August 2012

Duquette on the Saunders trade

Seeking to a bolster an inconsistent starting rotation to continue their playoff push, the Orioles acquired left-hander Joe Saunders and cash considerations from the Diamondbacks on Sunday, in exchange for right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named this winter.  I have a full story up on Orioles.com, but here are a few quotes from EVP Dan Duquette…

[on the trade] “I just think the left-handed addition to our starting rotation and the capability to get more innings at a high level was better for the team at this stage of the season. And, who knows? Joe Saunders is a local kid. Maybe he’s with us beyond this year. That’s something we can certainly take a look at. But this is something that strengthens us now. We have a number of right-handers doing a good job in our bullpen ad we have some other pitchers who are available who can do that job. One of them is here today, Jake Arrieta.”

“He’s pitched in the American League, he’s pitched in the playoffs,” Duquette said of Saunders who has a career 75-62 record and 4.17 ERA in 182 starts. “He’s pitched in a tough ballpark in Arizona. And we just like his experience. I think complements our starting  rotation which has three rookies. And I also like the fact that he’s left-handed, I think that gives us a little bit  better balance as we face some of those left-handed hitting-lineups down the stretch.”

[on Saunders as a fly ball pitcher?]
“I wouldn’t consider him a fly ball pitcher because he has got a good sinker and he’s got a good changeup.  And fly ball pitchers don’t generally do very well in that ballpark in Arizona. So Joe’s a very capable professional pitcher. He can command his fastball, he’s got a good overhand breaking ball and he has a very good changeup. Good competitor, good control. So I think all those attributes will serve him well in our league.”

[on if this helps the push to the playoffs?]
“I like our ballclub’s chances. There’s an old saying that if you’re going in the right direction, keep walking. So the addition of Joe Saunders gives us a good chance to keep walking in the right direction.  I think it gives us better balance against the left-handed lineups we are going to be facing.”

[on if the club is doing making moves]
“We are always looking to improve the ballclub. I am really heartened with the young pitchers that we’ve brought up and have pitched really well. Steve Johnson has done a nice job. Chris Tillman has done a good job. Miguel Gonzalez, they’ve all a very good job. I think Saunders is experienced and the fact that he is left-handed is a really good complement to what those players have done.”

Arrieta on his ‘necessary’ seven weeks in Triple-A

Orioles starter Jake Arrieta has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and will be available in the team’s bullpen on Sunday, taking the roster spot vacated by right-hander Matt Lindstrom who was traded for Joe Saunders on Sunday morning. I spoke with Arrieta yesterday, while he was still with Triple-A Norfolk, and the 26-year-old was confident he was headed in the right direction.

“I don’t think there’s anybody more frustrated about the way things have gone then I am,” said Arrieta, who worked hard to be a full-go this spring coming off season-ending right elbow surgery and was demoted after pitching to a 6.18 ERA in 18 starts. “Obviously, it’s me out there. It’s my stats, it my outings that have affected the team. So, I’m pretty much trying to wipe the slate clean.

“Do I want to be here? Not really. But it’s necessary for where I was at when I was with the big league team. I wasn’t doing our team or myself any good being up there, being in the kind of mindset that I was. It doesn’t mean I was going out there every fifth day with any intention other than trying to win our team a game. But I had way too many things going on in my head.”

Since being sent to Triple-A, following July 5’s outing in Anaheim in which he surrendered six earned runs over 3 2/3 innings, Arrieta has worked closely with director of pitching development Rick Peterson and Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin. Together, they have ironed out the kinks in his delivery with an added emphasis on keeping the ball down and his shoulders level to helping reestablish Arrieta’s fastball command. That, coupled with changing what Arrieta calls a “clouded thought process” has the right-hander confident he’s back on track, a sentiment he reiterated several times Saturday.

“My thought process and my mentality has been so much different the past couple starts than it has been the whole year,” said Arrieta, who also credits current sports psychologist Don Carman, a former big leaguer he has been working with, for helping him apply some of those concepts correctly.

“I would take the mound every fifth day and be so concerned with throwing strike one and winning 1-1 counts that if I walked a few guys, I would press too hard to limit the damage and get the guys out behind them. Rather than just keeping it simple, and executing one pitch after another, and after another. That’s all I can control. And that’s all my focus needs to be.”

