June 2012

Jones moves up in AL All-Star voting

The Orioles are off to a great start to the 2012 season, but their stars need your help to get to them to the All-Star game. The updated American League voting totals were released on Monday and centerfielder Adam Jones has jumped up a spot –to fourth –and is trailing Toronto’s Jose Bautista’s 1,996,940 votes  with 1,959,207 votes of his own.

Catcher Matt Wieters and shortstop J.J. Hardy both remained third in their respective categories with Robert Andino dropping a spot to fifth among second baseman.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites — online or via your mobile device — using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Wieters has 1,242,247 votes and trails Texas’ Mike Napoli’s 2,239,047 and Minnesota’s Joe Mauer, who has 1,283,804. Hardy (968,963) is behind Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who has 3,359,875 votes and Rangers’ shortstop Elvis Andrus’  2,008,678.  Jones, an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in ’09, also trails Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton –who is tops among outfielders – and the Yankees’ Cutis Granderson.

Wieters was the Orioles’ representative last season, while Hardy was an All-Star with Milwaukee in 2007. Nick Markakis –who is currently on the disabled list – also moved up two spots to 13th among outfielders.

Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby — part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day — will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 9.

The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.

And the voting doesn’t end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

Johnson: ‘Did you ever see Barry Sanders celebrate a touchdown?’

I did a feature story up now on Orioles.com on closer Jim Johnson, who prefers to shy away from the spotlight and let his pitching do the talking. You can read that story here, which includes some insight on who Johnson is, his charity work and a memorable first meeting with manager Buck Showalter.

One thing I did want to point out and make sure it comes across, is how much of a team guy and competitor he is. Even in the Minor Leagues, Johnson’s biggest problem was taking things too seriously, a balance the 28-year-old seems to have finally found. He isn’t a guy you will hear in a lot of post-game interviews, but he’s one of the most respected members of the clubhouse who embodies a lot of Showalter’s no-nonsense approach.  Asked about his lack of celebrations on the mound –he has no exaggerated gestures or trademark moves– Johnson responded: “Did you ever see Barry Sanders celebrate a touchdown?”

As is usually the case with longer stories, there’s plenty of leftover quotes which I included below that didn’t make it in the story. Enjoy.

JIM JOHNSON

[on the maturation process from being drafted to now]

“I don’t know what people’s perceptions of me were or are. And honestly it doesn’t really make much of a difference to me. Responsibility factor wasn’t an issue with me I don’t think, I think I was a responsible person in high school. I always focused on baseball first. Some people might have thought I took it a little too seriously in the Minor Leagues, I don’t know. Maybe I was little more amped up, if things didn’t go my way I didn’t know how to handle them as well as now I do. That’s probably been the maturation factor.

It would bug me too much [if I failed], to the point of maybe it would affect me longer than it should have.”

Johnson cited the game in Fenway Park where he served up the game-tying homer –his first blown save of the year– but came back the following inning to pick up the extra-innings win.

“Maybe in years past, it bugged me too much. I mean it should bug you a little bit, obviously.”

[on his Major League debut in 2006, a three-inning start in which he allowed eight earned runs after making the jump from Double-A]

“They didn’t have a whole lot of options I think is why they brought me up. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to play in the big leagues. I got my brains beat in.”

[on having Showalter as manager]

“Obviously since he’s been here it’s been a culture shift, you know? The way guys, from top to bottom, everything has kind of been, I’m not saying it’s been a drastic change. But there’s been tweaks, from top to bottom, of how things go.

The big question is why. That’s a question  that gets asked  a lot with him, is why. Why are we doing this? And if it’s not a sufficient answer, he’s changing it.”

[on appreciating Showalter's approach, which is similar to Johnson's]

“I think we have the same kind of view on certain things. When we see something that doesn’t really make sense, the logical thing is –we’re logical people I think.  He’s probably more analytical and he’s obviously got a lot more knowledge than I do. But I pay attention, I pay attention to a lot of things he does. Some people don’t see certain things I see. He tests guys a lot. He will ask guys if they see certain things and he will know if they are just giving him the vanilla answer. So, I think he respects my opinion and I obviously respect what he does.”

[on the media spotlight]

“Some guys like it, some guys don’t. It’s just your personality. I like doing my job.”

