August 2012

Orioles vs Royals lineups and non-Machado pregame notes

*The Orioles optioned Steve Johnson back to Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday to make room for Manny Machado on the 25-man roster. They also moved Brian Roberts, who underwent season-ending hip surgery earlier this month, to the 60-day DL to create a spot on the 40-man roster. Johnson got the call from Norfolk to start with the O’s on Wednesday after scheduled starter Tommy Hunter moved out to the bullpen during Tuesday’s 14-inning marathon. Pitching in his home town in front of about 40 friends and family members, Johnson allowed only two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings to earn his first Major League win exactly 23 years to the day after his father did the same, also with the Orioles. Hunter will start on Sunday and the O’s have an off-day on Monday, meaning the team will not need a fifth starter until August 18. Zach Britton could be an possibility, as he was optioned on Wednesday in a move Showalter said was based more on convenience than performance.

*Ryan Flaherty, on the 15-day disabled list since Wednesday with a bacterial infection, was with the team for a brief time on Thursday to meet with team doctors. Manager Buck Showalter said Flaherty is still a couple days away from a return.

*Hitting coach Jim Presley has left the team and will travel to Pensacola due to the death of his father, who had been battling illness for some time. Terry Crowley will serve as the O’s hitting coach in Presley’s absence.

ROYALS LINEUP

Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Lorenzo Cain CF
Billy Butler DH
Salvador Perez C
Mike Moustakas 3B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Chris Getz 2B

Will Smith LHP

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Lew Ford LF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Chris Davis DH
Robert Andino 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

Machado on his reaction, his debut & Showalter’s faith

I’ll have a full story up shortly on Orioles.com, but here is what top prospect Many Machado had to say prior to his Major League debut as he held court with the media this afternoon. Also, I did a story on Machado when he was first drafted that delves into his background and upbringing in baseball and you can read that here.

[on how he got the news] “I found out last night, coming off the bus, going into the team hotel. Had the skip call me over and give me the great news.  [I was] very surprised. It wasn’t even crossing my mind, that I was getting called up and when he told me I was just in shock.”

[on his third base comfort level] “I’m very comfortable out there. Every day I try to be proactive, I try to take a couple ground balls at third base after I catch my grounders at short. I am pretty comfortable out there. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”

[on the biggest transition to third base] “Just the comfort level, getting used to playing third base every day, it’s a different position. Shortstop you are captain of the team. You are the leader out there. And third base you are kind of still, not as much movement going on.”

[on being around a lot of Majors Leaguers in spring and in the offseason helping] “Oh, yeah. It has helped me. They talk to me every once in a while, I try to keep in touch. And they give me advice on baseball and on the field and off the field problems. It’s great to have that on my side.”

[on how excited he is] “I’m super excited. I’m beyond excited.”

[on walking in the Orioles clubhouse today] “It was great. Everybody came up to me and congratulated me. It was just a great feeling. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now. And it’s, finally, it’s here. This is the highest level but I am still going to go out there and try to play my game. Just go out there and have fun, and not put too much pressure on myself. Just do me. “

[on growing up in the Minors the last few years] “Yeah, it’s a tough adjustment. The biggest one was living on my own, away from home.  And I’ve taken that pretty well. And talking to these older guys down in the Minor Leagues you really learn how to mature yourself and how to go about your business”.

[on not having to be the top guy helping his adjustment] “A little bit. I’m just trying to go out there and play. I’ve always been a top prospect and here I’m just a regular third baseman. A young, 20-year-old trying to make it in the League and play and stay here.  So, yeah I think it will be a little easier to go out there and go and have fun.”

[first call] “My mother. Yeah they will be here.”

[on if he had a goal when he was drafted regarding reaching the Majors] “I kind of envisioned it around this time, maybe September callup I was aiming for. But I didn’t really set any goals. My major goal was just to learn and do the experience in the Minor Leagues.”

[on the message to him that the Orioles are bringing him up in a playoff hunt] “It means a lot. It means Buck has faith in me and he has trust in me that I can go out there and try to help this team win.”