After an impressive spring, Arrieta won the first Opening Day start of his career with seven scoreless innings against the Twins. Projected to a frontline starter for an uncertain Baltimore rotation, Arrieta has shown flashes of brilliance this season –most notably stifling the Yankees for eight innings in New York on May 2, but they have been few and far in between.

Following a seven-game stretch in which he went 0-6 with a 9.43 ERA, Arrieta was briefly demoted to the bullpen, but he never pitched in relief before an injury to Brian Matusz put him back in the rotation. He looked as if he had turned the corner over the next three games, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, before a pair of outings in which Arrieta failed to complete four innings punched his ticket to Norfolk.

“You get so tired of hearing on a daily basis that you’re stuff is too good to be struggling like this,” Arrieta said.  “I was so sick of hearing it. I pretty much had to look myself in the mirror and say, ‘Ok, what do I need to do to fix this? How can I get over this hump?’ I’ve done a lot of soul searching down here and used a lot of resources to get back to where I know I belong.”

“The mistake would be to go down there and think, ‘I just have to have a couple good starts and I’ll be back.’,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter who has preached accountability, particularly with the young pitchers, since his arrival.  “And Jake didn’t look at it like that. I know he’s a little frustrated by it, but I like what I’ve seen the last couple times out.

There’s some things that he needed to get back to and I think he’s in the process of doing that. Jake’s going to be a good pitcher up here at some point. [I’m] glad we have that type of depth.”

It’s unknown how Arrieta will be used on Sunday and how long his stay will be with the Orioles, who will have to clear a roster spot for Saunders’ arrival, but Arrieta is expected to be with the team as part of September’s callups and he said he will do whatever necessary to help the organization down the stretch.

“It’s been tough and everybody knows that, but I can’t put my head down and pout about it,” said said Arrieta who is 19-23 with a 5.27 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Orioles. “There’s only one way to go from here and that’s up, and I’m starting to move in that direction.”

Lindstrom on the trade

Here’s reliever Matt Lindstrom on the trade, which is sending him to Arizona in exchange for starter Joe Saunders. Lindstrom found out around noon ET today.

[his reaction] “Surprised but kind of excited. It’s a little bittersweet just because the team here is doing so well. I really enjoy being around my teammates the guys in the clubhouse. I enjoy competing with them, but I’m looking forward to competing in the next chapter of my career.

“You got to understand obviously this is a business and teams have needs. And some teams are stronger in areas than others. So, you kind of take it as it comes. Sometimes it feels like you are not wanted, but that’s sometimes not the case. Here in Baltimore they have a plethora of pitching, they have depth. Just looking forward to my new role with my new team.”

[on his time in Baltimore] “I enjoyed it, the fans, the city of Baltimore treated me good. Especially my teammates, that’s what’s going to be tough to deal with.”

[on heading to Arizona] “I’m excited. I pitched in the NL West last year, I know that the Dodgers just got better and some other teams, they have up and coming young stars and stuff like that. I’m looking forward to playing with those guys, I was with JJ Putz on team USA. I know Aaron Hill a little bit. Chris Johnson, with Houston in 2010. So, seems like I’ve been around the block a little bit now with being traded. But I’m looking forward to playing with those guys.”

[on part of him being sad he won't finish the season with the Orioles] “Absolutely. I have a ton of faith in these guys. This is a great team we are on here in Baltimore, I think they are going to go a long ways. I don’t think anybody should be surprised if they end up in first here at the end. I just wish them well. I know that they are going to enjoy continued success.”

Saunders traded to Orioles in exchange for Lindstrom (Arrieta recalled)

The Orioles acquired left-hander Joe Saunders and cash considerations from the D-backs on Sunday, sending Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named later to Arizona as they bolstered their starting rotation for the stretch run of the season.

Baltimore also recalled right-hander Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Norfolk to take Lindstrom’s place on the active roster for Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays. Arrieta is expected to be available out of the bullpen.

Saunders, who was scheduled to start for the D-backs on Sunday against the Padres, has gone 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA this season. He pitched to a 3.69 ERA a year ago, throwing 212 innings for the D-backs. The lefty has a career 75-62 record and 4.17 ERA in 182 starts. The Orioles had shown interest in Saunders for a while, although several teams reportedly were interested in adding the 31-year-old left-hander to their rotation.

