June 2012

Orioles acquire Thome for Minor Leaguers Lino, Simon

The Orioles have acquired Jim Thome from the Phillies in exchange for Class A players Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon, the team announced Saturday.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said he intends for Thome to be available to the Orioles on Sunday.

Thome is hitting .242/.338/.516 this season with five home runs and 15 RBIs, and it is expected that the Orioles will use him at designated hitter.

Thome owns a career batting line of .277/.402/.556 and has hit 609 home runs, tied for seventh all-time.

“Jim Thome is a real pro, and he specializes in hitting home runs and getting on base, and he’s done that his whole career,” Duquette said. “Beyond that he’s a terrific teammate and a steady presence and he’s a veteran, he’s been around.”

Duquette said the move was made to add more depth to a lineup that has left-handed hitters Nick Johnson, Nick Markakis and Endy Chavez on the disabled list.

With Nolan Reimold now likely out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on his neck on Monday, Duquette also wanted to add some pop to the O’s lineup.

“We had to look at adding power to our team, and also we have a real strong lineup versus left-handed pitching and I think that this will give us a stronger lineup, particularly versus right-handed pitching,” Duquette said.

Lino, a 19-year-old catcher from Venezuela, is rated the Orioles 11th-best prospect by MLB.com and was hitting .218 with four home runs and 18 RBIs with Class A Delmarva.

Simon, a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher who was a fourth-round pick out of the University of Arizona in the 2011 Draft, is 2-8 with a 3.96 ERA with Class A Frederick. He is rated the Orioles 20th-best prospect by MLB.com.

“We like both of the young players,” Duquette said. “We thought that Thome’s presence and our need for the Major League team were worth the value that we have to give up in a trade.”

The Orioles also designated left-handed pitcher Zach Phillips for assignment to make room for Thome on the 40-man roster.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he started receiving calls from American League teams about Thome’s availability after the 41-year-old slugger hit four home runs and 14 RBIs in nine Interleague games as the team’s designated hitter.

Thome played first base for four games in April before a back injury sent him to the disabled list, raising doubts about whether he will ever be healthy enough to play first base again.

“Well, he’s been hitting, and that’s his primary asset,” Duquette said when asked about the injury. “He should be able to hit.”

With first baseman Ryan Howard on the mend and no designated hitter spot in the National League, speculation on Thome joining an American League club had been rampant.

Thome did not play during the Phillies’ 3-2 loss to the Marlins on Saturday.

The Orioles have used eight different players at designated hitter this season, with Chris Davis and Johnson leading the way with 19 starts each.

Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a right wrist injury, while Davis has been playing in right field in place of injured starter Markakis, who has been on the disabled list since having a piece of his broken right hamate bone removed on June 1.

Orioles vs Indians (Game 3) Lineups and Pregame Notes

*Nick Johnson is traveling to Sarasota to rehab his injured right wrist, although an MRI conducted Friday didn’t reveal any tears or other signifiant damage. Johnson said he will be wearing a brace and taking pills without any activity for a week, at which point he will be reevaluted. 

*Dana Eveland told the media he thought he’d be able to throw about 85 pitches on Saturday, but manager Buck Showalter seemed skeptical given the heat and the fact that Eveland hasn’t thrown more than 48 pitches in an outing since May 11. Showalter said he’d be happy if Eveland got to 80, but he’d be willing to let him go longer than that as long as he’s pitching well.

*The Orioles have been carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position players since Wednesday, and Showalter said the utility capabilities of Robert Andino and Ryan Flaherty have been a big part of making that work. Showalter added that he’ll likely only start one of them at any given time in order to keep flexibility with his lineup. Flaherty will be hitting ninth and playing third base on Saturday. 

*Earl Weaver is being honored with a ceremony and sculpture unveiling today at Camden Yards as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series. We’ll have coverage of the event up on Orioles.com later today. 

