July 2013

Orioles @ Royals- series finale

Greetings from Kansas City, where the Orioles will play the final game of a two-city,seven-game road trip. The O’s have lost back-to-back games after opening the second half with four consecutive wins.

*Jonathan Schoop has been progressing well on his rehab assignment and could go to Triple-A Norfolk in the next day or two. The organization has been cautious in bringing along Schoop, who had a lower back injury, and he’s still viewed as a potential September callup.

*The Orioles officially announced the signing of Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez yesterday, and the new signee was actually teammates with current Oriole Henry Urrutia. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he got the scouting report from Urrutia and then teasingly asked him who was better.

* Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada continues to search for some consistency with Triple-A Norfolk as the lefty, who had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his elbow last May, failed to complete five innings on Thursday.

Signed a two-year, $8.15 million contract in December 2011, Wada has yet to throw a pitch for Baltimore. In 13 starts for Norfolk he is 2-5 with a 5.54 ERA, allowing 44 runs (40 earned) on 75 hits and 26 walks over 65 innings pitched. He also had 51 strikeouts. Wada issued five walks on Friday and he will remain a starter at Norfolk with no plans to see what he can do in short stints as a potential bullpen option.

“As long as it takes him to get ready and the physical part of it, [he] couldn’t pick back-to-back days and things like that,” Showalter said. “I don’t see it.”
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Henry Urrutia DH
Brian Roberts 2B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

ROYALS LINEUP
Alex Gordon LF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Billy Butler DH
Salvador Perez C
David Lough RF
Mike Moustakas 3B
Alcides Escobar SS
Chris Getz 2B
Jarrod Dyson CF

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

Orioles @ Royals lineups and pregame notes

*Danny Valencia has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot for Fransisco Rodriguez, who is here and wearing No. 57. Orioles bullpen coach Billy Castro let him have it.  Jair Asecncio would have to be exposed to waivers and the with team facing right-handed starters the next four games, Valencia –a right-handed hitter– is expendable.

This could also mean more playing time for Henry Urrutia, who is starting his third game tonight, since they don’t really have a platoon option at designated hitter now.

*There is interest in outfielder Chris Dickerson, who was designated for assignment on Friday, and the expectation is he will be in the big leagues in the next few days elsewhere. The Phillies and Yankees are among those with interest.

*A trio of Orioles were honored by the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon, with manager Buck Showalter, centerf ielder Adam Jones and closer Jim Johnson receiving Legacy Awards for their accomplishments last season.

Showalter accepted the C.I. Taylor Award honoring him as the 2012 American League (AL) Manager of the Year, his second such award. Taylor Award.  Johnson. Who lead the AL with 53 saves in 2012, was the Hilton Smith Award recipient and Jones was honored with the “Pop” Lloyd Award presented for “baseball and community leadership.”

*The Orioles officially announced the signing of 24-year-old outfielder Dariel Alvarez to a Minor League contract.  Alvarez will be assigned to Class-A Frederick after reporting to Sarasota this week. The signing was first reported by MLB.com last week.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Henry Urrutia DH
Brian Roberts 2B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

ROYALS LINEUP
Lorenzo Cain CF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Billy Butler DH
Salvador Perez C
Miguel Tejada 3B
David Lough LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Chris Getz 2B
Elliot Johnson RF

Ervin Santana RHP

K-Rod and Melvin discuss the trade

Coutesy of my MLB.com colleague Adam McCalvy, here’s more about the Orioles trade for Fransisco Rodriguez with the Brewers in exchange for infield prospect Nick Delmonico. (You can read more about that deal, including quotes from executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, here)

The Brewers asked for Delmonico three weeks ago but were told he was unavailable. But Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was able to get six teams involved in Rodriguez, a list he whittled to three serious American League suitors. When he checked back Tuesday, Duquette was willing to part with Delmonico.
Melvin praised K-Rod as a “true pro” and wished him well with the Orioles.

“I spent years in Baltimore, and it’s a great experience when you’re in a pennant race there,” Melvin said. “He jumped back in there and is pitching really well right now. I think he’s a guy who can be a difference-maker when you get into postseason or you get into pennant races in August or September. You always need more than one guy who can pitch in the ninth inning, and he’s capable of doing that.”

