gotten a little break. As for Lee, he said his left oblique felt “much better” on Wednesday and Showalter said the team is exploring the option of waiting until after Monday’s off day to make a decision on putting Lee on the DL.

*Brian Roberts is out of tonight’s lineup and has been dealing with headaches and loss of sleep the last few days. Showalter said the team isn’t sure if it’s from his headfirst slide into first base or not. He is day to day right now and saw the team doctors earlier this afternoon. Roberts did not make himself available to the media.

*Pitcher Alfredo Simon will not make another rehab start and will be activated on May 22nd. Simon will be added to the Orioles 25-man roster and the most likely scenario involves using him as a long man. He has been stretched out to be a starter –going about 90 pitches in his start yesterday — but that will largely depend on the rest of the team’s rotation.

*Brian Matusz will also throw a rehab start on the 21st and right now that is scheduled to be at Double-A Bowie, although the weather could change things. Matusz will go around 75-80 pitches.

*The Orioles rotation will stay on turn as of right now, with Zach Britton followed in this series by Jeremy Guthrie. Brad Bergesen would pitch Friday.

*Pitcher Justin Duchscherer was shut down today and will not pitch his simulated three innings in extended spring. Duchscherer’s problem was not physical, so it’s not related to his hip at all. Right now, it’s not clear what the team’s next step with him will be.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Felix Pie LF
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Mark Reynolds 3B
Robert Andino 2B
Zach Britton SP

YANKEES LINEUP
Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

Bartolo Colon SP

Odds and ends, lineups

*Justin Turner –who was taken off the Orioles 40-man last year and claimed by the Mets on waivers — was called up to New York April 19 and is coming off a great series against Houston. Turner, a middle infielder, had five RBIs yesterday. Good to see him getting a chance somewhere.

The Mets also selected pitcher Pedro Beato from the O’s in the Rule-5 Draft this winter and Beato was a reliable member of their bullpen before hitting the disabled list with right elbow tendinitis.

*Orioles starter Brian Matusz will make his first rehab start (weather permitting) for Class A Frederick and my associate reporter, Avi Zaleon will be there reporting live. Give him a follow on twitter @avi_zaleon, he will be helping out with Orioles coverage all summer.

The plan is for Matusz to throw 55-60 pitches, and he will go as long as that takes. He would go 75-80 in his next start on the 21st–at either Double-A or Triple-A — and could be activated as early as the 26th. A lot of that will depend on how Matusz feels, and where the team is at with the bullpen. In a perfect world, the Orioles would like Matusz to get three rehab starts and be built up to 100 pitches. But it doesn’t always work out that way and the need for him may come sooner, rather than later.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Derrick Lee 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 3B
J.J. Hardy SS

Chris Tillman SP

RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz DH
J.D. Drew RF
Jed Lowrie SS
Carl Crawford LF
Jason Varitek C

Daisuke Matsuzaka P

Slumping Reynolds: it’s killing me

Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds would like to make one thing clear about his abysmal offensive start with his new club.

“It’s killing me,” Reynolds said of his paltry .180 batting average and power numbers –four homers and 16 RBIs – far below his career norm.

“Trust me, I’ve broken some stuff up in the tunnel where no one can see it, I’ve let my frustrations out,” said Reynolds, who maintains an even-keeled demeanor out on the field. “I just don’t think there’s any reason to do it where cameras can see it. But I do care. And it does piss me off.”

Acquired in an offseason trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Reynolds was brought to Baltimore to be the power-hitting corner infielder that the team sorely lacked. But, as Reynolds has pointed out, he hasn’t been that guy, and instead has struggled to get into any sort of groove at the plate. He will have a good game or two, but is unable to really string together a stretch that will get him back to being the “player the Orioles traded for.”

“He knows he is capable of better and he is going to have to be a little better at some point,” manager Buck Showalter said of Reynolds, who he dropped down to ninth in Saturday’s lineup. “But we appreciate the concern [from him].”

Reynolds, who has sat out just one game so far this season, said it means a lot to him that Showalter has let him work through his struggles by keeping him in the everyday lineup and he’s hoping to reward that confidence.

“I’m trying more than anything to get out of this,” said Reynolds, who has hit 30 or more homers in each of last two seasons. “Just keep getting my chances, and hopefully Buck will keep writing my name in the lineup.”

Saturday’s 6-0 win, in which Reynolds connected for a solo homer off Rays’ starter Wade Davis, was a start in the right direction and one the Orioles hope will break open the flood gates a little bit.

“I think he is a little tired of the ooh and ah, where it’s, ‘just missed it, just missed it, just missed it.’,” Showalter said, referring to Reynolds’ several warning-track balls. “I don’t think he wants that. He wants to center a ball up like he did [Saturday].

“As long as you are trying and you are not giving in to [your struggles]. But [Reynolds] understands that we do have other options.”

To be fair, Reynolds is hardly the only Oriole struggling as Derrek Lee entered Sunday’s game with a .228 average and four homers and 11 RBIs out of the third spot.

“Sometimes I don’t think we put as much emphasis on these guys with the pitchers in a different league and different ballparks,” Showalter said. “One of our guys that have been here a while says welcome to the American League. … Its relentless.”

Orioles/Rays lineups

*Brian Matusz’s rehab outing on Monday is more about pitch count than inning. He will go between 55-60 and pitching coach Mark Connor said his next start would be 75-80. The big thing right now is building up arm strength for Matusz, who is on the disabled list with a left intercostal muscle strain.

*Justin Duchscherer (left hip strain) will throw three innings in a simulated game in extended spring on Wednesday. He will go four innings after that.

*Jake Fox –who also homered — was much improved behind the plate yesterday, and was singed out by both Brad Bergesen and manager Buck Showalter. When asked if it was important for Fox to have a game like that in Saturday’s win, Showalter said he wasn’t sure.

“I’’m not one of those guys who hangs everything around one part of it, whether it’s the defense or who caught or who pitched,” he said. “There’s just so many factors that go into successes and failure that you can’t just hang it around one phase of it. But Jake was real good yesterday.”

*Craig Tatum is eligible to come off the Minor League disabled list at any time, although he will still need a few more days. Showalter said that Tatum –who has a sore shoulder –is throwing from 60 and 90 feet.

RAYS LINEUP
Sam Fuld LF
Ben Zobrist 2B
Johnny Damon DH
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce RF
B.J. Upton CF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Elliot Johnson SS
Kelly Shoppach C

Andy Sonnanstine RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Derrek Lee 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 3B
J.J. Hardy SS

Jake Arrieta RHP

Yanks announce Os makeup date

The New York Yankees today announced their game from Tuesday, April 12 vs. the Baltimore Orioles – postponed due to inclement weather – has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 30 at 7:05 p.m., as the second game of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.

Fans holding paid tickets for the April 12 postponed game may use them for the rescheduled game between the Yankees and Orioles or exchange their paid tickets for any regular season game at Yankee Stadium within 12 months of the postponed game (subject to availability).

Tickets can be exchanged at Yankee Stadium Advance Ticket Windows only (open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and until two (2) hours after the scheduled start time of any regularly scheduled home game).

Complimentary tickets (COMP) or equivalent tickets bear no cash value and cannot be exchanged or redeemed for any benefits that may be offered to ticket(s) with a dollar value. Fans holding complimentary tickets for April 12, 2011, can only use their tickets for the rescheduled game on July 30, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.

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