June 2012

Orioles vs Nationals Game 2: Lineups and Pregame Notes (updated)

*Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette spoke with season ticket holders –along with manager Buck Showalter — and said he has the ownership’s backing to add pieces as he sees fit. Duquette reiterated that to the beat reporters, saying the team is in contention and will do whatever they think is necessary to make the playoffs without sacrificing the long-term future. Asked if that meant ownership was on board, Duquette said yes.

An organization builder, Duquette wouldn’t trade away the team’s top prospects, but wouldn’t hesitate to make a move that betters this year’s club without crippling the farm system. He did say he believes the organization has some internal solutions as well. Two of those on the pitching side are Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, who have both thrown well as of late in Triple-A.

*J.C. Romero can opt out of his contract ar0ound the All-Star break so the organization will have to make a decision on whether he fits with the big league club around that time. Romero was placed on the temporary inactive list today for Triple-A as he deals with a personal matter back home, but has thrown 10 1/3 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts over that stretch. Third baseman Miguel Tejada does not have an opt-out clause as the two sides have an agreement that as long as both sides are OK with it, he can remain in Triple-A.

*Discussing the release of  Moyer, manager Buck Showalter said the recent performances of Tommy Hunter and Tillman and others were a factor in the decision. Although Hunter has a 6.05 ERA in three June starts, he’s shown enough early in those outings to keep the Orioles from needing to bring in another starter right away. At Norfolk, Tillman has pitched to a 3.76 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 83 2/3 innings. Britton has also gotten progressively better in his four starts at Norfolk, most recently allowing only two runs on four hits in six innings on Thursday.

*The O’s have an off-day after Jake Arrieta pitches Sunday, and Showalter is keeping his options open in terms of Tuesday’s starter. He said he wanted to keep Hammel and Chen on normal rest, which would mean Hammel pitching Wednesday and Chen pitching Thursday. Hunter, Tillman and Britton could all be options for the Tuesday start.

*The timing of Dana Eveland’s imminent paternity leave remains unclear, but his wife his expecting any day now, which will obviously change the team’s roster. He would be gone for three days on paternity leave under MLB rules.

*Reliever Matt Lindstrom allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits in 1 1/3 innings for Double-A Bowie on Friday, but Showalter said a lot of his trouble was due to a swinging bunt and an error behind him. Lindstrom was also hit with a sharp grounder, but Showalter said he’s fine. Showater added that the next step for Lindstrom is to pitch in two innings in an outing so he can be prepared for multi-inning situations that may arise with the O’s. Lindstrom, who has been on the disabled list since May 11 with a partially torn ligament in his right middle finger, previously made two rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League.

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

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

NATIONALS LINEUP

Danny Espinosa 2B
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse DH
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Tyler Moore LF
Xavier Nady RF
Jesus Flores C

Edwin Jackson RHP

Moyer granted his release (updated)

Veteran Jamie Moyer asked for and was granted his release on Saturday, effectively making him a free agent again as the Orioles decided the 49-year-old lefty wasn’t in their immediate plans.

“We just decided as an organization we were going to go with the other pitchers that we have here,” said executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, who signed Moyer to a Minor League deal earlier this month.  “We also have some depth in starting pitching at Triple-A.”

Moyer, who was released by the Colorado Rockies in May, signed with the Orioles earlier on the grounds that he would have a three-start audition with Triple-A Norfolk. And while he fared well, going 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA, the improved performances of fellow Tides’ starters Chris Tillman and Zach Britton –coupled with the team’s pair of offdays within five days – didn’t bring a pressing need for Moyer to join the big-league club.

“We’ve been talking about it for really three days,” manager Buck Showalter said of the possibility of Moyer being activated. “All things considered with us it felt like with some of the things going on with our organization’s pitchers, without mentioning names, we feel like we have the potential to have some depth there.  We feel like we have some options.”

“We tried to explain the timing of the two off days to Jamie and his rep, but I understand Jamie’s urgency as well,” Duquette added. “He wants to win as many Major League games as he can.”

Moyer missed the entire 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, and — after making the Rockies Opening Day roster — he was released at the end of May. He is 269-209 with a 4.25 ERA in his 24-year career, having played for eight Major League teams, and Showalter is rooting for that to become nine.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching for somebody shortly,” Showalter said. “Personally just out of respect for his career and the things he’s done, I hope it happens.”

Others aren’t as optimistic regarding Moyer, who became the oldest pitcher in Major League history earlier this season to win a game.

“I think he’s had a remarkable career, and I thought he was 50, not 49,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “But, I mean, no I don’t think anybody is going to pick him up. Maybe as a pitching coach. But he’s a poster boy for a lot of us old folks. So I wish him well.”