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Wilson Betemit 1B
Chris Davis RF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds DH
Ryan Flaherty 3B

Dana Eveland LHP

INDIANS LINEUP

Shin-Soo Choo RF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Jason Kipnis 2B
Jose Lopez 3B
Michael Brantley CF
Shelley Duncan DH
Casey Kotchman 1B
Lou Marson C
Aaron Cunningham LF

Josh Tomlin RHP 

Orioles vs Indians (Game 2) Lineups and Pregame Notes

*Nick Markakis said his wound is fully healed, but he is yet to swing a bat. Still, Markakis would not rule out a possible return before the All-Star break, saying it was still a possibility he could play during the O’s series in Los Angeles July 5-8. Markakis has been on the 15-day disabled list since having part of his broken right hamate bone removed on June 1 and was expecting to see a doctor Friday afternoon. On Thursday night, manager Buck Showalter said Markakis would not be traveling with the team when they travel to Seattle for a series that starts on Monday, instead continuing his rehab with local affiliates at Aberdeen and Bowie. 

*Wilson Betemit is hitting .542 in his last eight games, dating back to June 18. After considering Betemit’s hot hand and Friday’s matchup with right-hander Derek Lowe and the Indians bullpen, Showalter opted to move Betemit up to fifth in the batting order. Betemit said the key to his recent success has been taking what pitchers are giving him, being patient and not trying to pull the ball. 

*The Orioles have agreed to terms with second-round pick Brandon Kline, fourth-round pick Christian Walker and seventh-round pick Matt Price, according to an organizational source. Kline is a right-handed pitcher from the University of Virginia with a low-90s fastball and a powerful 12-to-6 curveball. Kline played his first two seasons as a reliever before making 15 starts and posting a 7-3 record with a 3.56 ERA in 2012. He recorded 94 strikeouts with 43 walks in 93 2/3 innings. Walker played first base at the University of South Carolina and hit .321 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs last season. Price, also from South Carolina, is a right-hander who has been a closer for the majority of his career and projects to come out of the bullpen at the next level, although director of scouting Gary Rajsich said that decision is yet to be made. Price pitched to a 3.48 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings last season with South Carolina.  The Orioles have now agreed to terms with eight of their top 10 picks, as first-rounder Kevin Gausman and fifth-rounder Colin Poche remain unsigned. The signing deadline for 2012 Draft selections is July 13. 

*Showalter said team doctors were in the process of reading Nick Johnson’s MRI. The team hopes to have a more definitive idea of what he’s dealing with later today. 

*Endy Chavez’s strained right hamstring, which landed him on the 15-day disabled list June 14, has been slow to heal and the team is considering getting a second opinion. Chavez is yet to run outside, working only on a treadmill and in the pool. 

*Brian Roberts is 0 for his last 15, but Showalter was confident that Roberts simply needs a little time to get reacclimatized to playing. Showalter said Roberts is still the team’s best leadoff option. 

*Matt Wieters is hitting seventh in the Orioles batting order, the lowest he’s hit this season. Showalter said this has a lot to do with the pitching matchup, as Wieters has hit .409 against lefties and .196 against righties. 

 

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Wilson Betemit 1B
Chris Davis DH
Matt Wieters C
Ryan Flaherty RF
Robert Andino 3B

Jake Arrieta RHP

INDIANS LINEUP

Shin-Soo Choo RF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Jason Kipnis 2B
Michael Brantley CF
Johnny Damon LF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Lonnie Chisenhall DH
Jack Hannahan 3B
Lou Marson C

Derek Lowe RHP 

Orioles vs Indians Lineups and Pregame Notes

*Xavier Avery has been called up from Triple-A Norfolk and will be starting in left field and batting second on Thursday. To make room for Avery, Nick Johnson has been moved to the 15-day disabled list. Johnson started at designated hitter on Thursday and left the game after a changeup he fouled off during his only at-bat caused pain and weakness in his right wrist, which has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. Johnson is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday morning and will be eligible to return the first day after the All-Star break. Avery played 15 games with the Orioles in May, going 10-for-32 during the first eight before a 3-for-28 slide in the final seven. Those struggles continued when he first returned to Norfolk, but he has hit .333 with seven walks and four steals in his last 10 games for the Tides. 