[on if he expected this given his recent offensive outburst] “I wouldn’t say that. The whole [year] I’ve done above-average then what I think people expected me to do. And the last week that I’ve had, I’ve had a good week and I got called up. So it’s pretty great.”

[on the phone call to his mother, Rosa Nunez] “Well, I was kind of in shock when [Bowie manager] Gary Kendall told me I was going up to the big leagues. I didn’t know what to say. I was tingling everywhere. Then once it settled in, I made a phone call to my mom and [said], ‘You know, you have to look for a flight to come up to Baltimore.’ She goes ‘Why?’ ‘Well, I’m going up to Baltimore. I’m going to play tomorrow, third base.’ She thought I was lying. She was like, ‘Are you serious or are you joking?’ ‘No I’m serious. I got called up.’ We just shared that moment together and it was a good feeling.”

[on the second phone call, to his uncle] “Yeah , I talked to him right after. He was just crying. It was just an exciting moment just to hear him cry. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life, this is what I’ve dreamed about my whole life. And now this moment has come, so now it’s just a great feeling.

[on how much he will rely on J.J. Hardy at shortstop] “A lot. He’s been around this league a long time and he knows hitters and he knows how to play the game so any I need I can go to him. He’s going to have to teach me how to play the game and how to position myself out there and how to play the game.”

[on what he was working on taking pregame ground balls at third base] “Working every day, it’s something you have to do in this game. You have to keep working at something. You’re not perfect at everything so you always have to find something to do and get better at your weaknesses. I just tried to go out there and fix something. If I made an error on one play, I’d go out there and catch 10 more ground balls on that certain play.”

“That’s one of the big things I’m preaching about. The reaction time is a lot different around here than in the minor leagues. That’s going to be a tough adjustment to make, but that’s why I’m here. I’m going to go out there and try my hardest and work.”

[on if he thinks he will get butterflies tonight] “Everybody should be nervous in their first game. I’m 20 years old, but I think after that first pitch is thrown those butterflies will go away.”

[on how he wants to take this night in?] “Just go out there and be myself. Do what I’ve been doing the last two weeks and the last two years. Just be myself and just go out there and have fun.”

Machado starting at third, batting ninth

Manny Machado, the Orioles top position player prospect, will be starting at third base and batting ninth against the Royals on Thursday.

The O’s announced their plans to call up Machado, the No. 3 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, late Wednesday night. Machado has played mostly shortstop at the Double-A level, but he’s expected to be used at third base with the O’s given shortstop J.J. Hardy’s stellar play. Machado has played two career games at third base, but the Orioles’ brass feels he’s capable of handling another position.

At just 20 years old, Machado has a .263 batting average, .343 on-base percentage and .428 slugging percentage in three Minor League seasons.
The Orioles selected him third overall in the 2010 draft. He has played 203 games at shortstop, three at designated hitter and two at third base, posting a career .955 fielding percentage.

Machado was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday after he went 10-for-21 on the week, including a cycle on Saturday.
In his past nine games with Double-A Bowie he was 16-for-33 with three home runs, two triples, three doubles and seven RBIs. He will wear uniform # 13.

Machado joining the Orioles

Baltimore’s Manny era has begun.

The Orioles announced plans Wednesday night to select the contract of top position prospect Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie prior to Thursday’s game, a move that bolsters Baltimore’s infield and supports the organization’s stance that it is committed to winning in 2012.

“The guy’s got a lot of talent and we feel like he can help,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Machado, a top young shortstop considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball, period.

“Manny should be a plus defender, wherever we play him. He’s a five-tool player and he can help our team. I think he improves our team and it’s important here [for this club] to be strong.”

Machado has played mostly shortstop at the Double-A level but is expected to be used at third base with the O’s given shortstop J.J. Hardy’s stellar play.  The 20-year-old has played two career games at third base, but the Orioles’ brass feel he’s capable of handling another position and helping a Baltimore club –which enters Thursday in a three-way tie for the American League Wild Card – make a playoff push.

