May 2013

Orioles vs. Padres (updated)

*As expected, Wei-Yin Chen is on the disabled list and the Orioles have recalled reliever Alex Burnett to take his roster spot. Yamaico Navarro is here as bench depth in place of Mike Belfiore, who was optioned yesterday.  Chen will head down to Sarasota, Fla. to start his rehab on May 21.

*Without Chen, the Orioles will need a starter on Saturday and it’s expected to be Jair Jurrjens, who would have pitched on Saturday for Triple-A Norfolk. Norfolk’s game notes have TBA for that date.

*Orioles lefty Miguel Gonzalez will throw a side session on Wednesday and the team is still optimistic that the right-hander will be eligible to come off the disabled list and make a start early next week.

Gonzalez played catch during Tuesday’s batting practice with a protective splint on the blister on his right thumb and he responded well. The main issue has been throwing his breaking ball, which he did on Tuesday and, assuming he gets through Wednesday OK, Gonzalez would make a rehab start at the end of the week.

“It could be 2-5 [innings], somewhere just to…we don’t want to push it too much,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You see the date, but until that gets all the way healed, last thing we are going to do is have it come back too quick and all of a sudden he’s back to square one with the problem. And I’ve told you before it’s because it’s a different type of blister. It’s down to the rawness. Take your skin, cut it off and then try to pitch with it.”

The Orioles –who have a pair of off days this week– need a fifth starter again on Tuesday against the Yankees and that would be the target date for Gonzalez, although Showalter also mentioned Monday as a possibility.

*Jake Arrieta, who has been sidelined at Triple-A with a right shoulder strain, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session today with no shoulder discomfort. Arrieta was scratched from Sunday’s start at Norfolk because of some shoulder tenderness.

*Brian Roberts (hamstring) has moved to the stationary bike down in Sarasota, Fla.

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
Steve PEarce DH

Chris Tillman RHP

PADRES LINEUP

Everth Cabrera SS
Will Venable RF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Quentin LF
Yonder Alonso 1B
Mark Kotsay DH
Jedd Gyorko 2B
Chris Denorfia CF
Nick Hundley C

Andrew Cashner RHP

Machado: On the same level as Trout or Harper?

BALTIMORE — When the Orioles were in Anaheim earlier this month, Angels phenom Mike Trout approached Baltimore’s own wonder kid, Manny Machado, to get acquainted.

“Hey,” Trout said to the third baseman, to whom he’d only briefly been introduced previously, “you stole my line drive.”

“Hey,” Machado said with a grin as he reminded the fleet-footed 21-year-old outfielder, “you do the same for all of us.”

Health permitting, that exchange is one that will become commonplace.

Baseball’s well-documented youth movement has anointed Trout — who in 2012 became the first player in history to hit 30 homers, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in one season — as one of the sport’s favorite sons alongside 20-year-old Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

But what of Machado, 20, who through his first 89 career games has stats that rival those of both Trout and Harper? Should the smooth defender, who is hitting .331 with five homers and 24 RBIs, be mentioned in tandem with that vaunted duo?

“Trout and Harper are better runners and had video-game numbers [in the Minor Leagues],” said a National League scout. “But can you say for sure you’d rather have them than Machado in the next five, 10 years? It’s so early in their careers. It’s really personal preference. It’s like picking an ice cream flavor.”

This much can be agreed upon: Machado — taken third in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, behind Harper and Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon — has had far less hype.

Click here for the rest of the story on Machado’s rise.

Chen to go on DL on Tuesday

The Orioles are expected to place starter Wei-Yin Chen on the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres.

Chen, who was reevaluated on Monday’s off day, was diagnosed with a right oblique strain and the team will know the MRI results later on Monday night with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirming that a DL trip is likely.

“He looks like a DL candidate,” said Duquette who acknowledged that those injuries typically take “a couple weeks” before the player is eligible to return.

Losing Chen for any length of time is a serious problem for an already inconsistent Orioles rotation. The 27-year-old entered Sunday’s game –which he exited after five innings due to the injury– 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA. Chen was the team’s most reliable starter last year, the only pitcher to start at least 20 games, and had turned in five quality starts in his first seven games in 2013.

