May 2012

Orioles announce Military Appreciate Program

ORIOLES MILITARY APPRECIATION PROGRAM

·TICKET DISCOUNTS AT EVERY GAME

The Orioles extend a $3 discount off of all tickets for all military (active, retired and reserve) and their families, available at the Oriole Park Box Office. Even more significant discounts for military members can be arranged by contacting their ITT/Leisure Travel office.

·MILITARY SUNDAYS

For every non-prime Sunday home game, members of the military (active, retired and reserve) can purchase Buy One, Get One Free tickets in select seating sections through their ITT/Leisure Travel office.

·SUNDAY SUITE PROGRAM presented by Geico

Every Sunday home game, the Orioles, in partnership with Geico, will donate a catered private suite to wounded soldiers and other active military groups and their families. Guests will also be treated to a special player meet and greet before the game, recognition after the playing of “God Bless America” and will receive Orioles player t-shirts courtesy of Under Armour. Participating players include JAKE ARRIETA, ZACH BRITTON, TOMMY HUNTER, JIM JOHNSON, NICK MARKAKIS, BRIAN MATUSZ, MARK REYNOLDS and MATT WIETERS. A number of guests from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital have already attended several games this season.

·ACTIVE DUTY SPECIAL OFFER

All Active Duty Personnel are encouraged to show their active duty ID badge to receive a complimentary Orioles cap at the Fan Assistance Center in the Warehouse at any home game.

·WELCOME HOME SCOREBOARD MESSAGES

The Orioles are proud to offer free “Welcome Home” messages on Oriole Park’s MASNvision scoreboard for all active military personal returning home from duty. To find out more information, or to reserve a message for an upcoming game, call 888-848-BIRD.

WELCOME BACK VETERANS

Major League Baseball and the Orioles support Welcome Back Veterans, a program that addresses the needs of returning American veterans and their families. The Orioles, along with all other MLB teams, will wear special camouflage logo hats for their games on Memorial Day (May 28), Independence Day (July 4) and Patriot Day (September 11) to raise awareness for this worthy program. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these hats will benefit Welcome Back Veterans.

For more information about any of these programs, fans should call 1-888-848-BIRD, visit http://www.orioles.com/military or contact their local ITT/Leisure Travel office.

Antonelli claimed by Yankees

The Yankees announced Thursday that they have claimed infielder Matt Antonelli off waivers from the Orioles, who designated him for assignment last week to make room for  Xavier Avery on the 40-man roster. Antonelli, who was one of executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette’s first signings, was in Major League camp but lost out on the utility role to Rule-5 pick Ryan Flaherty. Steven Tolleson was called up by the club last week, another sign that Antonelli’s stock was dropping in the organization.

Antonelli was hitting .204/.357/.280 in 29 games at Triple-A Norfolk when he was designated.

Orioles @ Royals (w lineups)

*In case you missed it, or feel asleep, the Orioles won their fifth consecutive extra-inning contest last night, beating the Royals 4-3 in 15 innings. It was the second longest game of the year –who can forget that one in Fenway Park? — and manager Buck Showalter spoke highly of his team’s resolve afterward. (Note, you can read the whole game recap here.)

“You play a late game last night with the emotion in the Yankee series and I’m sure these guys didn’t get to bed before 4 a.m.,” Showalter said. “There’s such a temptation to give in. In our sport, if you can stay mentally and emotionally strong, you are going to get a payback.

“Our guys have had a lot of resolve about finishing the task. We have a lot of guys here who have had their nose bloodied. They are willing to fight so that it doesn’t happen again.”

*How good is Adam Jones right now? I remember this spring Showalter showing some regret that the team didn’t have a true cleanup hitter and instead would have to rely on younger hitters like Jones and Wieters to hold down the middle of the lineup. It’s early, but both of them have impressed me at the plate, particularly Jones who show some maturity in hitting the go-ahead homer despite going 0-=for-6 prior to that. There were times in previous seasons I think  Jones would have been too frustrated in his prior at-bats to be successful, but that wasn’t the case last night.

He now has 12 homers, and nine have either tied the game or given the Orioles a lead.

*The Orioles have their first six-game road winning streak since 2004 and will look to finish a quick two game sweep with Brian Matusz on the hill against Luke Hochevar. You can read the game preview here.

*The O’s will pack up following this afternoon’s game and get ready to kick of InterLeague Play with this weekend’s series in DC against the Nationals. I have a full story up here previewing the games, and am curious if this series –and rivalry — is more exciting to fans now that both teams are playing well. Does it feel like a rivalry at all? Or, as I got in email today, is it all media-driven?