Lindstrom, acquired alongside Jason Hammel in the offseason trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, went 1-0 with a 2.72 ERA in 34 games for the Orioles this season

Orioles vs. Blue Jays lineups and pregame notes

*I”m getting a lot of Joe Saunders questions given the Arizona Republic’s report last night that the Diamondbacks have found a trade partner for the right-hander. The Orioles have had various levels of interest in Sauders and I’m told they are still one of several teams in the mix for him. So, it’s still a possibility as on Sunday afternoon. That’s all I got for right now.

Here’s the lineups as the O’s go for the sweep…

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Omar Quintanilla 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Chris Tillman RHP

BLUE JAYS LINEUP

Rajai Davis LF
Mike McCoy CF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Adam Lind DH
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Moises Sierra RF
Hechavarria 3B

Henderson Alvarez LHP

Orioles vs Blue Jays lineups & pregame notes

*Orioles designated hitter Jim Thome (herniated disk in neck) could potentially get a second epidural injection in his neck. Thome, who has tried to swing, is still dealing with some weakness in his lat and the O’s are hoping that will clear the last bit of soreness out of there, if he does get it done.

*Troy Patton could pick up a ball for the first time since hitting the disabled list on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to manager Buck Showalter. Patton has been progressing slower than initially expected from a right ankle sprain.

*Wilson Betemit is expected to head north to avoid the storm coming into Florida and will either be with the Orioles or Double-A Bowie to get some swings outside. Betemit isn’t expected to go out on a rehab assignment until Tuesday or Wednesday.

*Miguel Gonzalez, who is getting a few extra days rest between starts, will be available as the long man tonight if needed. Gonzalez is slated to throw a bullpen today and will hold off on that in case he’s called on to pitch. If he’s not used in the game he will just throw a BP after.

*The Orioles need starters for Wednesday and Thursday with Zach Britton eligible to make either one of those. Another option? Jake Arrieta, who Showalter said had been throwing better down in Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles would need to add Arrieta to the active roster by Aug. 31 to have him eligible for the playoffs, but there’s a loophole that can allow them to add player later if they are replacing him with a player on the disabled list.

In theory, all of the O’s on the DL are eligible for postseason play. So Arrieta, Dylan Bundy, whoever could come up after Sept. 1 and be eligible for the playoffs if they take the spot of a DL’ed guy, say Brian Roberts or Tsuyoshi Wada.  It’s an interesting rule and the Orioles currently have nine players on the disabled list, and some of those are much closer to a return than others.

Speaking of Bundy as a possible September callup, I blogged about that earlier today and you can read it here.

BLUE JAYS LINEUP
Rajai Davis LF
Mike McCoy CF
Jose Bautista CF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yunel Escobar SS
Moises Sierra DH
Omar Vizquel 3B
Jeff Mathis C

Brandon Morrow RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Steve Johnson RHP

September callups (Bundy and Gausman?)

Orioles manager Buck Showalter had what he deemed an “impromptu” meeting with some of the organization’s coaches on Friday as the group  discussed the looming September callup decisions.  Showalter is expected to confer with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette in the next few days, but wanted to get a feel for what others were saying and said the group was pretty much on the same page.

“There’s only a couple guys in there potentially that there was some discussion about,” Showalter said. “The rest of them was, in our coaches’ mind, pretty cut and dry. But Dan’s always got some ideas we haven’t thought about and there’s some other variable to keep in mind when you are calling guys up.

I know it won’t matter if you are on the [40-man] roster or not, like it hasn’t all year. If they can help us, they are coming.  We will figure it out.”

Two of the most intriguing names are pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, with Bundy already on the 40-man. While it’s been heavily speculated Bundy will make his debut in Baltimore this season, there are some in the organization who feel Gausman –the club’s first round-pick in this year’s Draft — should also be strongly considered. Gausman is a college arm –out of Louisiana State University– and more polished as a pitcher. And, if Duquette has shown one thing, it’s that he’s not afraid to pull the trigger (Manny Machado anyone?) if he thinks it will help the current club even a little bit.

Despite his less-than-stellar stat line since being promoted to High-A Frederick, Gausman is still an option being kicked around and considered perhaps a little ahead of Bundy in his development among some in the organization.