“When you have the player with this kind of talent, he’s a natural,” Duquette said of Machado, who was named the Eastern League Player of the Week going 10-for-21, including hitting for the cycle on Saturday. “The guy’s got a lot of talent and we feel like he can help.”

A smooth defender, Machado  has drawn comparisons to Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez –who he works out with in the offseason — and has hit .266/.343/.428 in three Minor League seasons. Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 Draft, has played 203 games at shortstop, three at designated hitter and two at third base, posting a career .955 fielding percentage over that span.

Following the Orioles’ 9-2 win Wednesday night, Orioles manager Buck Showalter made it clear the club will do whatever possible to stay in the postseason race, a sentiment confirmed shortly after with news of Machado’s pending arrival.

“If we can do something that makes us two inches better to have a chance to win the last 49 games, we’re going to do it,” Showalter said.

Bundy promted to Bowie

The Orioles have promoted top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy to Double-A Bowie, a move that isn’t expected to be official for a few days. Bundy allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks Wednesday night, going 5 1/3 innings and striking out seven in the 94-pitch outing for Class-A Frederick. He will travel from Lynchburg to meet Bowie and his next start will likely be Tuesday.

The fourth overall pick in the 21011 Draft, Bundy entered Wednesday’s game having allowed just one earned run over his last three starts a 16 1/3 inning-stretch. He started his pro career with Low-A Delmarva and didn’t allow an earned run in his first 30 innings pitched.

Orioles vs Mariners lineups and pregame notes (updated)

*The Orioles placed Ryan Flaherty on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to yesterday, with a bacterial infection and recalled right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich in his place. Socolovich will help add length to a bullpen that went nine innings in last night’s win, and he will join right-hander Tommy Hunter –who warmed up last night and is available out of the bullpen now — to help back rookie Steve Johnson.

This will be Johnson’s first career Major League start, his second career appearance with the Orioles. Hunter was originally scheduled to start, but since he warmed up the team opted to option Zach Britton and recall Johnson.  Hunter threw about 30 pitches last night and manager Buck Showalter said he will start Sunday in place of Britton as long as he isn’t used in extended relief tonight.

*As I tweeted earlier, the plan is for Jim Thome (herniated disk) to stay around the team for the next few days before going home to Chicago, Ill. to rest. Thome, who was in the dugout last night, was instructed to not do any baseball activity for 30 days but wants to stay with the Orioles for a little while. He will head to Sarasota, Fla. once he';s cleared to start working out.

*Jason Hammel has progressed up to 120 feet throwing off flat ground and the right-hander will join the team in Baltimore on Saturday with the next step being Hammel throwing off a half-mound.

*Despite playing just 110 games, the Orioles have made 118 roster moves this year since setting their Opening Day roster. They have optioned 27 players, recalled 22, placed 16 on the 15-day DL, selected the contract of 13, designated 12 for assignment, reinstated nine from the DL, placed eight on the 60-day DL, lost three on waivers, outrighted three, traded for three, claimed one on waivers and had one take paternity leave.

Your lineups are below, with catcher Matt Wieters playing after catching all 14-innings last night. Showalter said it was important to Wieters to catch Steve Johnson in his first Major League start. Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden, meanwhile, was joking that he’d be able to play the infield or outfield as needed given the team’s short bench.

As for the bullpen, Showalter made it clear he won’t overextend anyone today. With Socolovich, Hunter and closer Jim Johnson available the Orioles are in pretty good shape. Still, when asked what would happen if the team went extra innings, Showalter said it would be Chris Davis time. And he was only half-joking.

MARINERS LINEUP
Dustin Ackley 2B
Joe Saunders CF
Jesus Montero DH
John Jaso C
Kyle Seager 3B
Mike Carp 1B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Eric Thames RF
Munenori Kawasaki SS

Kevin Millwood RHP
ORIOLES LINEUP

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

Steve Johnson RHP

Gausman has impressive debut

In case you missed it last night, Orioles first-round pick Kevin Gausman made his professional debut for short-season Aberdeen. The young right-hander retired all nine batters he faced in State College, Pa. and you can read all about it here.