 

Here is what Rodriguez, who found out about 30 minutes before the first pitch of the Brewers-Padres game at Miller Park, had to say about the deal.
[on the trade] “I cannot say that I was not expecting it, but I’m definitely sad, I’m not going to lie. I’m extremely sad because I don’t want to leave this organization, but at the same time, you realize this is a business and I do understand that it’s part of the game coming in. This is a new opportunity for me and I am looking forward to this challenge once again.”

On going to a pennant race: “Definitely, it’s nice. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but we’re not playing for [anything] here. Going there now, every game is going to count, especially in an American League East that is really strong. I have to be on top of my game as much as possible.”

[On being home at the start of April and in the Minors at the start of May] “That tells you anything can happen. I wish I could have control over that, but unfortunately I don’t I just have to go with it, and this is another chapter of my life. I’m just looking forward, and I’m going to go out there with the intensity that I have and help them win ballgames.”

Os acquire Francisco Rodriguez for Nick Delmonico

The Orioles acquired veteran pitcher Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, adding the right-handed reliever they coveted in exchange for promising infield prospect Nick Delmonico.

“We like Franky Rodriguez’s experience, especially in pitching in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of the move. “And he’s done it well.  He gives us a little more depth to our bullpen. We really like his changeup, his signature pitch that has had success against left-handed hitters. And he’s a Major League veteran. He has got experience and he’s a competitor.”

The 31-year-old Rodriguez is 1-1 with 10 saves, a 1.09 ERA (24 2/3 IP, 3ER), 26 strikeouts and nine walks in 25 appearances. He has recorded double-digit saves in nine of the last 10 seasons — including a Major League record 62 while with the Angels in ’08– and his 304 career saves are third-most among active players.

He will presumably take over a late-inning role in the Orioles’ bullpen, giving manager Buck Showalter another option in close games, which Baltimore plays on a near-nightly basis. Closer Jim Johnson is on pace to record more save opportunities than last year and even with the team’s rotation –bolstered by the recent trade for starter Scott Feldman – looking improved, the O’s never filled the spot vacated by power arm Pedro Strop.

“We are pretty solid defensively and we’ve got some pretty solid players in the lineup,” Duquette said of an Orioles club that entered Tuesday’s game on a season-high five-game winning streak and a season-high 14 games over .500.  “We were trying to upgrade the pitching to give us a chance   to make the run for the AL [East] title and the pennant. So, we did what we had to do to help the team now and we have enough players having good years at the plate. It’s my hope that we can have a steady stream of prospects going through the system so we can have some that we can trade to supplement the Major League team.”

Delmonico, ranked as the Orioles fifth-best prospect by MLB.com entering the season, hit .244/.351/.471 in 60 games for Class-A Advanced Frederick. The organization’s sixth-round pick out of Farragut (Tenn.) High School, Delmonico played 43 games at third base, 13 at designated hitter and one at first.

“Nick Delmonico shows a lot of promise as a hitter,” Duquette said, “but the Major League club needed a little more depth for our pitching staff to accomplish what we want to accomplish this year.

One of the best available right-handed relievers, the Orioles’ acquisition of Rodriguez also keeps him away from other rumored suitors including the Detroit Tigers and divisional rival Boston Red Sox.  Rodriguez has held left-handed hitters to a .102/.185/.186 line this year and over his career has been able to defend himself on both sides of the plate. He owns a .214/.297/.346 mark against left-handed hitters and a.192/.282/.287 mark against righties.

The trade, coupled with the deal for Feldman earlier this month, have the O’s likely done dealing in advance of July 31’s non-waiver Trade Deadline.

“The addition of [Scott] Feldman and of course the rerun of [Wei-Yin] Chen has helped stabilize the team and we hope the addition of Frank Rodriguez will be additive as well,” Duquette said. “It’s a tough league and a tough division we are competing in.  Again, we have a number of position players having good years. I think our pitching needed to be bolstered and that’s what these two trades are trying to do. To help make our pitching stronger.”

Orioles @ Royals lineups and pregame notes

Greetings from Kansas City, where the Orioles will take on the Royals and try to extend their season-high five-game winning streak following last night’s 9-2 win.

*Outfielder Nolan Reimold underwent corrective spinal surgery today at the Florida Spine Institute. Reimold will miss the remainder of the season. (For more on that, click here.)

*Steve Pearce (sore wrists) is preparing to go out on a rehab assignment in the next day or so.

*Steve Johnson (left oblique) will pitch for short-season Aberdeen on Wednesday.