Showalter gets asked about Bundy –in a roundabout way — pretty often, and he smiled yesterday when the topic came up with reporters on Friday saying, “I think I know where you are going and rightfully so.”

Bundy, 19, is 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 22 starts with three different affiliates. He has allowed 63 hits, 24 walks and struck out 113 in 98 1/3 innings. The Orioles plan to cap him in the 125-inning range in his first pro season, meaning he would come up as a bullpen guy only. It doesn’t make a lot sense for Bundy, who will get another start at Double-A on Sunday, to be added to the Orioles’ rotation since he wouldn’t be able to be a factor if the O’s do play into October.

The early reports on Bundy at Double-A are that he has held his own and his fastball is Major League-ready, thought he still struggles with command of his offspeed pitches. It’s set up for him to be a weapon for the O’s down the stretch coming out of the bullpen, a role they could monitor his innings in and extend his season, similar to what Tampa Bay did with David Price in 2008.

My question is can a guy with a warmup regimen like Bundy’s –complete with 300-foot long toss from across the field — get ready in time if he’s a reliever?

“We are considering all options,” Showalter said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what we are going to be considering.”

As a reminder, from September 1 through the end of the regular season, any player on the 40-man is eligible to play in a game as a callup, with no restrictions on roster size. But to be eligible for a team’s playoff roster a player must be on the 25 man active roster or the disabled list as of midnight August 31, meaning Bundy and Gausman –if in the O’s plans — would have to be up by then. Players on bereavement or the suspended list are also eligible, but that doesn’t apply to the Orioles’ current team.

Gauman is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts –thee innings apiece –for Frederick, although the reports on his stuff have been better than the lines indicate. Triple-A Norfolk’s Jake Arrieta –the club’s Opening Day starter — figures to be another September callup, with outfielders Xavier Avery and LJ Hoes pretty strong candidates despite Hoes not being on the 40-man. The Orioles are expected to add a third catcher, perhaps Luis Exposito, making for some more roster shuffling for an O’s club averaging more roster moves than games already this season.

Asked the difference with this year’s September callup philosophy then years past, Showalter said, “I think it changes depending on what situation you are in. there are some guys you would like to expose to it. But I got to tell you most of them are here or have already been here. We’ve done a pretty good job at exposing people this year to the environment and everything. Or a bad job of it. I just think this year they are going to serve a purpose of helping us win. Which is kind of one in the same.”

The starting pitching has been inconsistent this season, and Showalter has been adamant about protecting the bullpen which has been the team’s strength. Don’t underestimate the Orioles’ willingness to stock it with some young, talented arms for the stretch run. The club is also still trying to add a left-handed reliever, with Troy Patton’s ankle sprain recovery moving slowly. Brian Matusz struck out the only batter he faced in his relief debut Friday night, and Zach Phillips is another internal option down below. The O’s are also actively scouring the waiver wire for left-handed relief help.

More on Matusz as a reliever

Brian Matusz held court with reporters regarding his move to the bullpen and here’s some of the leftover quotes from that interview. The full story on the roster moves is up on Orioles.com.

[on being a reliever] “It’s never easy, switching positions. Well, it’s the same position, but I look at it that it’s still pitching. You still have to get the hitters out and you’ve still got to throw strikes and attack the zone. I had some struggles at first, but was able to learn and make some adjustments and have some good outings and be able to get this opportunity to be here now.”

[on the toughest adjustment] “Just being able to be ready every day, as opposed to throwing every five days. You’ve got to be able to throw every day and just be prepared to pitch and be able to compete on a day-to-day basis. It’s something that’s new to me, but it’s exciting. It’s fun to know I have an opportunity to be in the game every day to help the team win and it’s something I’m looking forward to doing.”

You’ve still got to get the guys out. Doesn’t matter what point in the game, whether it’s the first inning or the ninth inning. You’ve still got to make pitches to get the guys out and attack the zone. It’s still kind of the same game.”

[on asking for advice from the other Oriole relievers] “Yeah, absolutely. I’m looking forward to getting out in the bullpen and learning from the guys who have been around a while and have been doing it for years. This game is about continuing to learn. Keep learning and picking up new things every day. I’m excited to do that.”