Duquette, who has stockpiled starting pitching since coming to Baltimore, said he felt confident with the organization’s internal options and the club should have room to add two players prior to Tuesday’s game with lefty reliever Mike Belfiore being optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles have two off days this week –they are also off Thursday—and remain optimistic that Miguel Gonzalez (blister) will only miss one start. In Chen’s place, the Orioles have their pick at Triple-A with right-hander Steve Johnson also an option because it’s an injury situation so he wouldn’t have to stay in the Minors for the minimum 10-day period.

Jair Jurrjens and Zach Britton could also take Chen’s spot, with right-hander Jake Arrieta more of a long shot given that he’s dealing with some right shoulder tenderness and missed Sunday’s scheduled Triple-A start.

Duquette also confirmed that the club will likely use the full 30 days allotted for the rehab assignment of lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who will make his first Minor League rehab start for Norfolk on Thursday. Wada is about a year removed from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow and had gotten up to seven innings in extended spring starts. His pitch count will stay around there as the organization works him back in slowly.

Chen exits with oblique strain

Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen exited Sunday’s series finale against the Twins with a right oblique strain after tossing five scoreless innings.

Chen– who never had a clean inning– needed just 73 pitches and looked poised to go the distance for Baltimore, but television cameras showed him grabbing his right side as he walked off the mound following Eduardo Escobar’s groundout.

Oblique strains typically mean a trip to the disabled list and losing Chen for any length of time would be a major blow to an already inconsistent Orioles rotation. Chen, who entered the game 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA was the team’s most reliable starter last year –the only pitcher to start at least 20 games– and had turned in five quality starts in his first seven games in 2013.

The 27-year-old Chen held Minnesota to five hits and struck out three before he was replaced by right-hander Tommy Hunter. The injury-shortened outing gave the Orioles –who added reliever Mike Belfiore before the game to help the bullpen– their third consecutive start of fewer than six innings.

Orioles @ Twins series finale

Greetings from Target Field, where the Orioles will take on the Twins for a Mother’s Day series finale.

*Mike Belfiore was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and the left-hander will be available to add some length to an overworked bullpen. Belfiore takes the roster spot vacated by Steve Johnson, who was optioned to Triple-A after a four-inning start last night and he will be making his Major League debut if/when he gets into a game.

Belfiore was acquired as the player to be named later in the Josh Bell trade with Arizona and he was added to the 40-man roster over the winter.

*Chris Tillman will start Tuesday’s game with Wednesday’s starter either Freddy Garcia or Jason Hammel. Garcia, who was held out of his side session today, is available if needed in relief.

*Miguel Gonzalez was going to try to throw today, but there’s still some healing needed in regards to the blister on his right thumb. Gonzalez will try to throw a side on Tuesday and could go on a rehab start on Thursday or Friday. Tsuyoshi Wada’s rehab start hasn’t been determined just yet, but the team is leaning toward Thursday.

*Taylor Teagarden will see Dr. Brian Schofield on Thursday in Sarasota.

*Wilson Betemit is still doing pool work down at the team’s rehab facility and he will definitely not make the May 30 date, which is the first day he could be eligible off the 60-day disabled list.

*Triple-A Norfolk will pitch a game out of the bullpen today to get the relievers some work, according to manager Buck Showalter.  Jake Arrieta was originally slated to start.
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters DH
Steve Pearce LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Alexi Casilla 2B
Chris Snyder C

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

TWINS LINEUP
Brian Dozier 2B
Joe Mauer DH
Josh Willingham LF
Justin Morneau 1B
Ryan Doumit C
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Chris Parmelee RF
Wilkin Ramirez CF
Eduardo Escobar SS

Scott Diamond LHP

Roster coming tmrw, Johnson optioned

Steve Johnson surrendered seven hits and four walks (one intentional) and became the second consecutive starter to last just four innings on Saturday night, forcing the Orioles to option the right-hander after the game to add some bullpen help.

With Monday and Thursday’s off days, the team doesn’t need a fifth starter next week and  they are expected to officially announce the corresponding move prior on Sunday.

“We’re not going to be short. I can tell you that,” manager Buck Showalter said of the bullpen, which he has made a priority to protect since taking over. “We’re not going to assume anything with Wei-Yin [Chen starting], especially with the conditions that we’re playing in. “

“We’ve got two options. We had a couple calls in [to Triple-A Norfolk] in the fourth inning when Stevie came  out. I wanted to check on the health of one guy, and some other things before we try to make a decision. There’s a 5:30 [a.m.] flight, gets in at 10:30. If we make it, that’s what he’ll be on.”