 

ORIOLES LINEUP
Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Wilson Betemit DH
Chris Davis 1B
Robert Andino 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Luis Exposito C

LHP Brian Matusz

ROYALS LINEUP
Jarrod Dyson CF
Johnny Giavotella DH
Billy Butler 1B
Alex Gordon LF
Jeff Francoeur RF
Mike Moustakas 3B
Alcides Escobar SS
Irving Falu 2B
Humberto Quintero C

RHP Luke Hochevar

Yankees throw some kudos the Orioles’ way

The Orioles ended a tough 15-game stretch 9-6 –taking series from Boston, New York and Tampa Bay in the process — as this team continues to get contributions up and down the roster despite some key injuries. But Tuesday night belonged almost exclusively to starter Wei-Yin Chen, who flummoxed the Yankees over seven innings and allowed only a two-run homer to Curtis Granderson in the 5-2 win.

Afterwards, the Yankees had some high praise for Chen and an Oriole club that is turning heads around baseball, improving to 23-14 and staying tied with the Rays for first-place in the AL East.

“He’s sneaky,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said of Chen, who improved to 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his first four home starts. “It’s not like he’s throwing changeups like [Jamie] Moyer, you know what I’m saying? He gets it up there 91, 92. He hits his spots. He knows how to pitch. It’s a little unfair to say he’s not overpowering because he mixes in his offspeed stuff and his fastball gets up there pretty good. He knows what he’s doing.

“Evidently, he has been pitching well against everyone. I don’t think today was a surprise, at least for them. He has pitched pretty well. If I recall, I think he pitched well against us the first time too. I think he pitched well. He’s been doing that since the season started so he knows what he’s doing.”

Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “He’s got four pitches he can go to. He can locate to both sides of the plate, It seems his fastball is a little sneaky.”

“They’re a much improved team,” Girardi said of the Orioles. “Much improved. Their pitching has improved dramatically and that’s a big difference.”

Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who suffered his first loss of the season, has also been impressed with how Baltimore has come on in the season’s first month-and-a-half.

“They’ve been good,” Sabathia said. “They played us tough even that first series here. Every game was grind-it-out tough even yesterday. So, that’s a really good team over there.”

Orioles vs. Yankees

*There is a pretty strong probability that outfielder Nolan Reimold will get a second epidural injection, which would set him back another few weeks, as he continues to deal with nagging discomfort in his left shoulder/forearm area. Reimold said he still gets occasional tingling in his left thumb and has trouble gripping things on that side as well. His neck, which was the original area where things started, has seen some improvement.

*Zach Britton threw 47 pitches in four scoreless innings in his second extended spring start against the Boston Red Sox. Britton allowed two hits and struck out four and finished up with 20 more pitches in the bullpen. He said his arm felt great and he will throw around 80 pitches on Monday. The plan would be to send Britton out on a rehab assignment with one of the team’s affiliates assuming all goes well there. This afternoon’s game, which was played at the Orioles’ spring complex in Sarasota, featured Boston regulars Ryan Kalish and Jason Repko. It’s not known how many rehab starts Britton would need to make but Showalter has said previously that the organization is targeting an early June return.

*Matt Lindstrom has been diagnosed with a partial tear in the ligament of his right middle finger and he will remain in Baltimore for the next few days because there’s nothing he can do for it right now. Lindstrom said last night that the MRI taken actually showed positive results because it’s not a full tear –which would be a much longer recovery — but it’s too early in his recovery stage to start predicting timetables.

*Jason Hammel said today he wasn’t slowed by any right knee pain and is on track to start on Saturday as scheduled. Hammel, who has been getting treatment on the area and doing some pool work to keep his legs strong, still isn’t back to running but hoped to incorporate some more conditioning back in this week since he admitted to having some fatigue last night.

*Tommy Hunter flew to Kansas City this afternoon, ahead of the team, and is scheduled to start Thursday’s game against the Royals. He will be followed by Brian Matusz, with Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Wei Yin Chen in line for the team’s first taste of Interleague play in DC this weekend.

*Catcher Taylor Teagarden is back on a stabilization program for his back in extended spring, and Showalter said he’s been feeling much better. Third baseman Mark Reynolds and outfielder Endy Chavez also both headed down to extended spring today.

*Earlier this afternoon, the Norfolk Tides announced on the team’s Twitter page that left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis has been removed from the restricted list and assigned to Class-A Aberdeen roster. Speaking of Twitter, Ryan Flaherty just joined and you can follow him @RFlaherty3

ORIOLES LINEUP

Robert Andino 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Wilson Betemit 1B
Bill Hall DH
Steve Tolleson 3B
Xavier Avery LF

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

YANKEES LINEUP

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Graderson Cf
Andruw Jones DH
Jayson Nix Lf
Chris Stewart C

CC Sabathia LHP

Orioles vs. Yankees lineups and pregame notes

*Former first-round pick Billy Rowell has received a 50-game suspension after a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse, Major League Baseball announced Monday afternoon.