*Dana Eveland will be Saturday’s starter, and manager Buck Showalter said he expects that Eveland will throw about 80 pitches. Eveland traveled to California over the weekend for the birth of his second child, returned to Baltimore on Wednesday and threw two scoreless innings on 18 pitches later that night. Eveland made his only previous start of the season on May 11 against Tampa Bay and has been used in a long relief role since. With left-handers Wei-Yin Chen and Brian Matusz starting Thursday and Sunday, Showalter wanted to be able to keep right-hander Tommy Hunter in a long relief role instead of Eveland, a lefty. 

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis DH
Matt Wieters C
Wilson Betemit 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty RF

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

INDIANS LINEUP

Shin-Soo Choo RF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Jason Kipnis 2B
Jose Lopez 1B
Michael Brantley CF
Shelley Duncan DH
Johnny Damon LF
Jack Hannahan 3B
Lou Mason C

Zach McAllister RHP 

Orioles vs Angels Game 2 Lineups and Pregame Notes

*Steve Tolleson was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday to make room on the 25-man roster for reliever Matt Lindstrom, who was reinstated off the 15-day disabled list as expected. The move gives the Orioles 13 pitchers and 12 position players on the active roster, a move manager Buck Showalter said was made partially because the team will not have another off-day until the All-Star Game. Lindstrom had been on the disabled list since May 11 with a partially torn ligament in his right middle finger, and Showalter said ideally the team would like to ease him back into action with a low-pressure situation if the upcoming games allow it. Showalter added that sending Tolleson down was due to the desire to get him consistent at-bats with Norfolk. He also cited the O’s numerous upcoming matchups against right-handed pitchers, who Tolleson is 2-for-16 against this season.

*Tommy Hunter threw 31 pitches on Tuesday, but Showalter said Hunter is still a consideration for Saturday’s start. Dana Eveland, who battled a few travel issues but rejoined the team on Wednesday after flying out to California on Saturday night for the birth of his second child, is also an option.

*Showalter again threw his support behind Jason Hammel for All-Star consideration, saying he talked to Texas manager Ron Washington, who will be in charge of the American League team, about how the Orioles’ rotation shapes up prior to the break. If the current rotation holds, Showalter said Wei-Yin Chen would be in line to pitch the final day before the break.

*The O’s agreed to terms with 29th round pick RHP Jake Pintar., bringing the team total to 24 of 40 picks.

*Wilson Betemit’s eighth-inning homer in Tuesday’s game marked his 10th of the season, giving the Orioles five players with 10 or more home runs, joining only the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees in that category. Chris Davis, Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters are the other four players.

*Triple-A Norfolk’s right-handed pitchers Jason Berken and Miguel Socolovich have been named to the 2012 International League All-Star Team. Berken is 1-1 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 outings, while Socolovich is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 21 relief appearances. The Triple-A All-Star Game will take place in Buffalo, N.Y. on July 11.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Wilson Betemit 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Nick Johnson DH
Steve Pearce LF

Jason Hammel RHP

ANGELS LINEUP

Mike Trout CF
Torii Hunter RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Mark Trumbo LF
Albert Callaspo 3B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Erick Aybar SS
Bobby Wilson C

Jered Weaver RHP

Orioles vs. Angels lineups and pregame notes

*Nick Markakis was not cleared to swing today as he had hoped, and the new goal is Friday for the right-fielder to pick up a bat and start taking dry swings with a fungo. Markakis is clearly frustrated he’s not healing as quickly as he thought, but it’s important for the wound to heal before he starts swinging and testing that right wrist.

