April 2013

Orioles vs. Dogers game 1

Orioles manager Buck Showalter spent a good chunk of time yesterday discussing his relationship with manager Don Mattingly and the Dodgers skipper did the same prior to Friday’s series-opener in Baltimore.

“Wow. We go back to [Double-A] Nashville,” Mattingly said of the friendship between him and Showalter.  “That’s a long time. I remember coming in and going to Nashville. I didn’t really know Buck until then. They had a great time the year before, Balboni and Pat Tabler, and I think Buck set the record for most hits that year. I remember something like that. Just seeing his swing and stuff like that. I was probably 18 or 19, and just seeing his swing and all that stuff.”

The pair became friends more over time than as Minor League teammates, with Mattingly appreciating Showalter when he became the Yankees manager.

“The view he had on talent was always good,” he said. “He always knew who could play and who couldn’t, and he knew how you were supposed to play. That’s what was always kind of impressive with Buck. He knew young talent and how you were supposed to play the game.”

“I told people before, I really feel like he was the guy you turned things around over there [in New York]. I know Joe [Torre] gets a lot of credit, credit with the guys who came in there. He really was the guy who turned that thing around, him and Stick. He did a great job of knowing who was coming up, knowing [Derek] Jeter was going to be special. He would talk about Jeter and [Jorge] Posada and [Andy] Pettitte, Mariano [Rivera], and he was right on on all of them. At that time, they’re all in the Minor Leagues, and you’re going OK, yeah, you’re listening. You’ve seen a lot of guys coming through, then all of a sudden, that group was a group I remember him just talking about like these guys are coming and I give him a lot of credit for seeing that.

He changed the whole attitude. The guys he brought in. He started off attitude-wise. He brought in Spike Owen, guys you wouldn’t think about. Spike Owen, a guy who played the game right. Mike Gallego, then we get O’Neill. Then we slip in [Wade] Boggsie into the mix as we got closer, Jim Abbott. Black Jack McDowell, guys that went about it the right way, and he changed the whole attitude. That’s where we were at at that time. We needed to have the whole tone changed around our club. He did that. He did a great job.”

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Steve Pearce DH
Nolan Reimold LF
Alexi Casilla 2B

Jason Hammel RHP

DODGERS LINEUP
Carl Crawford DH
Mark Ellis 2B
Matt Kemp CF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Andre Ethier RF
Ramon Hernandez C
Skip Schumaker LF
Luis Cruz 3B
Justin Sellers SS

Hyun-Jin Ryu LHP

Orioles vs. Rays Game 2

Greetings from Camden Yards, where the Orioles are fresh off a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay and will play the second game of the series tonight.

*Right-hander Steve Johnson will pitch four innings in extended spring tomorrow with lefty Tsuyoshi Wada slated to go three. Johnson could go out on rehab assignment or be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after that, while it’s assumed Wada will make at least one more start in extended.

*Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia is expected to leave extended spring and join Double-A Bowie later in the week.

*Nate McLouth is playing tonight despite lefty Matt Moore on the mound and manager Buck Showalter said he will likely sit him tomorrow against Rays ace David Price. Nolan Reimold, who is serving at designated hitter, is expected to play left field tomorrow with Steve Pearce also getting a start.

RAYS LINEUP
Desmond Jennings CF
Kelly Johnson 2B
Ben Zobrist RF
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce LF
Shelley Duncan DH
James Loney 1B
Jose Molina C
Yunel Escobar SS

Matt Moore LHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Nolan Reimold DH
Alexi Casilla 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

Orioles vs. Rays- game 1

Greetings from Camden Yards where the Orioles open a nine-game homestand with a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Orioles have extra security measures in place tonight, akin to Opening Day, given the horrible tragedy that occurred during yesterday’s Boston Marathon. The Rays, who were actually in Boston when it happened, were able to arrive safely last night. The O’s, who had planned a moment of silence as a tribute for the recent passing of two longtime fans, will also honor the victims of the senseless acts in Boston.

Yesterday’s events certainly hit home for a lot of people, including the Orioles who were just in Boston last week and stayed at the nearby Copley Hotel. Second baseman Ryan Flaherty, who is from Maine, said everyone he knew who ran the race checked in OK and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette –who has a lot of family in the Boston area– was also lucky in that regard. Duquette’s ex-wife, Sharon, volunteers at the finish line of the marathon every year and his son, Daniel, helped her get out of the area safely yesterday. Duquette’s cousin, Pat, also has a yearly party close by but also checked out OK.

*In case you missed it, I wrote on yesterday’s off day about Nick Markakis, one of the Orioles quiet team leaders who doesn’t go underappreciated by his teammates. You can read more on that here.