Orioles vs. Mariners lineups and preagme notes

*Endy Chavez and the Orioles are discussing the outfielder’s future with the team, with an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk appearing to be the most likely outcome. The O’s are currently considering their options with Chavez, and the 11-year veteran would be able choose a release over a trip to Norfolk. Manager Buck Showalter said Chavez would be a September call up, “at the worst,” if he consented to playing in Triple-A for the time being. Chavez was designated for assignment on Saturday.

*Jim Thome is expected to make a decision by the end of Tuesday on how to handle the herniated disc that has landed him on the 15-day disabled list. Showalter said Thome can either stay with the team, return home or travel to Sarasota for rehab. It looks right now as if Thome could be headed home, since he has to wait out the 30-day rest period, although it’s not definite.

*Also expected to have a more definitive plan by the end of the day is pitcher Jason Hammel, who has been on the disabled list since July 15 and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Hammel has been throwing off flat ground and the team was meeting on him this afternoon to set a schedule for getting him up on the mound.

*Pedro Strop has made 13 consecutive scoreless appearances — spanning 12 1/3 innings — since last allowing a run July 3 at Seattle. Strop, who leads all Orioles pitchers with a 1.29 ERA, credited that success to his ability to use his two-seam fastball to get groundouts. In the past, he was more focused on trying to strike every batter out with a 100 mph heater, a style that consistently led to problematic pitch counts.

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

Zach Britton LHP

MARINERS LINEUP
Dustin Ackley 2B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Michael Saunders CF
Jesus Montero DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Casper Wells RF
Mike Carp 1B
Miguel Olivo C
Munenori Kawasaki SS

Blake Beavan RHP

Janet Marie-Smith leaves for Dodgers

Baltimore’s vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith, who was the visionary for the team’s brand-new Spring Training complex and head consultant in building and renovating the famed Oriole Park at Camden Yards, has departed for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

Smith will serve as the senior vice president of planning and development for Los Angeles, overseeing the upgrades at Dodgers Stadium.

“I’m looking forward to working with the new Dodgers ownership to find ways to create an even better fan experience,” Smith said in a statement. “Dodger Stadium is a treasured piece of the Los Angeles community and a special place where I watched more than a dozen games per season when I lived in L.A. during the early 1980s. It’s important to all of us that we restore and enhance the park in a way that honors its heritage and highlights its distinctive appeals, while still capturing what fans want and franchises need in a modern venue.”

The Orioles announcement came Monday afternoon with a statement from managing partner Peter Angelos.

“The Orioles greatly appreciate Janet Marie Smith’s efforts over the past three years, as she has overseen the construction of our widely lauded ballpark in Sarasota and many significant enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards,” the statement read.  “In Sarasota, the goal was to create a ballpark that the local community and all of our fans would be proud to visit, and after two record-setting springs, this has clearly been achieved.

“At Oriole Park, we asked Janet Marie to enhance the fan experience, honor our history, and revitalize some areas of the ballpark with new, more contemporary concepts.  And in this 20th anniversary season, those objectives have resulted in bringing our fans the Roof Deck, Dempsey’s and the Orioles Legends sculptures.”

Smith was named vice president of planning and development for the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, marking her second stint with the organization. Prior to that she served as the Red Sox vice president of planning and development for nine years.

Smith was first with the Baltimore Orioles as vice president for planning and development from 1989-1994, under Larry Lucchino’s leadership. She helped oversee the design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and was responsible for the stadium’s civic image and relationship to surrounding city buildings and area transportation. Smith is considered a pioneer in bringing urban planning and design into the world of sports.

“Janet Marie was the perfect choice to oversee these projects,” Angelos said. “And we wish her the best of luck in her new role with the Dodgers.”