The suspension of Rowell, who is currently on the roster of short-season Aberdeen of the New York-Penn League, will be effective at the start of the IronBirds’ season on June 18th. Rowell, who was listed as a third baseman, is the organization’s third Minor Leaguer to get a 50-game suspension this season, joining catchers Brian Ward and Michael Ohlman.  Rowell was Baltimore’s ninth overall pick in the 2006 Draft, but has never advanced beyond AA-ball in six Minor League seasons.

*Nolan Reimold is not progressing the way the team had hoped, manager Buck Showalter said on Monday, and it appears likely Reimold will be in line to get a second epidural. Reimold will be examined by a team physician later on Monday, and Showalter he was hoping for some positive news, but he didn’t exactly paint a rosy picture in meeting with the media.

The shots typically come in three’s, but there was some optimism that Reimold might show some marked improvement after his first one and be able to come off the disabled list close to the 15-day time frame. That’s not happening right now, and there’s no timetable on Reimold, who has been dealing with neck spasms and was diagnosed with a herniated disk.

*Tommy Hunter will start on Wednesday for the series opener of a quick two-game set in Kansas City. Dana Eveland, who is available in relief tonight, will be used out of the bullpen for the foreseeable future.

*Joel Pineiro, who has been pitching with Triple-A Norfolk, did not make Sunday’s scheduled start and Showalter said he’s been dealing with soreness in his right shoulder capsule.

*There’s been light rain all day, and the forecast doesn’t look promising. As soon as I get official word on any delays or possible postponements, they’ll be up on this blog and Twitter. Right now, both teams are cautiously optimistic they can get the game in.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Wilson Betemit 3B
Chris Davis 1B
Nick Johnson DH
Robert Andino 2B

Jason Hammel RHP

YANKEES LINEUP

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C

Ivan Nova RHP

Arrieta: ‘I think I need to relax a little bit’

After turning in his worst start of the season –and the shortest start by an Oriole this year –Jake Arrieta sat in the team’s video room Sunday evening going over what had gone wrong. Following a brilliant outing in New York, in which no Yankee batter even reached second base, Arrieta has struggled to regain that form and establish any consistency, allowing 13 earned runs in 10 innings on 19 hits and three walks over his last two starts.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old right-hander surrendered seven earned runs (a season-high) on 10 hits (a new career-high) and two walks, exiting after 3 2/3 innings and putting his team in an early 7-1 hole.

What exactly has gone wrong for Arrieta? Physically, it’s been his fastball command a problem identified by both manager Buck Showalter and Arrieta after the game. It’s also a little bit mental, as Arrieta –who has admitted that he can be his own worst enemy – said Sunday that he’s been putting too much pressure on himself to put up quality outings.

“I need to relax a little bit, and trust myself, because I’m more than capable of making good pitches when I need to get guys out,” said Arrieta, who shut down the Yankees for eight innings on May 2.

“It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it and not trying to do too much.  Certain times I try to muscle it up and try to blow the ball by a guy and end up leaving it up, rather than just being good mechanically and executing down in the zone. I just need to get back to that. Take a little pressure off myself, and go out there and pitch.”

The Orioles Opening Day starter, Arrieta tossed seven scoreless innings against the Twins –not allowing a batter to reach third – and he said Sunday his stuff was good, he just couldn’t make a quality pitch when necessary.

“I don’t think it’s real complicated,” Showalter said of Arrieta’s inconsistency. “Command the fastball at this level with his stuff, you’ve got a chance to have success, and that’s pretty much a direct correlation when he pitches well and when he has some struggles.”

Arrieta was hit hard by a Rays team that entered Sunday ranked ninth in the American League in batting average, sixth in runs scored and 11th in hits. Tampa Bay entered Sunday having scored more than six runs just twice in its last 21 games, but managed to plate seven runs off Arrieta in the Orioles’ 9-8 loss.

“I think it really comes down to four fastballs that were elevated with guys on base that they were able to put good swings on it,” Arrieta said. “So, really the only thing I take away from it is, just I got to get the ball down. Especially with guys on base in situations like that. Because the breaking balls were good today and I had a good fastball. But when I needed to locate down in counts I knew they were going to be hacking, I couldn’t do that.”