Reimold to have surgery

Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck on Monday morning at Johns Hopkins Hopsital, a procedure that will be performed by neurosurgeon Dr. Ziya Gokaslan and is expected to end the 28-year-old’s season.

Reimold announced the decision prior to Friday’s game, and said he went back-and-forth a few times on his decision, but ultimately the consensus of multiple doctors –which he had visited in Baltimore this week – won out.

“The best thing to do as far as my career was definitely to get the surgery,” said Reimold, who last played April 30 and was dealing with what was originally diagnosed as neck spasms in the weeks prior to that. “[It will] get the pressure off the nerve that’s getting pushed on.”

Reimold said his procedure is the same one NFL quarterback Peyton Manning had, and he will have the herniated disk removed and two vertebrae will be fused together, which should make the area stronger than it had been even when he was healthy.

“He’s obviously responded well to it,” Reimold said of Manning, who is expected to be the Denver Broncos starting quarterback this season. “A lot of times the symptoms respond immediately and other times it takes a little bit of a while for the strength to come back.”

Asked if he was resigned to the fact that he would not play again this year, Reimold said:  “I’m resigned to the fact that I’m going to do the surgery and do my rehab until I’m ready to play at this level. Which, whether it takes eight weeks or longer, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The news, while not unexpected given Reimold’s flurry of doctors visits earlier this week, is still a significant blow to an Orioles club that had anticipated him manning left field in 2012. The Opening Day starter, Reimold hit .313, with five homers and 10 RBIs, posting a .627 slugging percentage in 67 at-bats before hitting the disabled list.

While on the DL, he had two epidural injections to try to ease the pain, but was still bothered by numbness and tingling despite a second, more recent, MRI showing Reimold’s herniated disk had made some improvements. Monday’s fusion surgery is fairly common among spine surgeries and while Reimold was optimistic about his career going forward, he was understandably upset about the immediate future.

“It’s disappointing,” he said of having to resort to surgery. “I wanted to [contribute], not just individually, but collectively too, because the team has been playing well. We are in the division up there towards the top. So, to not be a part of it, just to watch it is kind of tough. But I’m still rooting for the guys and puling for them. Just from that perspective it’s tough. But I’ll be back. And everything should go well, and I’ll do everything I can to be back as soon as I can. And hopefully be stronger.”

 

Orioles vs. Nationals lineups & pregame notes

*Nick Markakis (right wrist surgery)  has not been cleared to start hitting, and he will continue to rest this weekend in hopes of being able to start taking dry swings on Monday or Tuesday. Markakis said he’s no longer dealing with any soreness in the wound –which is from having part of his right hamate bone removed — but the doctors are playing it safe and want to make sure everything is completely healed before he starts hitting.

I’ve written this before, but Markakis will need to go to an affiliate to get a few at-bats as well before being activated and he’s still hoping to come back well before the All-Star break. Friday marks the three-week mark since Markakis underwent the surgery.

*Nolan Reimold has made a decision regarding what he will do regarding the herniated disk in his neck and manager Buck Showalter did not want to divulge it to the media, opting to let Reimold –who is expected to be at the park today or tomorrow — do it whenever he feels it’s time.

It’s pretty obvious that Reimold will undergo surgery after seeking out multiple opinions with specialists at Johns Hopkins Hospital the last week. Showalter said he wasn’t ready to rule out Reimold completely for the season, and that’s to be expected given that the Orioles won’t truly know what they are dealing with until Reimold undergoes the procedure.

*Jamie Moyer has completed three starts at Triple-A Norfolk and the club is still mulling over what to do. He can opt out if he isn’t promoted to Baltimore and it seems Moyer would have to choose to make another start in Triple-A if the Orioles decide they aren’t ready to call him up.

The team does not have a rotation scheduled beyond Monday’s offday, and Showalter said there are some “moving parts” in that regard, Moyer included. Jake Arrieta will follow Saturday starter Wei-Yin Chen and pitch Sunday.

*Backup catcher Ronny Paulino has a hairline fracture on the tip of his big left toe although right now it’s not anything will send him to the disabled list. Taylor Teagarden continues to progress in Sarasota and could be ready to go on a rehab assignment July 2.

Stu Pomeranz (left oblique tear) has reported to be pain free the past four or five days and will start light toss tomorrow. He could be ready to start a rehab assignment by mid-July.

*Matt Lindstrom  (right middle finger injury) will throw a maximum of 30 pitches –around two innings — in a rehab game for Double-A Bowie tonight and then go an inning on Sunday. He could be activated as early as Tuesday, assuming all goes well.