“I don’t mind it. I don’t like having to give interviews constantly. But that’s part of the job description, so I really can’t complain. But I don’t look forward to my interviews, I don’t script my answers. Some guys use it as a platform for other things, and that’s just not me.  A wise man once told me, ‘Be vanilla in your interviews’. I liked it, so that’s what I do.”

[on the bullpen all looking to him]

“I don’t have a problem with the guys having confidence in me. I like that part of my job.  You know, knowing that when it gets to my point, that means the guys that pitched before me did their job, the guys at the plate did their job, the coaches did their job. All those parts. The trainers, getting guys ready. All of that comes down to that one inning. And if you get it done, everyone goes home with a smile, everybody goes home happy. So that’s fine. That’s the end. And I want to finish that out.  And I’m having fun doing that. I like being where I’m at.”

[on being vocal when needed]

“If I have to, I’d rather talk to a guy individually about certain things. Because I don’t want them to feel like I’m criticizing them. Because if you do that, in front of a group of people it can go the wrong way. They think you are just criticizing them just to put them down instead of them understanding you are trying to help them for a reason.

There are guys who are still learning, I’m still learning. There’s a couple guys  there in the clubhouse, if an issue pops up, there’s a couple guys we talk to. And obviously, those are guys that have been here longer or been around longer or been through certain situations. So, it’s not just one person. It’s kind of a core group of guys where if something comes up, we will take care of it. But we haven’t had a bunch of problems, guys know what’s expected of them. But every now and then you have to make sure they stay in line.”

[on working toward a degree]

“I do want to do something, obviously. I can’t sit at home. Once this game is over, I cant play or do it anymore, I got to figure something else to do. I don’t know what that is, but you need to have some sort of an education.

Just trying to get my associates, just general liberal arts stuff. So that way when I do know exactly what I want to major or minor in then I can get all the general classes out of the way.”

[on his success in the 9th inning now versus his struggles there in the second half of 2009]

“Honestly I really don’t know what the big difference is. Obviously you learn a little bit from experience and you learn more from failures then stretches of success. I think it’s a combination of a few different things”

[on not being a typical closer]

“I pitch in the zone, throw strikes. Force weak contact. You have four guys in the infield plus yourself, play the percentages. When I try to strike guys out, I get myself into trouble. So knowing what I do best, is what I do best. Just trying to force contact, force guys into the ground.”

BUCK SHOWALTER

“I appreciate him. I remember when I first got here there were questions about if he could do it.

One of the things you ask yourself about a job like that is, can he handle the failure? And Jimmy can. he’s got more than one way to get you out, too. We are lucky to have him. He’s a good teammates, a good father, a good husband. He’s tough. He will call [BS] when it needs to be called. We are lucky to have him.  But there’s a process you have to go through to get to that point.”

[on if this year is a big coming out party for Johnson]
“Within baseball circles they already knew. For some reason a lot of people thought we didn’t know what we had. But, I don’t know. Jim Johnson. It’s a very common name. nothing overly striking about him. And he likes it that way. Jimmy just wants to be a teammates and when it’s his turn to pitch.”

[on naming Johnson closer this spring]

“I knew he was going to do it this year last year. I think Kevin [Gregg] did, too. But I had to make sure, if had jump-started it too quickly if wouldn’t have gone as well as it did this year. Just because someone’s delayed doesn’t mean it’s denied.

 He’s a driven guy. He’s a good man.”

Orioles vs. Pirates lineups and pregame notes

*Steve Tolleson is here and will be taking the roster spot of Endy Chavez, who will go on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Tolleson is starting and playing left field, and he was able to be recalled so quickly because it’s an injury situation so the 10-day stay in the Minor Leagues is not required.

Chavez was clearly disappointed and said he feels like he’s getting better, but understood the team had ot make a move. He seems pretty confident he will  be ready to go when his DL period is up after 15 days.

“I’ll be frank with you if we weren’t playing six National League games coming up we might have waited,” manager Buck Showalter said of the roster move.” But it’s tough to have a three man bench with one of them being a catcher and one of them potentially being Nick [Johnson]. We got to have some moveability there, especially as good a team as Atlanta is and the Mets.”

*Robert Andino is also getting his first start of the season at third base.