Manager Buck Showalter said he doesn’t foresee Markakis returning before the team’s trip to Anaheim, and acknowledged “it will be close” to the All-Star break.

*Orioles reliever Dana Eveland is on his way back from California, after wife Ashley gave birth to the couple’s second child, a boy named Asher Perry, on Saturday night at 10:32 p.m.  According to the couple’s Twitter feed, Asher was born at seven lbs, nine ounces and 20 1/4 inches.

Eveland, who left the team after Saturday’s game, is expected to arrive in Baltimore during tonight’s game at some point.

*Matt Lindstrom is here and the plan is for him to play long toss and be activated on Wednesday. Showalter said with Monday’s off day, the bullpen is in good shape being down an arm and they’d prefer to give Lindstrom –who threw for Bowie on Sunday — two full days off. Tommy Hunter is also available out of the ‘pen tonight if needed and he’s a candidate to start on Saturday. It will probably be someone up here for that start, although Showalter didn’t want to completely rule out the possibility of calling someone up from Triple-A.

Jake Arrieta will start on Friday with Sunday Brian Matusz.

*Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer saluted 10 year-old Lindsey Duquette and others suffering from the kidney disease FSGS and Nephrotic Syndrome while receiving The NephCure Foundation 2012 Public Service Award Sunday, June 24 at Countdown To A Cure – Baltimore at the Kettle Hill Restaurant. The charity affair, attended by over 100 people, was the culmination of a series of events encompassing “NephCure Day” in the City of Baltimore, helping raise over $30,000 for The NephCure Foundation, which fights the kidney disease FSGS and Nephrotic Syndrome by funding research and providing education to families dealing with these diseases.

ANGELS LINEUP

Mike Trout LF
Torii Hunter RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Mark Trumbo DH
Howie Kendrick
Erick Aybar SS
Maicer Izturis 3B
Peter Bourjos CF
John Hester C

CJ Wilson LHP

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds DH
Wilson Betemit 1B
Steve Pearce RF
Steve Tolleson LF
Robert Andino 3B

Brian Matusz LHP

Moyers moves on to Toronto

Jamie Moyer has signed a Minor League deal with Toronto, and he is expected to report to their Triple-A club in Las Vegas.

Moyer opted out of his deal with the Orioles over the weekend after a three-start audition with their Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk. He went 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA over 16 innings before requesting his release on Saturday. The 49-year-old lefty made the Colorado Rockies Opening Day roster but was released by the club in May before latching on with the Orioles. This will be Moyer’s third organization this season.

Also, in case you missed it, the Orioles granted veteran Miguel Tejada his release yesterday. More on that here.

Orioles Draft Update

With the College World Series ending last night, the Orioles are expected to get the ball rolling and start negotiations with two of their top 10 picks: South Carolina’s first baseman Christian Walker  (4th round) and right-handed pitcher Matthew Price (7) within the next day or two.

“We talked to their people before drafting them and we are under the impression we can get it done,” amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich said of the signability of Walker and Price, who lost to Arizona in the NCAA College World Series Monday night.

The club has signed 23 of its 40 draftees and  Rajisch said the emphasis now is on signing the five guys remaining in the top 10 rounds — although the club did announce the signing of 26th-rounder Lucas Herbst on Monday — and then re-evaluating the budget after that in determining who to sign from the lower rounds.

Top two picks right-handed pitchers Kevin Gausman (out of Louisiana State University) and University of Virginia’s Branden Kline both remain unsigned, and although negotiations have started in both cases, there’s not anything to suggest a signing is on the immediate horizon.

“Nothing unusual about the way it’s progressing,” Rajsich said of talks with Gausman and Kline’s agents.  Asked if he anticipated something to be done before this year’s deadline –which was moved up to July 13 — Rajsich said: “I don’t know, these things are two sided propositions and both sides are going to have to come together, but we both know when the deadline is.