*Endy Chavez wasn’t progressing as quickly as hoped with his hamstring injury and flew to Sarasota on Thursday to continue his rehab.

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

NATIONALS LINEUP

Steve Lombardozzi LF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse DH
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Roger Bernadina RF
Jesus Flores C

Jordan Zimmermann RHP

A few notes

*In case you missed it, Orioles’ top prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado were named part of Team USA’s roster in this year’s Futures Game. Machado had quite an impressive night last night, just a few hours after the announcement, which you can read about here. Bundy, 19, will be the youngest pitcher on the squad.

*The Orioles announced they have officially signed five more draftees, bringing their total to 22. The newest round is as follows:Sixth-rounder Lex Rutledge, Kevin Grendell (11); Luc Rennie (16); Josh Hader (19) and Scott Kalush (39).

*Orioles lefty Zach Britton had a much-need quality outing for Triple-A Norfolk yesterday, allowing two run on three hits and two walks over six innings in a 5-3 win against Buffalo. Britton also struck out five. I’ve been asked a lot about Britton, and the 24-year-old continues to get better each outing down below. He’d have to put together a few quality outings before becoming an option for the Orioles at this point.

*Speaking of options, the Orioles must decide what to do with Jamie Moyer, who ended his three-start audition of sorts with a solid outing Wednesday night. Moyer allowed one run on three hits in four innings against Buffalo and has done well at Triple-A Norfolk. The question now for executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is does Moyer fit in for the big league club?

*MLB Network did a nice piece on Adam Jones and the O’s resurgence which you can watch here.

*I’ve been asked a few times about the rotation because it was listed incorrectly on Orioles.com and here it is for the weekend: Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, and (tentatively) Jake Arrieta on Sunday.

*Finally from a team release..

With online voting for the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game continuing through June 28 at 11:59 p.m., the Orioles are urging all fans to Vote Orange to send their favorite O’s players to the Midsummer Classic.  The starting line-up and reserve players will be announced on July 1, while the game itself will be played on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Orioles outfielder Adam Jones (1,959,207 votes) has been steadily gaining ground for a starting outfield spot and trails Toronto’s Jose Bautista (1,996,940 votes) by fewer than 38,000 votes in the most recent vote totals announced by MLB on Monday. The club has launched a significant effort to get out the vote for Jones and his teammates and reward fans who do their part to make sure the O’s are well-represented.

·Thursday, June 28 has been designated as Vote Orange T-Shirt Thursday. The first 10,000 fans age 15 and over in attendance at the June 28 game against the Cleveland Indians will receive a Vote Orange T-shirt as part of the club’s T-Shirt Thursday promotion.

·Those attending Orioles games during the team’s upcoming homestand that begins tomorrow are encouraged to Vote Orange from their cell phones while at the game. An in-game PSA recorded by Jones, JJ HARDY and ROBERT ANDINO encourages all fans to use their phones to vote for Orioles players. Those who show they have voted the maximum 25 times at any Oriole Park Fan Assistance Center will receive an “I VOTED” sticker and a $5 off voucher for a future ticket purchase, good for up to eight tickets (a $40 value).

·The Vote Orange promo team and The Oriole Bird have already made, and will continue to make, appearances in neighborhoods throughout Baltimore this week, including the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fells Point and Canton to encourage fans to Vote Orange. Those who vote the maximum 25 times will receive an “I VOTED” sticker as well as two complimentary tickets to an upcoming game.

·Several local and national celebrities have voiced support for the Vote Orange campaign, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Shaquille O’Neal and Benji Madden, all via Twitter. Fans with Twitter and Facebook are encouraged to use the hashtag #VoteOrange and encourage their followers and friends to do the same.

·In honor of Oriole Park at Camden Yards’ 20th Anniversary, all fans who vote at least 20 times online (up to a maximum of 25) and select the Orioles as their “favorite” or “other favorite” team will be entered to win an All-Star Game jersey autographed by an Orioles’ All-Star representative. Fans are encouraged to vote online at http://www.orioles.com/allstar.

Orioles @ Mets lineups and pregame notes

*Nick Markakis will have his right wrist reexamined on Friday, and he will not pick up a bat until the soreness which is he still dealing with has been resolved.  While Markakis had originally hoped to start hitting Friday –which is the three-week mark from surgery to remove part of his right hamate bone, manager Buck Showalter said of the plan, “I don’t think [Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells] is looking at it that way right now.

Asked if Markakis could return before the next homestand ends on July 1, which was his original goal, Showalter said: “I don’t see that happening. But we’ll see.”