Orioles vs. Rays finale (Pomeranz optioned)

*Jason Hammel is in line to start on Monday, which is a good sign for the Orioles. Hammel, who will face the Yankees, has been dealing with some knee soreness but has reported to be feeling much better with daily treatment. He was skipped from Thursday’s start.

*The Orioles should have more news on Nolan Reimold and Matt Lindstrom on Monday, with Reimold’s epidural taking a few days to set in and Lindstrom awaiting the results of an MRI on his right middle finger. The original hope had been that Reimold would be ready to go out on rehab assignment by now, but manager Buck Showalter confirmed Sunday that’s not happening. Reimold won’t be ready when his DL period is up on Wednesday, and there should be a clearer timetable for him on Monday.

Both Reimold and Lindstrom are probably headed to extended spring in Sarasota at some point, along with Endy Chavez (left oblique strain) and probably Mark Reynolds (left oblique strain)

*Xavier Avery will make his Major League debut today as the outfielder got the promotion last night from Triple-A Norfolk and had his contract purchased  for this afternoon’s game.To make room on the 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned reliever Stu Pomeranz to Triple-A Norfolk and designated Matt Antonelli for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster to add Avery. Pomeranz, who made his Major League debut on Monday, threw four scoreless innings for the Orioles and appears to be the odd man out because he has an option.

This move is interesting, since it was looking like it would be Dana Eveland would be the guy to go. Eveland, who is out of options and would have to clear waivers, could be used as a reliever or could be getting another start depending on the health of Hammel and the other starters. The Orioles will have 10 days to trade, release or see if Antonelli clears waivers. One of executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette’s first moves, Antonelli signed as a free agent in November and hit.204/.357/.280 with four doubles, a homer and seven RBIs in 29 games for Triple-A.

*Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada will stay in Los Angeles and rehab until May 21 before heading down to the team’s extended spring facility. Wada underwent Tommy John surgery last week, which was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Here are your lineups on this Mother’s Day as the O’s try to go for the sweep ...

ORIOLES LINEUP
Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Nick Johnson DH
Chris Davis 1B
Robert Andino 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B

Jake Arrieta RHP

RAYS LINEUP
Ben Zobrist RF
B.J. Upton CF
Matt Joyce LF
Luke Scott DH
Carlos Pena 1B
Jeff Keppinger 3B
Will Rhymes 2B
Chris Gimenez C
Elliot Johnson SS

James Shields RHP

Avery next to be called up

Norfolk outfielder Xavier Avery looks like he’ll become the latest Triple-A player to have his contract purchase by the Orioles. Although the team has not yet announced the move, agent Victor Menocal with Excel Sports Management tweeted, “Congrats to @excelsm client Xavier Avery #Orioles for getting called up to the #Baltimore today!” The tweet was posted at 4:15 p.m. Saturday. 

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday afternoon that the team would probably add a 13th position player on Sunday, and it looks like Avery will be that player. Avery has hit leadoff in the majority of the Tides’ games this season, posting a .273 average with five home runs, 16 RBIs and eight stolen bases. The 22-year-old is one of Norfolk’s most athletic players and will provide depth to an Orioles outfield that currently has Nolan Reimold and Endy Chavez on the disabled list.  

–Greg Luca

Orioles vs Rays Game 2, Pregame notes and lineups

*Orioles reliever Matt Lindstrom, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of an injury to his right middle finger, underwent an MRI. Manager Buck Showalter said the team may have to wait until Monday before someone qualified is able to read it and make a diagnosis. 

*Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada is traveling to Sarasota, Fla., on Monday to being his rehab after undergoing successful Tommy John surgery on Friday. 

*Endy Chavez will also be heading to Sarasota to rehab the oblique muscle that landed him on the DL on Thursday. 

*Manager Buck Showalter hinted that the team could make a roster move to get back to 13 position players on Sunday. The 25-man roster currently has 13 pitchers, including six starters. Dana Eveland and Tommy Hunter would both be candidates for assignment to Norfolk, although Jason Hammel could be moved to the disabled list if his right knee is not healthy enough to pitch by Monday or Tuesday, as is expected. He has not started since May 5. 

ORIOLES LINEUP

Robert Andino  2B

JJ Hardy SS

Nick Markakis RF

Adam Jones CF

Matt Wieters DH

Wilson Betemit 1B

Bill Hall RF

Steve Tolleson 3B

Luis Exposito C

 

Brian Matusz LHP

 

 

RAYS LINEUP

Ben Zobrist RF

Sean Rodriguez 3B

BJ Upton CF

Jeff Keppinger 1B

Brandon Guyer LF

Luke Scott DH

Elliot Johnson SS

Chris Gimenez C

Will Rhymes 2B

 

Matt Moore LHP

 

–Greg Luca

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