[on being in Triple-A for about seven weeks] “I didn’t exactly put a timetable for myself. It was just a matter of going down there and getting better and improving every day. Obviously, with the role change things were different, but accept that and just keep getting better and focus on what I need to do to help the big league club. That’s what it’s all about.”

“I made some improvements working down there with [pitching coach] Mike Griffin, just being able to tighten things up a little bit and just attack the zone and get a better understanding of the game on what pitches work for me and how I’m able to get guys out. Now it’s a different role being a reliever, so it’ll take a different approach in terms of being ready every day, but like I said, it’s still getting guys out. That’s the name of the game.”

Orioles vs. Blue Jays lineups and pregame notes

*Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz is back in the Majors and has been recalled, this time as a reliever. The Orioles on Friday also activated infielder Ryan Flaherty from the 15-day disabled list (tonsil infection) and is slated to start at second base. To make two spots on the 25-man roster, the O’s designated lefty reliever J.C. Romero for assignment and optioned right-handed starter Tommy Hunter.

After going 5-10 with a 5.42 ERA in 16 Major League starts this season, Matusz went 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA in 10 games and six starts with Norfolk.

Romero, whom the O’s traded for earlier this month, gave up four runs in as many innings and five appearances with Baltimore and is contemplating retirement. Hunter gave up eight runs in three innings in his most recent start, Wednesday, in a 12-3 loss to the Rangers. He’s 0-4 in his last seven starts.

*As expected, Steve Johnson will start Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays with Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez both being pushed back an extra two days.

*Jason Hammel threw a 40-pitch, two-inning simulated game at Camden Yards today and he said physically he felt good. Hammel’s mechanics were a bit rusty, which is to be expected, and he will likely pitch another simulated game to build back up his pitch count before being sent out on a rehab start.

*Wilson Betemit is expected to start swinging a bat on Monday and could go out on a rehab assignment on Tuesday or Wednesday. Jim Thome and Troy Patton aren’t close to a return, according to manager Buck Showalter.

*Asked about September callups, Showalter danced around the subject of top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy but made it pretty clear that the organization will do whatever necessary to give them a boost for the playoff push. Bundy, 19, is in Double-A currently with his third Minor League affiliate.  My guess remains that he’s up with the Orioles this year so long as the team remains in playoff contention.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Zach Britton LHP

BLUE JAYS LINEUP

 

Mussina and Dauer speak at the Hall of Fame Luncheon

The 27th Annual Orioles Hall of Fame Luncheon was today, honoring new inductees Mike Mussina and Rich Dauer, who is currently the Colorado Rockies third base coach. The Herb Armstrong recipient went to the late Walter Youse. I’ll have a full story up later on Orioles.com, but here’s some of what the two newest HoF’ers –who will be officially inducted in a pregame ceremony on Saturday — had to say…

MIKE MUSSINA

[on if he's thinking comeback like some of his former teammates] “Those guys, I think they are crazy first of all to be stopping and starting and trying to do that kind of stuff. If you are going to play play, if you are not then. You stop for a reason, either you lost the drive or your body is telling you it’s time to stop. Or whatever it is.   Andy [Pettitte] came back and looked good. Roger [Clemens] has come and gone a few times now, he’s trying it again. And we’ll see. [Jamie] Moyer is still out there, I don’t know if he’s every going to retire, some guys they just love it so much that that’s what they want to do. I loved the game and I loved playing, there’s so much other stuff that goes on, traveling and being away that sometimes that will wear you down. I had had enough of doing that. So I decided it was time to go home.”

[on being elected] “I’m obviously honored. To be thought of in a way that you couldn’t of pictured, to be put in the same room with Palme rand Cal and guys who have accomplished so many things for this organization, most of them playing even longer than I did, it’s really been nice. I’m not really sure that I’ve understood how big a deal it is, there’s only so many organizations in the Major Leagues and this team thought enough about my career here to include me in some of the best who have ever put the uniform on for these guys. So, I really appreciate that. It’s my trip back to Baltimore since I retired. Even though it’s only three hours away. But it’s good to be back and stand up here in the warehouse and look down on the field, and get to do some of the stuff I used to do 15 years ago, it’s been a lot of fun.”