It’s important to note that this isn’t being viewed as a setback, because Markakis is still progressing ahead of schedule, although he probably doesn’t see it that way. When he was originally diagnosed, I wrote about a possible longer timeframe and the uncertain nature of these injuries, which said…

“Markakis’ timetable could change, especially since surgery on the hamate bone typically tends to be closer to 6-8 for recovery. There’s some optimism he will be able to be back sooner, but the team won’t know until he has the surgery and starts his rehab.  San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval is about four weeks removed from surgery to take out his left hamate and is believed to be about two weeks away from returning, which puts him right around that six-week mark.

To date, here are the shortest documented recent recoveries from hamate removal surgery in the baseball world. (With a hat tip to researcher Dan Wade who works for SI.com’s Will Carroll, for doing the digging.)

2006: Willy Aybar: 20 Days
2010: Tony Gwynn Jr. 25 Days

Joe Mather also missed just 20 days in 2008, but also didn’t play a game after he was activated, so that situation is a little unclear and could have been part of a roster shuffle.”

The soreness is normal after the procedure, and Markakis –who is with the team — will still need to get a few at-bats at an affiliate before being activated.

“Believe me as much as he wants to be playing, we really want to get him off the DL for more reasons than just get him in the lineup,” Showalter said. “He’s a good load.”

*Matt Lindstrom threw today in the Gulf Coast League and will throw two innings for Double-A Bowie on Friday and an inning on Sunday. With the Orioles having an off day Monday, Lindstrom could be activated as early as Tuesday.

*Dontrelle Willis will make his first start of the season for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday. Willis, who was signed to a Minor League deal this spring, was stretched back out to start after he suffered an injury as a reliever, and he will join the Tides rotation. Jamie Moyer starts tonight for the Tides, with Zach Britton and Chris Tillman to follow. Willis will pitch in place of scheduled starter Jason Berken, although I’m not sure right now if that mean Berken will be moved back a day or he will just piggyback on Willi’s start.

*Joel Pineiro, who threw five innings in the GCL yesterday, reported some bicep tenderness following the start. It’s nothing serious, but he will stay in the GCL for now.

*No news on Nolan Reimold, who is weighing his options in dealing with the herniated disk in his neck. You can read more about that here.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Nick Johnson 1B
Wilson Betemit 3B
Ryan Flaherty LF
Brian Matusz LHP

METS LINEUP

Andres Torres CF
Jordany Valdespin 2B
David Wright 3B
Scott Hairston RF
Vinny Rottino LF
Ike Davis 1B
Justin Turner SS
Mike Nickeas C

Dillon Gee RHP

Reimold weighing options, including surgery

Nolan Reimold continues to see doctors in Baltimore as the Orioles’ left fielder is weighing his options in recovering from a herniated disk in his neck, which include possible season-ending surgery.

Reimold has sought multiple opinions  and manager Buck Showalter said prior to Tuesday’s game that there hasn’t been any definitive decisions made and he preferred not to speculate if Reimold will return to the field in 2012.

“I don’t want to throw dirt over Nolan right now,” Showalter said of the 28-year-old Reimold, who hasn’t played since April 30. “Let’s let this thing run its course. I’ve gotten some positive, best case scenarios ideas too. So I don’t think we are ready to go there yet. I think when we gather everything, what they decide to do exactly I can address that part of it. But I’ve heard a good timeframe, too.”

Reimold is currently on the 60-day disabled list and while Thursday’s MRI showed that the herniated disk had shrunk, he is still dealing with numbness/tingling.  Showalter confirmed surgery is an option and that getting a third epidural injection –Reimold has already had two in the area – is not being discussed. There’s no timeframe as to when Reimold will reach a decision, and given the nature of his injury any surgical procedure would have a significant rehab period.

“I’d like to think it’s not something you can rush making a decision with that especially with your back and neck,” Showalter said.

“I’ve texted [Reimold], I’ve called him once. He’s in and out of elevators, it’s tough.  [Special assistant Brady Anderson] is right there beside him and we’ve exchanged a couple texts back and forth, told him to hang in there and he said he’s trying to.  [It’s] very frustrating for him, there were a lot of things lined up for him to have a big year for us. We are hoping it’s just being delayed and not denied.”

The Orioles Opening Day left fielder, Reimold hit .313 with five homers and 10 RBIs, posting a .627 slugging percentage in 67 at-bats before hitting the DL.