*Reliever Matt Lindstrom threw today off flat ground (60-100 feet) and he is scheduled to throw batting practice on Saturday. Assuming all goes well, Lindstrom will make a few Gulf Coast League appearances and then a few rehab games with Double-A Bowie. Showalter said he is expected back before the All-Star break.

*Nick Markakis will travel with the Orioles to Atlanta and New York –he will be the player mic’ed up for Saturday’s FOX game — and right now he’s been doing some work with his left hand while trying to minimize the scarring in his right hand to speed up the healing process. Asked if Markakis could pick up a bat and start doing some hitting drills during the roadtrip, Showalter said: “That will be up to Richie [Bancells] and [the rest of athletic training staff] if they think he’s ready to do it.  If it was up to Nick he would have done it yesterday. In fact, I can’t sit here and tell you he hasn’t done it. I know he’s been doing it with his top hand.”

Showalter did say that Markakis will have to go out and get some at-bats with an affiliate before being activated off the DL. Markakis has said before he’s targeting to return during the next homestand, which runs through July 1, and that’s still a possibility.

*Dontrelle Willis and Joel Pineiro threw simulated games today, with Willis going five innings and Pineiro going four. Pineiro is scheduled to pitch for the Gulf Coast League on June 19th.

*EyeBlack has teamed-up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to assist the organization with awareness and fundraising efforts by producing “Keep Dad in the Game” EyeBlack for Father’s Day. PCF is the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating research for prostate cancer.

“Keep Dad in the Game” is PCF’s official tagline used for their annual Home Run Challenge Father’s Day fundraising initiative. With support from Major League Baseball, PCF’s Home Run Challenge has become one of the organization’s biggest annual campaigns producing close to $40 million in funding to date. Additional information for the campaign can be found at HomeRunChallenge.org.

For the partnership, EyeBlack is producing patented PCF branded sets which will be used by PCF Founder and Chairman Michael Milken, as well as some of baseball’s greatest players and managers during their stadium tour which begins on June 7 at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. Joining Michael Milken on the 2012 tour will be Tommy Lasorda, Joe Torre, Tim Salmon, Eric Karros, Goose Gossage and more. EyeBlack will also be selling “Keep Dad in the Game” EyeBlack product on www.EyeBlack.com, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting PCF.

*The Orioles release outfielder Kyle Hoppy, who had been with Class-A Delmarva today.

*Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith will throw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch.

*The Orioles have officially signed eight draftees, agreeing to terms with Adrian Marin (3),  Torsten Boss (8), Brady Wager (9), Joel Hutter (10) Sean McAdams (14) Tommy Richards (24), Anthony Caronia (27) & Charles Porter (35).

Boss, is a third baseman out of my alma mater, Michigan State University. Marin is a high school shortstop out of Miami, while Wager is a right-handed pitcher from Grand Canyon University and Hutter is a shortstop out of Dallas Baptist University. McAdams is a high school arm –a right-handed pitcher out of Cardinal Mooney– who is a Sarasota resident and Richards is Washington State University’s second baseman. Caronia is a shortstop out of the University of Tampa.

Porter is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound left-handed pitcher from Miami, who  was listed without a high school when he was drafted. He actually gave up baseball in favor of mixed martial arts for a while. The club is expected to announce more signings over the next few days, as they’ve reached a lot more agreements but the contracts have be approved by the League first.

ORIOLES LINEUP

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

Tommy Hunter RHP
PIRATES LINEUP
Alex Presley LF
Neil Walker 2b
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones DH
Casey McGehee 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Jose Tabata RF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS

Erik Bedard LHP

Draft update

The Orioles announced last night they have agreed to terms with the following six 2012 draft picks: Adrian Marin (3), Brady Wager (9), Sean McAdams (14) Tommy Richards (24), Anthony Caronia (27) & Charles Porter (35).

Marin is a high school shortstop out of Miami, while Wager is a right-handed pitcher from Grand Canyon University. McAdams is a high school arm –a right-handed pitcher out of Cardinal Mooney– who is a Sarasota resident and Richards is Washington State University’s second baseman. Caronia is a shortstop out of the University of Tampa.

Porter is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound left-handed pitcher from Miami, who  was listed without a high school when he was drafted. He actually gave up baseball in favor of mixed martial arts for a while.

The club has also agreed to terms with eighth-rounder Torsten Boss, a third baseman from Michigan State University, although it hasn’t been officially announced yet.

Amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich said earlier this week that the organization hoped to start negotiations with top pick,right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman. Gausman was the fourth overall pick out of Louisiana State University.

Under the new deadline, the Orioles have until July 13 at 5 p.m. ET  to sign their players.

Orioles vs. Pirates lineups and pregame notes

*In case you missed it, lefty Brian Matusz (nose contusion) has been scratched and Jake Arrieta will get the start. Matusz is slated to pitch on Friday, which bumps back Jason Hammel and avoids Hammel pitching twice in InterLeague parks on that knee. Tommy Hunter will throw Thursday.

*Endy Chavez is still on the active roster today and he said right now the team will wait ot see how his right hamstring injury progresses over the next day or two before deciding on a move. Chavez strained the hamstring when he hit the first base bag in the sixth inning of last night’s game and he limped over to second base.

*The July 14  Orioles-Tigers game has been changed from 7:05 p.m. to 4:05 p.m. and will now be broadcast on FOX>  July 14 also marks the unveiling of the Jim Palmer sculpture as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series. The Palmer sculpture unveiling will take place at 2:15 p.m. that day, with all ballpark gates opening at 2:00 p.m.

Fans holding tickets for July 14 who are unable to attend due to the time change may exchange their tickets at the Orioles Box Office or send their tickets to Baltimore Orioles, ATTN: July 14 Exchange, 333 W. Camden St., Baltimore, MD 21201. Please allow 2-4 weeks for processing of mail exchanges. Ticket exchanges can be made for any remaining non-prime game this season and must be completed prior to July 14.

Tickets for the July 14 game or any other game in the Orioles Legends Celebration Series, as well as a special five-game package, are available for purchase at http://www.orioles.com/legends. The list of remaining dates is below.

ORIOLES LINEUP

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

Jake Arrieta RHP

PIRATES LINEUP
Alex Presley LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones DH
Casey McGehee 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Jose Tabata RF
Clint Barmes SS
Michael McKenry C

Kevin Correia RHP

Roberts returns

As you are probably well aware of by now, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is scheduled to be activated from the 60-day disabled list and is penciled in as the team’s leadoff hitter and second baseman. The 34-year-0ld Roberts, who hasn’t played in a Major League game in 13 months, held court with the media this afternoon.

I’ll have a full story up shortly on Orioles.com, but here is some of what Roberts had to say…

[on if he ever felt like its not happening?]
“I’d say there were months at a time where I thought this would never occur, for sure. My doctor, even as recently as probably January when I saw him. He said he never had full doubts, but there were times throughout the process that the future looked so bleak. And so, I think it was a very real possibility for a decent portion of time.”

[on if he had, 'am I gonna feel like this forever ?' thoughts]
“I haven’t started a family yet, I haven’t had kids yet. I have a wife that I want to love and support the rest of my life and all those things take physical abilities to be able to do.  There were many times during that process, there were hours upon hours upon hours where I wasn’t capable of providing some of those sorts of things.
That was a greater concern for a bigger portion of it than baseball was, I’d say that. Because baseball is important and my contract is important, things like that but I would hope people would understand that was number one.”

[feel like more than a year since he's played for the Orioles?]
“Sometimes it feels like yesterday. I can remember taking my lead at first base in Boston like it was yesterday. I can remember the feeling, I can remember the fear, I can remember everything. But there’s times when it feels like five years. I can go back to the dark times in that too and the struggles in my life.”

[on if he feels like his skills have returned]
“At first I was slow, the game was fast. I was so used to taking ground balls with nobody around n runners down the line you get used to doing things a certain way. So the game sped up a little bit. The first week was definitely a progression and something I had to get reacclimated to. After that I felt like it came back pretty well, felt like the defense was good, felt like I swung the bat pretty well. I was actually surprised how fast it did come back.”

[his thoughts on returning]
“Just excited to be here. Did the walk into the locker room, and not just see the guys [but] feel like you’re one of them again. For a long time, I didn’t feel that way and today, I do, finally.”