*Steven Johnson will throw four innings in extended spring on Thursday along with lefty Tsuyoshi Wada and manager Buck Showalter said the pair could go out on a rehab assignment after that.

RAYS LINEUP

Desmond Jennings CF
Kelly Johnson DH
Ben Zobrist 2B
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce LF
Yunel Escobar SS
James Loney 1B
Jose Lobaton C
Sam Fuld RF

Roberto Hernandez RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP

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

Jake Arrieta RHP

Deflecting attention, Markakis appreciated nonetheless

It is just after the Orioles’ stunning ninth-inning comeback win at Fenway Park on Wednesday night and right fielder Nick Markakis — who hit a solo homer and had two RBIs in the 8-5 win — is nowhere to be found in the visitors’ clubhouse.

He is not the star of this game — that would be Manny Machado, who hit the go-ahead homer — and Markakis rarely is sitting in front of his locker even if he is. There are postgame workouts to get in and treatment to receive, the latter of which Markakis finally appears from in Boston and unassumingly sits on the couch, more than happy to fade into the background of reporters’ game stories and be overshadowed by the flashier players and more-quotable personalities.

It is the same thing at home, when Markakis — the Orioles’ longest-tenured active player — has two hits and two runs scored in the home opening-win and follows that with a 4-for-5 night that includes two doubles. It isn’t that he’s purposely avoiding interviews — a job he’s more than willing to let center fielder Adam Jones claim — so much as Markakis simply doesn’t want the credit, a fact that extends beyond the baseball field and into the clubhouse, where the players frequent the pool and ping-pong table, both quietly purchased by Markakis.

“He’s one of the most giving guys around, but it’s not broadcasted,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He just doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Probably about half the stuff [he does], I don’t know about.”

“He’s such a great example. Nick takes the responsibility of being there, of posting up, very seriously. And, believe me, he’s one of those guys that teammates don’t want to disappoint.”

Jones may be the vocal leader, the convivial Chris Davis the resident power hitter, and catcher Matt Wieters the anchor of the pitching staff. But it is Markakis who is the heart of the team, a hard-nosed player — coming off a calendar year in which he had three surgeries in less than nine months — who teammates and coaches alike gush about, and as Wieters dryly remarked, won’t be happy to see a story focused on him.

Click here for the rest of the story on Markakis.

Orioles @ Yankees series finale

Greetings from the series finale in the Bronx, where the Orioles and Yankees will be on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

*In case you missed it, Triple-A Norfolk tweeted earlier today that Conor Jackson has retired from baseball with Lew Ford being promoted from Double-A Bowie to take his roster spot. Jackson was the final roster cut this spring, with Steve Pearce edging him out to make the Opening Day roster.

*The Orioles will stay on turn following Monday’s off day, with Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez starting in the Rays series opposite Roberto Hernandez, Matt Moore and David Price.
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Nolan Reimold DH

Wei-Yin Chen RHP

YANKEES LINEUP

Brett Gardner CF
Vernon Wells LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Ben Francisco DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

Orioles @ Yankees Game 2 (updated)

*Greetings from the Bronx where the Orioles and Yankees will play a 4p.m. ET game and the weather is much more conducive to a baseball game. New York is sending Phil Hughes to the mound after scratching Andy Pettitte yesterday with back spasms. He will be opposed by Orioles Opening Day starter Jason Hammel.

*The Orioles lost 5-2 last night and are 5-5 on the season.

*Orioles outfielder Steve Pearce turned 30 years old today.

*Steve Johnson and Tsuyoshi Wada threw in an extended spring training game today and manager Buck Showalter said there were positive reports on their performance and velocity. Wada, who has been working with Chris Correnti, threw two innings while Johnson pitched three.

The plan for Wada is to increase by an inning each time out as the lefty works his way back from Tommy John surgery and could return as early as June.

“Today was a big day to get through,” Showalter said. “I think the big day will be tomorrow, seeing how he feels afterward facing hitters and pitching in a game.”

Johnson (lat strain) could be nearing a rehab assignment with an affiliate. Outfielder Henry Urrutia, who has been slowed with a hamstring injury, is also close to joining Double-A Bowie.

Showalter said second baseman BRian Roberts (right hamstring strain) has not been cleared to start baseball activities and is just resting and doing rehab right now. Roberts isn’t expected to be ready April 20, which is the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list.

*The Orioles will stay on turn following Monday’s off day, with Jake Arrieta starting Tuesday and Chris Tillman on Wednesday.

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

Jason Hammel RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS

Phil Hughes RHP

Quotes on the Jones play

You can read the full story on Orioles.com from tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Yankees but here are some quotes regarding Gold Glover Adam Jones’ gaffe that allowed a trio of unearned seventh-inning runs to score.

