August 2011

Guthrie, rotation & Hardy updates

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is dealing with some right shoulder soreness and will have his next start pushed until at least Tuesday, a measure the team hopes will alleviate some of the discomfort.

Right now, Guthrie — who has thrown a staff-leading 164 innings — will have his originally scheduled start on Saturday picked up by Tommy Hunter, who will go on regular rest given Thursday’s off day. Lefty Jo-Jo Reyes will start Friday’s opener and Sunday’s finale will be either Zach Britton or Brian Matusz, who would both be working on regular five days’ rest.

Britton, who has been on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, threw five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday night and is expected to rejoin the team in Anaheim. Matusz threw 6 2/3innings, allowing six earned runs, in Tuesday’s loss at Oakland and the assumption is whichever pitcher doesn’t throw Sunday will be slotted back to Monday’s series opener in Minnesota.

While the addition of Britton gives the Orioles a six-man rotation, the team will need an extra starter for next weekend’s home series against the Yankees, in which they will play five games in four days.

***
J.J. Hardy was running at a considerably slower speed down to first base this afternoon, and he was removed for pinch-runner Blake Davis in the ninth inning. When asked about Hardy’s health –he has been sidelined recently with a left ankle issue — the shortstop downplayed any injury concerns.

“I don’t know about that,” Hardy said when asked if he was favoring his good ankle in his slow jog down the basepaths.

“I definitely believe that Blake is faster than I am. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think it was definitely the right play, the tying run. There’s a better chance that Blake scores than I do.”

Hardy said his ankle felt “fine” but acknowledged it would be good to rest it during Thursday’s off day. Manager Buck Showalter explained the switch by saying Hardy was a little “dead legged” and he admitted he contemplated giving the shortstop Sunday off.

“He’s probably not running as well as he normally does because [of his ankle]. And he won’t admit to it,” Showalter said.

“But he’s been posting up every day. He’s fine.”

Orioles/As lineups and pregame tidbits

*Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is dealing with some right shoulder soreness and will have his next start pushed back a day or two to help alleviate some of the discomfort.

Right now, right-hander Tommy Hunter will throw in Guthrie’s spot on Saturday although Guthrie could throw in the series finale. Lefty Jo-Jo Reyes will start Friday’s game.

The expectation is Zach Britton will throw Monday’s game in Minnesota, although that also lines up as Brian Matusz’s turn so things could change. The O’s will need an extra starter for next weekend’s home series against the Yankees, in which they play five games in four days.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Robert Andino 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Nolan Reimold LF
Josh Bell 3B
Craig Tatum C

Alfredo Simon SP

ATHLETICS LINEUP
Jemile Weeks 2B
Coco Crisp CF
Hideki Matsui DH
Josh Willingham LF
Brandon Allen 1B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Cliff Pennington SS
Kurt Suzuki C
Scott Sizemore 3B

Brandon McCarthy SP

Davis to DL/ Os & As tidbits and lineups

*The Orioles had a lineup up today but it got taken down and Chris Davis was taken out and subsequently put on the disabled list. An MRI taken on his right shoulder revealed a slight tear and Davis –who didn’t play yesterday — hasn’t improved and will see noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Thursday’s off day.

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail didn’t rule out the possibility that Davis could be done for the season, but didn’t want to comment definitively until he sees Yocum. Davis’ right shoulder strain clears a roster spot for Brian Matusz, who was officially recalled from Triple-A to make tonight’s start.

*Also, Yocum did surgery on top pitching prospect Dan Klein today, in a procedure that went better than the Orioles expected. Klein had the SLAP tear in his right shoulder fixed with an anchor and he also had his capsule loosened. He will start a throwing program in December and assuming all goes well will be at spring training and could be fully recovered and back in Minor League games sometime in May.

*Zach Britton (left shoulder inflammation) tossed five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk tonight, allowing a run on three hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

His only run came in the first inning, and the expectation is Britton will be ready to come off the DL and make his next start on this road trip. However, when that will be remains to be seen as manager Buck Showalter eluded to some other potential physical problems and said that the rotation for the upcoming Anaheim series is not set yet.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nolan Reimold LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 3B
Robert Andino 2B
Josh Bell 3B

Brian Matusz SP

ATHLETICS LINEUP
Jemile Weeks 2b
Coco Crisp CF
Hideki Matsui DH
Josh Willingham LF
Brandon Allen 1B
Scott Sizemore 3B
David DeJesus RF
Kurt Suzuki C
Cliff Pennington ss

Guillermo Moscoso SP

Roberts on his return, retirement & his charity

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts acknowledged the last three months have been the toughest stint of his career as the veteran infielder –who has been sidelined since May 16 with a concussion –said in a revealing interview Tuesday that while his return this season is in jeopardy his career in Baltimore is far from done.