I wouldn’t have any guess, I really wouldn’t. It could be July 13, I don’t know.”

The Orioles are still optimistic they will sign their top 10 guys, a group that still includes Gausman, Kline, Walker, Price and fifth-rounder Colin Poche, a high school lefty from Texas. The club is also currently still scouting and evaluating some of their lower-round high school picks, getting another look at a handful of guys –playing in summer leagues — to determine which direction they want to go.

The O’s top three signees all agreed on the slot bonuses: third-rounder Adrian Marin ( $481,100) , sixth-rounder Lex Rutledge ($196,200) and eighth-rounder Torsten Boss ($139,500) with ninth and 10th picks Brady Wager and Joel Hutter signing for less than slot, giving the organization some leverage with their remaining top guys. The Orioles have spent $951,800 of an allotted $6,826,900 of bonus pool money.

To recap, under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club’s selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team’s selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

For the Orioles’ top 10 rounds chart, click here.

Orioles vs Nationals, Game 3: Lineups and Pregame Notes

*Dana Eveland is not with the team Sunday, although the Orioles will not officially begin his three-day paternity leave or add another player to the active roster until Tuesday. With Eveland traveling to California to be with his wife, Tommy Hunter will be available out of the bullpen if the Orioles are in need of a long reliever on Sunday.

*Reliever Matt Lindstrom could be an option to rejoin the team in Eveland’s absence. Lindstrom has been rehabbing a partially torn ligament in his right middle finger in the Minors, and manager Buck Showalter said the team was sending a scout to Bowie on Sunday to watch his outing and evaluate his readiness to return.

*Endy Chavez continues to rehab his strained hamstring in Sarasota, and manager Buck Showalter said it has been a slow process for him.

*Brian Matusz will start on Tuesday, with Jason Hammel scheduled to pitch Wednesday and Wei-Yin Chen likely to start on normal rest on Thursday.

*Chris Davis is out of the lineup on Sunday, which Showalter said was a combination of his 0-for-28 slump and the matchup with left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler.

Here’s the rest of Sunday’s lineups:

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Steve Pearce RF
Ronny Paulino DH
Steve Tolleson LF
Robert Andino 3B

Jake Arrieta RHP

NATIONALS LINEUP

Steve Lombardozzi LF
Bryce Harper RF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse DH
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Rick Ankiel CF
Jhonatan Solano C

Ross Detwiler LHP

Duquette “absolutely” has ownership’s backing to add pieces at the deadline

The Orioles are in it to win it this year, as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Saturday that he has the ownership’s full backing to add pieces externally if need be.  Baltimore entered the day 1 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East and will approach the Trade Deadline as buyers, looking for ways to continue what has been a surprising start to the season.

“We’re in contention, and we need to look at all the options we have to help our team,” Duquette said. “But we have some pretty good options in our Minor League system to bolster the team that we have here.”

Speaking before the game, along with manager Buck Showalter, to season ticket holders as part of the club’s annual “State of the Orioles” address, Duquette told the group assembled principal owner Peter Angelos “wants to win this year”.  He reiterated that sentiment in meeting with the media, saying that he “absolutely” had the support of the Orioles ownership to do whatever he feels is in the team’s best interest.

“We are in contention, so we are going to do whatever we can to make the playoffs,” said Duquette, who inherited an organization with 14 consecutive losing seasons when taking the reins this winter.

Under previous president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail’s four Trade Deadlines, the club was in a decidedly different state, trading away relievers George Sherrill, Will Ohman and Koji Uehara and first baseman Derrek Lee in hopes of bringing back something for the future.

Duquette – who has stressed building the organization through the amateur and international efforts — made it clear he wouldn’t sacrifice the Orioles’ top prospects, but he wouldn’t hesitate to make a move that betters this year’s club without crippling the current farm system.

“I like to build an organization, so that we have depth throughout the organization,” Duquette said.

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