“Foot gave out, you could say it’s rain, you could say it’s cold, you could say anything, wind, you could say whatever you want,” said Jones, who didn’t use any excuses for the misplay. “I was there. Didn’t catch it. Cost my team the game. Trust me. It’s quite frustrating.

Some days you’re the hero, some days you’re the goat.”

Jones shouldered the blame for the loss, which had some sloppy play on the basepaths and six walks and two hit batsmen by the pitching staff.

“To make a mistake like that, big in the game, late in the game, you cost your team a game,” Jones said.

“I don’t have to watch that ball on video. I’ve caught way tougher balls than that, and it’s a ball hit over my head. It’s a routine play in my book. Me and [outfield coach Wayne] Kirby talked about it afterwards. Missed it. No more, no less.”

“You know what he’s a leader of this team and he’s going to go out there and always fight,” Manny Machado said of Jones. “He’s always fighting with us, fighting ‘til the end. He came out there [after the play] and stayed mentally strong and was pushing us in the dugout. So, things happen. Errors happen. And it’s all part of the game.”

Added manager Buck Showalter: “He’s spoiled us with a great level of play. Someone said [Jones] stepped in between the warning track and the ground kind of gave way, but that’s an excuse he won’t take. He’s so good for us and that’s why it gets everybody’s attention when he doesn’t make every play.”

It got the attention of the other dugout with manager Joe Girardi saying this: “”The way the ball was carrying tonight…I thought he was going to able to run it down. The chances of that happening are slim, slim, slim, but we caught a break.”

Orioles @ Yankees game 1

It’s rainy, cold and windy here in the Bronx but all indications are that the Orioles and Yankees will play tonight. New York is coming off of two consecutive rainouts with Cleveland already.

*As expected Steve Johnson (lat strain) and Tsuyoshi Wada (Tommy John surgery) will throw in extended spring on Saturday, and Dylan Bundy (right elbow discomfort) started his throwing progression on Thursday.

*Zach Britton, who was dealing with a blood blister in his lats start for Triple-A Norfolk, had no issues during his workday and is slated to start again tomorrow.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nolan Reimold LF
Steve Pearce DH
Alexi Casilla 2B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Francisco Cervelli C

CC Sabathia LHP

Os claim Burnett

The Orioles claimed pitcher Alex Burnett off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon, optioning the right-hander to Triple-A Norfolk where he is expected to be part of the bullpen.

“He’s a qualified big leaguer,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Burnett, who is 3-4 with a 4.61 ERA in 174 Major League games, all with the Minnesota Twins. “He’s 25 years old, got a good sinker, a good slider and we think he can support our Major League team.”

With the recent trade of right-handed reliever Luis Ayala, Duquette said the organization had wanted to add some depth back and they like Burnett’s combination of youth and experience.

“He’s a good kid, he likes to pitch,” Duquette said. “We like him.”

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Orioles moved Wilson Betemit from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Betemit is recovering from a Grade 2 PCL tear in his right knee.

 Burnett is a career 28-24 with a 3.40 ERA in eight Minor League seasons with Toronto and Minnesota. He was originally selected by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft out of Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach, CA.

***

Also outfielder Henry Urrutia is about a week away from being assigned to an affiliate, with the team getting the paperwork needed for the Cuban outfielder a few days ago and just waiting for him to be healthy enough to be sent out. Urrutia, who arrived in March, has been dealing with a hamstring strain.

 

Orioles vs. Red Sox series finale

The Orioles play a rare night game on getaway day and they will take on the Red Sox tonight before heading to New York for a three-game series this weekend.

*Brian Roberts (right hamstring strain) is walking around without a limp, although manager Buck Showalter said it will be tough for him to be ready within two weeks. Roberts was placed on the disabled list on April 5 so he could be available on the 20th, although it’s not likely he’s ready on that date. Roberts hasn’t been cleared to start baseball activities and is currently doing rest and rehab at the team’s spring facility in Sarasota, Fla.

*Orioles pitchers Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez’s cab got into a minor fender bender on the way to Fenway Park this afternoon. Both guys are fine and manager Buck Showalter relayed that the worst part was the three-mile chase their driver did after the culprit. They both came in and laid on the training tables, joking they had some whiplash, and had a little fun with it.

*Jake Arrieta could be used a potential bullpen option this weekend given his rain-shortened start last night. There’s some bad weather in the upcoming forecast in New York, so there could be a potential for a doubleheader, particularly with a rare Sunday night game.

RED SOX LINEUP

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dutin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Daniel Nava DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Jackie Bradley, Jr LF
Alfredo Aceves RHP
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis DH
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Dickerson RF
Alexi Casilla 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

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