“I certainly want people to understand through the whole process that there’s nobody more frustrated than I am, there’s nobody that loves playing the game of baseball still more than I do,” Roberts said in a phone interview with MLB.com and the Baltimore Sun. “I know it’s been disappointing for our fans, for our players, for our organization, not only the season but my circumstance.

I still want to be in an Orioles uniform to see this team end up where we desire to go. And I still believe I’ll be an integral part of that in the next two years.”

Roberts ,who suffered the injury on a head head-first slide into first base in a game against the Boston Red Sox, is well aware of the backlash stemming from his prolonged absence and said that he is working closely with specialist Dr. Michael Collins to make sure they “wisely” handle his progression. Roberts is still experiencing headaches although they are less frequent and severe than earlier in his rehab and he said Tuesday that he is still not participating in physical activity that requires him a lot of exertion although that could change following Wednesday’s appointment in Pittsburgh with Collins.

“Unfortunately you cannot always control the perception that’s out there,” said Roberts, who has received some backlash from a restless Orioles fan base and was forced to cancel his annual charity event because it was deemed a risk to cause a symptom relapse.

“All you can do is know that you are doing everything that you can. So for me, in this instance I’m doing everything I can to get back on the baseball field. If the perception out there, if there is one, that I’m not, or for some unknown reason people have feelings that I don’t want to play baseball, I’m sure that’s very hard and hurtful for someone who has as much pride as I feel like I do.

“I’ve been in this org for12 years now,” added Roberts, who is the longest-tenured player in the Orioles organization. “As unfortunate as the situation was that I got injured, it was an injury of passion, because I care about the game, I care about the Orioles, and I care about the team.”

Roberts –who has dealt with concussions in the past and missed three-fourth of last season with a back injury — declined to offer any timetable on his return, saying that emphasis this time around is on eliminating this problem from the future.

“I certainly haven’t given up hope that I’ll be able to play at some point this season, but that’s not my choice,” said Roberts, who has been rehabbing at the team’s spring facility in Sarasota, Fla. and speaks with Collins on a near-daily basis. “We are taking every precaution to do what we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I think that’s our first and foremost [goal].

Our priority is when I do step back on the baseball field in 2011 or 2012 that the chances of this happening again are remote.”

Roberts has talked to other Major League players who have suffered concussions, including Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and Toronto’s Aaron Hill and said that the more research and information he got on his condition the more convinced he was that it wasn’t a career-ending situation.

“I think anyone who has had an injury where they’ve been out for two or three months would be lying if they didn’t have those [retirement] thoughts at some point in the process,” said Roberts, who has played in just 39 games this season. “I can probably say that that had crossed my mind at some point, but I’ve done a lot of research and talked to a lot of guys who have been through it so I’m not going through anything abnormal.

I think once I gained more information and understood more of what was going on, the better I felt about the long term prognosis.”

As for the cancellation of Brian’s Baseball Bash, an annual charity event benefiting the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, Roberts said he plans on making a substantial donation to help keep the hospital’s cause funded and the expectation is the event will continue again in 2012.

“We tried to push it back, but it got to the point where it wasn’t going to make sense for me unfortunately with the state of my concussion,” Roberts said of the event which has been an annual fundraiser for the past five seasons.

“What people I think have to realize is that in a recovery of a concussion, your day to day routine and what u go through on a daily basis affects your recovery. And everything you do outside of that routine presents an opportunity to take a step backward in that recovery. So, as important as the hospital is to us, my priority is the Orioles, playing baseball and getting back on the field as quick as we could.”

When that will be next remains up in the air. Roberts’ appointment on Wednesday –which will involve a workout and more testing with Collins – could clear him to progress more extensively in activities. Right now, he is hitting, taking ground balls and has gone back and added some light running in hopes of creating some momentum.