Showalter said in a perfect world the team would like to have a right-handed reliever, behind the lefty Chen, who can add some length although he acknowledged that may not be the case. Options in Triple-A who haven’t pitched lately include right-hander reliever Adam Russell, lefties Mike Belfiore  and Daniel Schlereth and right-hander starter Jair Jurrjens, who is slated to start Monday for Norfolk.

Of those listed above, only Belfiore is on the 40-man roster. But given Brian Roberts’ hamstring surgery, the Orioles could transfer him to the 60-day disabled list should they need to make a 40-man move.

**Also Ryan Flaherty, who took a ball off his right wrist, said he’s fine and didn’t have any X-rays done after the game. He was removed for a pinch-hitter, but Showalter said that was just a game decision.

Orioles @ Twins- Game 2

*The Orioles officially recalled right-hander Steve Johnson and he will make his first Major League start this season, with reliever Alex Burnett being optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk.

 

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

Steve Johnson RHP

TWINS LINEUP
Brian Dozier 2B
Joe Mauer C
Ryan Doumit DH
Justin Morneau 1B
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Chris Parmelee RF
Oswaldo Arcia LF
Wilkin Ramirez CF
Eduardo Escobar SS

Vance Worley RHP

Orioles @ Twins -series opener

Greetings from Target Field, where the Orioles will take on the Twins for a three-game road trip.

*In case you missed it, Miguel Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list (blister) and the Orioles recalled reliever Alex Burnett yesterday in his place. Burnett is expected to be the guy to go when they make a move to add right-hander Steve Johnson, who is here in Minnesota and will get his first big league start this season on Saturday.

*Alexi Casilla is in the lineup tonight against a right-handed starter, and he could move over to the right side and hit from there. Casilla, a switch-hitter, has been working on moving just to the right side because the organization feels he gets on top of the ball better that way. He said he will start off a lefty tonight, but could make the switch tonight. It’s still an experimental thing, but Casilla said he feels comfortable over there and –depending on the game–could try it out tonight. He is a career 0-for-5 as in two games as a right-handed hitter against a right-handed pitcher.

*There was some drama on Friday afternoon when news quickly spread that the pink bats of Nick Markakis and Trevor Plouffe wouldn’t be allowed on Sunday because they weren’t Louisville Slugger issued, although that’s not entirely true.

Markakis and Plouff’s proposed bats are black with a pink circle that reads MAX Bats and a memo sent to equipment managers around the league stated that while the use of plain pink bats by other companies is OK, any logo by a company other than Louisville is not.

“The fact is that players can use [Mother’s Day] bats from any bat manufacturer as long as the bat manufacturer makes a modest donation to the Susan B. Komen Foundation,” Matt Bourne, VP Business Public Relations for Major League Baseball said in a statement.

Major League Baseball encourages players to wear pink equipment on Sunday with players around the sport donning pink bats, cleats and wristbands to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer. The game-worn equipment is later auctioned off on MLB.com to support breast cancer research. Both Markakis and Plouffe have mothers who are cancer survivors.

Louisville, MLB’s official bat, started the initiative in 2006 and donates the pink bats every year as well as makes a sizable monetary donation to the cause. Spokesman Rick Redman said those donations total up to roughly a quarter-million dollars.

You can read the full story on this on Orioles.com

*With Mother’s Day on Sunday, I wrote about catcher Matt Wieters and his mother, Pam, and you can read that here.

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

Jason Hammel RHP

TWINS LINEUP
Jamey Carroll 2B
Joe Mauer DH
Josh Willingham LF
Justin Morneau 1B
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Ryan Doumit C
Oswaldo Arcia RF
Aaron Hicks CF
Eduardo Escobar SS

Mike Pelfrey RHP

Orioles question? Tweet your questions & get them answered live

 

Got an Orioles question?

The Orioles’ 8-4 win in Anaheim here this afternoon caps a 7-4 road trip and the team will head home tonight for Monday’s off day before a quick three-game homestand.

Given the rare day off, I thought it would be a good time to answer some questions with my first Orioles inbox of the regular season. If you have a question you want considered about the team, a player, etc, shoot me an email me at brittany.ghiroli@mlb.com. Please include your name and hometown for possible inclusion in Monday’s Orioles.com inbox.

Thanks!

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