Orioles vs. Mariners lineups and pregame notes

*Jim Thome is expected to be out at least four weeks, as the designated hitter is responding well to an epidural done late last week to help alleviate the symptoms associated with a herniated disk.  Thome, who last played Friday July 27, told the media that he was instructed to not do any baseball activitiy for at least 30 days following Thursday’s epidural.

So an early September return is pushing it at this point. Thome, when asked if this changed the way he viewed his retirement, said this could actually make him want to play one more year even more.

*The Orioles vice president of planning and development, Janet Marie Smith –who was the visionary for the team’s brand-new Spring Training complex and Camden Yards construction– has left for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The team released the following statement from Baltimore’s managing partner Peter Angelos:

“The Orioles greatly appreciate Janet Marie Smith’s efforts over the past three years, as she has overseen the construction of our widely lauded ballpark in Sarasota and many significant enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  In Sarasota, the goal was to create a ballpark that the local community and all of our fans would be proud to visit, and after two record-setting springs, this has clearly been achieved.

“At Oriole Park, we asked Janet Marie to enhance the fan experience, honor our history, and revitalize some areas of the ballpark with new, more contemporary concepts.  And in this 20th anniversary season, those objectives have resulted in bringing our fans the Roof Deck, Dempsey’s and the Orioles Legends sculptures.

“Janet Marie was the perfect choice to oversee these projects, and we wish her the best of luck in her new role with the Dodgers.”

*Jason Hammel got positive reports today as the right-hander continues to throw off flat ground, getting up to 120 feet. The Orioles are optimistic both Hammel and Thome can rejoin the club by September 1.

*They are less optimistic regarding Nick Johnson and Stu Pomeranz. Johnson’s right wrist injury isn’t getting any better, and is a “long shot” to return next month, while Pomeranz is dealing with a leg injury that is causing him some back problems in extended spring.

*The Orioles will have Wei-Yin Chen T-Shirt Thursday for the lefty’s start against the Royals. The first 10,000 fans 15 and over attending the Orioles’ game will receive a T-shirt featuring Orioles on the front and Chen’s name on the back, both written in Mandarin Chinese.

Chen, a native of Taiwan, is in his first season with the Orioles after spending four seasons with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan Central League. Among qualifying rookie pitchers, Chen ranks among the leaders in: games started (T-1st, 22); ERA (2nd, 3.46); wins (2nd, 10); innings pitched (2nd, 135.1); opponents’ average (2nd, .231) and strikeouts (3rd, 109).  He struck out 12 batters over 5.2 innings on July 29 against the A’s, setting a major league record for most strikeouts in a game by a Taiwanese-born pitcher and becoming the first Orioles pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters in fewer than six innings.

*Kevin Gausman, the Orioles top pick in this year’s Draft, will make his professional debut tonight for the Aberdeen IronBirds, pitching in State College.

*Top position player prospect Manny Machado was named Eastern League Player of the Week.

Machado hit .476 (10-21) for the week and hit for the cycle Saturday night, including the game-winning two-run home run. He finished the week with five runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBI.  In 106 games this season, Machado is batting .262 and leads with team with 56 runs scored, 26 doubles and a .425 slugging percentage. He is also second on the team with 57 runs batted in. Machado hit for the cycle for this first time in his career Saturday night, and he also set career highs with four hits and three runs scored.

*On Saturday Hall of Famer Eddie Murray will be the fourth Oriole honored as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series. A larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Murray will be revealed in a ceremony in the Legends Area beyond center field beginning at 5:15 p.m. All gates open at 5:00 p.m., and all fans in attendance will receive a replica of the sculpture. Murray will also be honored in an on-field ceremony and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
Robert Andino 3B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis DH
Lew Ford LF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Omar Quintanilla 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

MARINERS LINEUP
Dustin Ackley 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Jesus Montero DH
John Jaso C
Kyle Seager 3B
Mike Carp 1B
Casper Wells LF
Eric Thames RF
Munenori Kawasaki SS

Jason Vargas LHP

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 317 other followers