“I’m not at the point where I can do everything we need to do unfortunately yet,” said Roberts. “But we’re a lot further along than we were a month ago.”

Jordan on the Draft

It was a crazy final hour, but the Orioles got it done agreeing to terms with top pick Dylan Bundy as well as second-rounder Jason Esposito and sixth-round selection Nick Delmonico.

Here are a couple quotes from scouting director Joe Jordan’s conference call with reporters last night..

[on the hours leading up to the deadline]
“Really, when we got to today and especially this afternoon, the one I was most concerned about was Delmonico. I really felt good that Esposito would come to us and I felt like we would do enough to get Bundy signed. Delmonico was a little bit of a wild card. It was an amazing day. We played it in the order we wanted and a lot of things happened exactly how we thought they would.

“[Director of Baseball Operations] Matt Klentak was tremendous. He’s so smart when it comes to, you know, how to discuss certain parts of contracts and things that came up. Matt just did a great job..We got everything we wanted today. We had all the support like we always do from [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and owner Peter Angelos]. I don’t know how the hell it could have been a better day.”

[on Bundy negotiations]
“We negotiated all summer sporadically, but I kept telling Jay Franklin, who represented this kid, ‘We’re going to do this.’ He kept doing his job and posturing.

When you get down to this player, [he's]a special kid and special talent. Very driven. He has every intangible that the really, really good players have. Barring injury, we agreed to terms with a very special player. I know this kid, I know his intangibles. You know, I think this is a kid that’s not afraid to be really, really good. It’s a good night.”

[on Bundy's deal]
“It was a Major League contract. That was something that was very important to their side. We tried to stay away from it, but at the end, we decided that the player was worth getting done and that’s what it took.

“There was a $4 million signing bonus and other than that, I can’t give you any more details. Obviously, there is a guaranteed value to this contract and a value that could happen based on certain things. It came together exactly how we wanted and needed it to, so we’re very happy about that.”

[on signing Delmonico]
“At the end of the day, the kid wanted to play. That’s really what it came down to. We were a long way apart on the money, even this morning. But, I think it was a situation where, once we got Esposito done, I knew exactly what I had and exactly what we were going to be able to do for them.

“It took a couple of conversations to convince Rod, his father. Really, they knew we were where we were going to go, the bottom line it was nowhere close to where they initially started, but the kid wanted to play. We paid him very well. I got to talk to Nicky just briefly and I have to call him back in the morning, but he’s very excited. That’s all he wanted to do, he wanted to go play. We recognized his talent handsomely with the bonus we gave him.”

[on if he was confident of getting all three the days leading up to the deadline]
“I was confident that we were going to do two of the three. I didn’t know exactly where the third one would happen. I’ve been pretty confident on this. There was just some unknown with Delmonico.

“I felt like we’d get two of the three. I definitely felt like we would sign Bundy and at least one of the other two. Being able to get all three, we feel tremendous tonight.”

More on Bundy

Right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy agreed to terms with the Orioles and will get a $4 million signing bonus in a Major League deal that Baseball America is reporting could guarantee him a ballpark figure around $6.22 million.

What’s a Major League deal mean? It benefits the player by placing him on the 40-man roster and therefore making it easier to promote him to the Majors later. The player also has the potential of seeing a domino effect on future salaries, as his salary cannot be less than 80 percent of his total compensation from the previous year.

Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan said the Major League deal was an aspect very important to the Bundy’s in negotiations.

The team loses roster flexibility with a Major League deal for a draft pick, though it gains the advantage of lowering the average annual value by spreading it over multiple years.

Players have three or four years in which they can be optioned to the minors without clearing waivers, and with a Major League deal the first option is typically going to be used in the player’s first year. This sometimes accelerates a player’s timetable and forces the team’s hand.

Orioles get Bundy

In the end, the Orioles got their guy.

Baltimore agreed to terms with top pick Dylan Bundy — the fourth overall selection in this year’s First-Year Player Draft– in the final few minutes of Monday’s deadline, adding a right-handed high school power pitcher to a Minor League system devoid of top tier arms.