[hard to believe 14 straight losing seasons for the Orioles?] “Yeah, it’s kind of hard to believe. I guess it’s fun just how fast the years start ticking by. Whether you do well or you struggle, all of a sudden it’s another year and another year and all of sudden here comes spring training and it’s the all star break and you are coming down the stretch. There’s been other teams that have struggled for a long period of time too. We were a really good team there for a couple of years.  And things just went the other way in a hurry. And it’s unfortunate. It’s a great fan base, it’s a great stadium. Now that they’re back in the hunt trying to make it to the postseason it’s good to see. I don’t think people expected it in the beginning but teams have underachieved in the division and, they’ve for the most part stayed healthy and that’s what leads to good years. It’s nice to see them battling again and hopefully a couple of weeks from now they will put themselves in a really good spot.”

[On if he would enter baseball's HoF as a Yankee or Oriole] “I don’t think I get to choose. If I got to choose? That’s a tough question, because my career obviously is pretty evenly split between both places. You eliminate one and it changes everything about what I was able to do. I accomplished a lot of things here, I accomplished a lot of things in New York. I can’t stand here and say it’s one over the other.

Baltimore people want me to stay Baltimore, New York people want me to say New York. When I was here, I loved being here. And there’s nothing else I can say about it. this was the only place I had known for the first 10 years of my career and it was a great place to play and it was tough to leave when I had to go.”

RICH DAUER

[on if this moment has sunk in] “First of all, yeah I did. I’ve been following the Orioles now since 1985 when I left and I’ve always been an Oriole. That’s where I grew up. I see all my friends getting into the hall of fame, well-deserved I might add. I’m just thinking maybe some day. I didn’t plan on it.  And then when they called and they said they were the Oriole Advocates, I was like, ‘Nah.’ But yeah, it was really thrilling in February and what’s really neat is that it’s probably better now that I was put in because no I can use it to motivate my players. When I told them I was going into the Orioles Hall of Fame, half of them came up to me and told me they were so surprised that I made it. The other half said, ‘Maybe we’ll listen to you once or twice.’…It gave me a little bit of something.”

[Follow the Orioles from Colorado?] “I follow them every day. I know exactly what they do. I watch SportsCenter every night and I wait for the scores for everybody.This has to be tremendously thrilling for the Orioles. There’s nothing like postseason play. They’re nothing more exicitng. Every team in baseball goes to spring training with the idea that they’re going to play in the postseason. Sixty percent of them don’t have a chance, because the Yankees are going to get there. Baltimore hasn’t been there in a long time and they’re playing probably the best kind of baseball you can play. One-run games, that’s how you win championships. Defense, pitching. One night it’s one thing, another night it’s another thing. They’re in a tough division and it’s going to be very difficult but the extra wild card really makes it exciting.”

[1983  season still the highlight?] “Absolutely. Obviously getting to the big leagues was a big thrill. My whole goal in like was to play one day in the big leagues. Now to come back and to be put in the Hall of Fame of the only team you played with all the guys you played with, it’s really special. Like I said, I grew up there. I came here very young and immature and very cocky and I left here maybe a little bit older and stuff like that. It was always a goal of mine to get back here.”

[What made this place, that time special?] “Winning always makes something special. I don’t care what you say about developing players and great guys and all that, which we all have, but when you win and every time you come to the ballpark you pretty much have like Earl would use percantages. We at lead had a 51 percent chance of winning every single game, and we did. We one quite a few games during that time. I think that had a lot to do with it. The manager, Earl Weaver, had a lot to do with it because he was so unique to play for. When we finally finally got Ripken and Murray and you play with a couple tough guys like that, it’s almost nightly that you see a highlight of something that you think just didn’t happen…I’m just very fortunate because I was waiting for this to get here and I’m looking forward to tomorrow night too.”

[Who is filling in in Colorado] “Tommy Runnels is coaching third. The have enough guys on the staff. It’s not that tough to fill in for me.”

[Any question you’d make this?] “No doubt. As a matter of fact. The Colorado Rockies organization was pretty adamate about it being such a special event. Dan O’Dowd, who is our general manager, started his career with the Baltimore Orioles back when I was playing. So I’ve been hired by Dan O’Dowd, fired by Dan O’Dowd, sent to Baltimore by Dan O’Dowd and I’m still working for him. Hoepfully that will continue.”

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