[on greetings from guys]
“Just ‘glad to see you,’ ‘glad to have you back,’ ‘excited to have you back,’ Those are all things that are good to hear as opposed, to ‘man, I wish you’d go back away.’ They’ve been playing so well that the last thing I want to do is come back here and lose eight in a row, but hopefully I can come back and add something to the team, almost blend back in and nobody notices I’m here except when you do something good maybe. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to run back out there one more time. For a long time, I never thought that that would actually happen. God’s been good through it all, and I’m just grateful for that opportunity.”

[on if he has any apprehensions]
“I don’t have any apprehension about anything I have to do on the field. More than anything, I knew it’s going to be a little differernt out there, in a good way, certainly. I forgot what traveling around the minor leagues was like, I guess. I know there’ll be a little more excitement, a little more energy. All those things are good things. I don’t really have any apprehension about doing anything. I know I can do whatever I need to do on the field now without any ill effects. That doesn’t really faze me too much at this point.”

[on his schedule]
“We haven’t talked about it much. The most I played down there was three days in a row. I didn’t have any problems with that. I had a night and a day and all that sort of stuff. We tried to mix in night games, day games, all that. I’m sure that obviously, I don’t know. I doubt [Showalter’s} going to run me out for 40 straight, even though I’d love to. If I had my choice, I’d say, I’m ready to go, but we haven’t sat downand talked about what the plan will be yet.”

[on the biggest hurdle in his rehab]
“I think getting on the ground is probably the biggest hurdle. Getting in the box, I never really had any apprehensions about. Obviously, one of the hurdles is just getting used to the speed of the game in the batter’s box, velocity and breaking balls, and things like that. I didn’t have apprehension about that. I knew it would come back. I had apprehension about getting on the ground and diving and sliding and doing the things that we have to do instinctively.I think my first couple of dives for balls weren’t all that instinctive, but by the end, the last couple, I really didn’t think about. It’s kind of a microcasm of the rest of my rehab. It’s becoming more and more acclimated to just doing things over and over and over again, and that’s what it took for a year to get to this point, and it wasn’t much different on the rehab assignment, I guess.”

[on his timing after 40 at-bats]
” I feel good. I know it’s going to be a little different up here. I don’t think going back down there you realize that the best of the best are here for a reason. Not to take anything away from anybody in Triple-A. I know there’s going to be some things I have to get used to again. You don’t face guys throwing 98 all the time down there and things like that, but in general, I thought I saw the ball pretty well. I had pretty good at-bats. I squared it up a decent majority of the time.”

[on having no stolen bases in rehab]
“The first week I wasn’t looking to steal bases. That probably left the last 10 days, not even that. Actually, the last week in Triple-A was probably the first time I had the inclination to start to steal bases. It seemed like when I got on, I didn’t have the opportunities, and when I had the  opportunities, I didn’t get on. I’m not overly concerned about it. I think I’ll be able to jump back in and do that. I had some full-speed, first to third slides, first to home, all that sorts of stuff. In general, that’s kind of what I was trying to do was get that stuff in.”

[on sliding head first]
“No I didn’t slide head first into bases. I didn’t have any of those. I had multiple dives for defensive plays. I think the head first dive will come when it’s right–at the right time–on the bases, But, I’m also not going to say, I’m not going to slide feet first more than I used to.”

Orioles vs Pirates (with Roberts & Matusz news)

*Brian Roberts will be activated from the 60-day disabled list and play in his first game since on May 16, 2011, as the veteran infielder is batting leadoff and playing second base for Tuesday’s series-opener versus the Pirates. Roberts, who just finished a 20-day rehab assignment, said he had done headfirst diving for balls in the field but has yet to slide headfirst into a base. Given that his concussion was originally suffered on a headfirst slide at Fenway Park, the 34-year-old Roberts acknowledged that he may “think twice” and consider going in feet first.

Roberts is currently the longest-tenured Oriole, having played in 1,233 games with a .281 career average, 84 home runs, 477 RBIs, 339 doubles and 274 stolen bases. His activation will put Robert Andino –who had been playing second base — in more of a utility role. Andino was not in Tuesday’s starting lineup but is expected to fill-in at second, third, shortstop and even the outfield.

*Brian Matusz took a ball to the nose, after fouling back a bunt in pitcher’s batting practice this afternoon in the indoor cages. Matusz is currently being examined by the team’s doctors and it’s unknown right now if he will be able to make his start tomorrow. The issue is how much the swelling creeps into the eye area and if the nose injury affects his breathing as well. Manager Buck Showalter said the team doesn’t know right now if anything is broken or if it’s a possible DL-situation or a case where his start would need to just be pushed back.