Orioles @ Mets lineups

 

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Steve Pearce RF
Steve Tolleson LF
Robert Andino 3B
Tommy Hunter RHP

METS LINEUP

Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
Jordany Valdespin LF
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda RF
Ike Davis 1B
Daniel Murphy 2B
Omar Quintanilla SS
Josh Thole C
Johan Santana LHP

Reimold out at least first half

Nolan Reimold (herniated disk) will not rejoin the Orioles before the All-Star break, as manager Buck Showalter hinted at worse news, but would only go as far as to count out Reimold for the season’s first half until the team gets the results from a second cervical specialist.

Reimold saw a cervical specialist in Baltimore over the weekend in hopes of providing more clarity about why he is still experiencing discomfort and tingling in the area –and specifically his left side– although Thursday’s MRI showed the herniated disk had shrunk. Showalter said the team has an idea what it is dealing with after this weekend’s appointment, but did not want to make the news public until Reimold had a second opinion, also in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins Hospital, on Monday.

The Orioles’ Opening Day left fielder, Reimold has had two epidural injections and hasn’t played since April 30 because of the injury. He hit .313 with a .627 slugging percentage in 67 at-bats before hitting the DL, where he was transferred from the 15 to the 60-day.

Orioles @ Mets lineups and pregame notes (updated)

Greetings from Citi Field and my apologies on slacking on the blog. Those of you who follow me on Twitter, probably know I was off this weekend running my first marathon. Those of you who don’t, well, now you know.

A few pregame notes…

*Adam Jones has moved up to fourth in this week’s American League All-Star voting, with Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy standing pat at third at their respective positions. You can read more on that here.

*The Orioles announced that they have agreed to contracts with three more of their 2012 draftees, bringing their total to 17.

The team announced it has signed right-handed pitcher Nick Grim (17th round), right-handed pitcher Dennis Torres (28) and catcher Steel Russell (32), who is the son of bench coach John Russell. The Orioles also signed undrafted free agent first baseman Nik Balog, a senior out of University of San Francisco.

*Endy Chavez (right hamstring strain) did some running on the field this afternoon and said his right hamstring pain is pretty much gone at this point. Chavez hopes to avoid going to Florida to rehab and to just continue with the team before being sent out to play for Double-A Bowie.

*Jake Arrieta said he thinks he had a minor case of food poisoning over the weekend — tracing it back to some hotel room service — but said he’s stil starting tonight. Arrieta didn’t keep anything down yesterday, but said he felt much better today.

*Former Oriole Justin Turner was activated from the Mets’ DL yesterday and will face Baltimore for the first time since the O’s designated him for assignment in 2010. Turner was claimed by the Mets and has done well with New York.

*Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel talked to MLB Network earlier today and you can watch that interview here. It aired in the Orioles’ clubhouse and Hammel got some good-natured ribbing from teammates.

For those who have asked about Hammel’s sore right knee, it’s much better than it was earlier in the season and he said it doesn’t change anything he does on the mound. The biggest thing is to avoid running, which is why he did a slow jog to first base in Atlanta, and Hammel has kept his stamina up by doing pool work and the elliptical in between starts. Hammel had his knee drained of fluid once and he didn’t rule out doing it again before the season ends. It’s also pretty likely he gets offseason surgery to get rid of the cartilage and correct the problem entirely.

*Matt Lindstrom (right middle finger injury) threw an inning in the Gulf Coast League today and will do so again on Wednesday. Assuming there are no problems, he will go on a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie and pitch again Friday. Showalter said Lindstrom will be reevaluated after that.

*Speaking of Friday, it’s the date that right fielder Nick Markakis is tentatively scheduled to start doing some hitting. Markaks is with the team –as is Chavez — and is doing his best to be patient throughout the process.

*Nolan Reimold (herniated disk) will not rejoin the Orioles before the All-Star break, as manager Buck Showalter hinted at worse news, but would only go as far as to count out Reimold for the season’s first half until the team gets the results from a second cervical specialist.

“He will not be back before the All -Star Break, but let me get the rest of the information,” Showalter said before speculating further Monday afternoon. “I know where we are going.”

Reimold saw neurosurgeon Dr. Lee Riley in Baltimore over the weekend in hopes of providing more clarity about why he is still experiencing discomfort and tingling in the area –and specifically his left side– although Thursday’s MRI showed the herniated disk had shrunk. Showalter said the team has an idea what it is dealing with after this weekend’s appointment, but did not want to make the news public until Reimold had a second opinion, also in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins Hospital, on Monday.

*Joel Pineiro (right shoulder capsule) is scheduled to throw five innings in the GCL on Tuesday.

ORIOLES LINEUP

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

METS LINEUP

Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
Jordany Valdespin 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda RF
Ike Davis 1B
Scott Hairston Lf
Josh Thole C
Omar Quintanilla SS
RA Dickey RHP

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