The 18-year-old Bundy went 11-0 with a 0.20 ERA and 158 strikeouts and five walks in 71 innings in his senior season, and has a nasty curveball, a very effective cutter and an above-average changeup to go along with his blistering fastball. Considered the top prep pitcher in the Draft, and one of the best high school arms in recent memory, Bundy, who has been throwing and working out in Tulsa, Okla., was selected by an organization with success in signing its top guy.

The Orioles gave a franchise-record $6 million bonus to catcher Matt Wieters (selected fifth overall) in 2007, while last year’s top pick, Miami high school shortstop Manny Machado (third overall), got $5.25 million. Both players were advised by the notoriously tough Scott Boras, and both negotiations, like Bundy, came down to the final hour.

Bundy was the third player to agree to terms on Monday, joining third baseman Jason Esposito (2) and Nick Delmonico (6) to round out the top 10. The Orioles agreed to terms with a total of 22 of their 50 picks, an overall number lower than usual because the organization eliminated a rookie-level affiliate and one of the Dominican Summer League teams, making roster space more of an issue.

Delmonico agrees to terms, Bundy remains

In a story that first broke on his own Twitter feed, the Orioles have agreed to terms with sixth-round pick Nick Delmonico, reaching a deal that will keep the highly-coveted high school infielder –believed to be a first or second-round talent who fell due to money demands and signability concerns — from attending Georgia this fall.

The 19-year-old Delmonico, who was drafted out of Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee has a highly-advanced bat and has one of the biggest upsides among the Orioles draftees. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 215-pounds and hit .426 as a senior with 11 home runs, 45 RBIs and 53 walks.

Delmonico won four Class AAA state titles and ended his high school career with 45 home runs, 156 walks and 209 RBIs.

The Orioles have now agreed to terms with 21 of 50 picks.

Esposito agrees

The Orioles have agreed to terms with second-rounder Jason Esposito, leaving two of their top 10 picks –first-rounder Dylan Bundy and sixth-rounder Nick Delmonico — still in limbo with hours to go in tonight’s deadline.

A third baseman out of Vanderbilt University, Esposito was the 64th overall pick and will receive a 600,000 signing bonus.

Known for his defensive skills, the Connecticut native hit .341 with nine homers and 59 RBIs in 65 games this season and will join an Orioles system devoid of top positional prospects outside of shortstop Manny Machado, who was the organization’s top pick last season.

Esposito took to his Twitter page to thank the Vanderbilt program, calling it the “three best years” of his life in Nashville. He also tweeted, “Thank you to all the Baltimore fans for the support! Looking forward to this experience!”

Esposito is the organization’s 20th pick out of 50 to agree to terms and he is the highest pick so far.

Os/As lineups and pregame tidbits

*Orioles top pitching prospect Dan Klein will undergo exploratory surgery on his right shoulder tomorrow in California. Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the procedure,which will involve repairing the slight tear in Klein’s labrum that a previous MRI showed. Klein was already doubtful to throw a pitch the rest of the season and this ensures he’s done for the year. The rehab and recovery will depend on the scope of what’s done, which won’t be known until the doctors can get in there.

*Brian Roberts is progressing slowly and will see concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. I don’t have any more information beyond that on Roberts’ timetable.

*As expected, Brian Mautsz is here and will start Tuesday’s game in Oakland.

*No word on the Orioles top three remaining draft picks and it’s been a very quiet afternoon on that front. The deadline is midnight ET tonight and the O’s still have top pick Dylan Bundy, second-rounder Jason Esposito and sixth-rounder Nick Delmonico who have yet to agree to terms.

*Chris Davis isn’t in the lineup and is still dealing with some nagging right shoulder soreness, according to manager Buck Showalter. Josh Bell is playing third base instead, with Mark Reynolds shifted over to first base. I would imagine Bell –who had a catscan on his left side come back negative — would be the candidate to go down for Matusz if Davis’ shoulder is OK. If not, the Orioles can opt to either send down a reliever and buy Davis a few extra days in hopes of avoiding the disabled list.

ATHLETICS LINEUP
Jemile Weeks 2B
Coco Crisp CF
Hideki Matsui LF
Josh Willingham DH
David DeJesus RF
Brandon Allen 1B
Cliff Pennington SS
Kurt Suzuki C
Eric Sogard 3B

Gio Gonzalez SP

ORIOLES LINEUP
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nolan Reimold LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Robert Andino 2B
Josh Bell 3B

Tommy Hunter SP

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