The Orioles are holding off on making a corresponding roster move for Roberts until they get word on Matusz, but the 40-man roster move will likely be to move Nolan Reimold (herniated disk) to the 60-day disabled list. Reimold is flying to Baltimore to get another MRI –to compare to one taken earlier — and make sure there is nothing alarming going on in there. Reimold is pain-free, but still dealing with numbness/tingling in certain areas on his left side, and his strength isn’t coming back nearly as fast as the team had hoped. He has not been cleared to do any baseball activities at this point.

*Nick Markakis was in the clubhouse today and he had the stitches removed from his right wrist on Sunday.

*Reliever Matt Lindstrom (right middle finger injury) is throwing off a flat mound in extended spring.

ORIOLES LINEUP

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

Wei-Yin Chen P

PIRATES LINEUP

Alex Presley LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Casey McGehee 1B
Matt Hague DH
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Jose Tabata RF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS

SP Brad Lincoln

Draft update

The Orioles had a group of new draftees  report to Florida today to get physicals, while another group –who will directly report to short-season Aberdeen instead of the Gulf Coast League — is in Baltimore doing the same. I expect news on signings to be official sometime on Tuesday, and amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich said negotiations with top pick Kevin Gausman –whose season ended Sunday for Louisiana State University — will begin this week with both sides confident a deal can get done fairly quickly.

Ability-wise, Gausman and second-round pitcher Branden Kline could both start with a full-season affiliate, although there are no definite plans for either until the organization signs them and they are evaluated by director of pitching development Rick Peterson.  Kline, who is viewed as a starter, will need to be stretched out and the organization could prefer for him to do that in the GCL rather than with a full-season team.

Rajsich echoed Duquettte’s confident that the organization will sign its top 10 picks, and –as is typically the case – there are a number of players selected later on Day 2 and 3 that are a long-shot to sign. Third-round pick Adrian Marin, a high school shortstop out of the Miami area, has already taken to his Twitter page to announce he’s agreed to contract terms and is among those scheduled to get a physical in Florida today.

Got a question?

The Orioles took two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies and have won back-to-back series, a nice rebound from a tough stretch that included four consecutive series losses prior to that.

But as well as the team is playing –or maybe because of it — there’s lots of questions regarding the pitching staff, guys on the disabled list and where this team goes moving forward. I’m working up an inbox for Orioles.com for Monday’s off day, so if you have any questions send them my way. Email brittany.ghiroli@mlb.com and be sure to include your name and hometown.

Hopefully, it’ll will provide some clarity to some of  your more frequently-asked questions.

Orioles vs. Phillies, Game 3: Lineups and Pregame Notes

*Jake Arrieta will be available to pitch out of the bullpen on Sunday, O’s manager Buck Showalter said. Amid rampant speculation that Arrieta would be sent down to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday to make room for Tommy Hunter, the O’s instead chose to option reliever Miguel Gonzalez and move Arrieta to the bullpen. Arrieta last pitched on Friday, giving up career highs of nine runs and 11 hits in just four innings against the Phillies. 

*With Brian Roberts set to play the final game of his rehab stint during the Orioles off-day on Monday, Showalter was asked for an update on his status and availability for Tuesday. Showalter was very noncommittal, saying he hadn’t thought much about the lineup past Sunday. Showalter was also hesitant to address what the move would mean for Robert Andino, who has been playing second in Roberts’ absence. The only nugget Showalter offered was that he was comfortable playing Andino just about anywhere, including the outfield. 

*Veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer made his debut for the Norfolk Tides on Saturday, tossing five shutout innings. He allowed only one hit and didn’t walk a batter while striking out five. Manager Buck Showalter didn’t offer anything on what this meant for Moyer’s chances of making the Major League club. If executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is still treating Moyer’s time with the Triple-A time as an audition, this can only be considered a positive first step. 

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

Jason Hammel RHP

PHILLIES LINEUP
Jimmy Rollins SS
Juan Pierre LF
Hunter Pence RF
Jim Thome DH
Shane Victorino CF
Carlos Ruiz C
Ty Wiggington 3B
Hector Luna 1B
Michael Martinez 2B

Cliff Lee LHP

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