*Catcher Matt Wieters isn’t in the starting lineup, with manager Buck Showalter wanting to give him a day –with the team playing all night games– and also work backup Taylor Teagarden into the mix. Was it hard to sit Wieters, who has gone 8-for-17 since the break?

“It’s as much a reason to keep it that way, too. Physically,” Showalter said. “We talked about it a couple days ago, where we were going to go. Just thought this was a good fit. I knew he was going to get one day off through this road trip because the schedule is, as usual, not as should be.”

*The Orioles, along with the Orioles Wives, Oriole Advocates, WJZ-TV and MASN personalities, Von Paris Moving and Storage and the Maryland Food Bank, will hold their 27th annual Food and Funds Drive at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this weekend, July 26-28, during the series against the Boston Red Sox. Members of these groups will collect non-perishable food items and monetary donations from fans at each ballpark entrance from the time gates open until the middle of the 2nd inning during games this weekend.

All food and funds collected go to the Maryland Food Bank. Von Paris Moving and Storage will pick up and deliver all items donated. Fans who cannot attend the games can donate food online at http://www.mdfoodbank.org/orioles.

For more information, fans can call 888-848-BIRD or visit http://www.oriolesreach.com.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Danny Valencia DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Taylor Teagarden C

Jason Hammel RHP

ROYALS LINEUP
Alex Gordon LF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Lorenzo Cain CF
Billy Butler DH
Mike Moustakas 3B
David Lough RF
George Kottaras C
Alcides Escobar SS
Chris Getz 2B

Bruce Chen LHP

Orioles @ Royals lineups and pregame notes

Greetings from Kansas City, where the Orioles will take on the Royals for a four-game series. The O’s are fresh off sweeping the Rangers and are a season-high 13 games over .500.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Henry Urrutia DH
Brian Roberts 2B

Scott Feldman RHP

 

ROYALS LINEUP
Alex Gordon LF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Billy Butler DH
Salvador Perez C
Lorenzo Cain CF
Mike Moustakas 3B
David Lough RF
Miguel Tejada 2B
Alcides Escobar 6

Wade Davis RHP

Orioles at Rangers lineups and pregame notes

*Chris Davis said he’s fine, and he did last night as well, after fouling a ball off his right ankle bone in the third inning of last night’s game. Davis, always a character, saw reporters today in the clubhouse and started dragging his right leg around for laughs.

*Orioles third baseman Manny Machado ditched his batting gloves for Saturday night’s game for no particular reason, with the 21-year-old just in the mood to do something different.

“Just thought I’d change it up,” Machado, who reached base three times, said of the move. “I did it in the Minor Leagues and when I was younger. It’s something that just came out of nowhere really.”

Asked Sunday if he’d stick with the trend or not, Machado  –who hadn’t hit without batting gloves in a big league game until Saturday– said it would be a “game time decision” after he takes batting practice with his gloves.

Fresh off his first career All-Star Game, Machado entered Sunday batting .310/.337/.467 in 98 games.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Danny Valencia DH
Brian Roberts 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

RANGERS LINEUP
Ian Kinsler 1B
Craig Gentry CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
A.J. Pierzynski C
Mitch Moreland 1B
Elvis Andrus SS
Davis Murphy LF
Leonys Martin RF

Martin Perez LHP

Davis fouls ball off foot, says he’s fine

Chris Davis, who grimaced while stretching out on the first out of the top of the ninth, also fouled a ball off his right ankle bone in the third inning.  In that frame, head athletic trainer Richie Bancells and manager Buck Showalter came out to check on Davis after he rounded second base and the first baseman stayed in the game with no issue.

“It’s sore, it tightened up a little bit,” Davis said of the injury, which he didn’t expect to be anything that would keep him out of the lineup. “I obviously iced it, will wrap it up for tonight. It’s something where every guy, I’ve seen Adam Jones foul about 800 balls off his foot this year, so just one of those things. Just kind of caught me right on the ankle bone. Usually it’s the leg or the shin or the foot.”

As of Saturday night, there were no plans for Davis to get any tests done and he said the grimace in the ninth inning was more “general aches and pains” that come with the season, and not related to his ankle.  He was in good spirits after the game, joking that the play was a result of having to “save Manny [Machado] once again” with the 21-year-old third baseman making a fantastic grab to retire Ian Kinsler.

Orioles @ Rangers- Urrutia’s debut

Greetings from Arlington, where Henry Urrutia will make his Major League debut, batting eighth at designated hitter. (More on him here.)

*In case you missed it, Nolan Reimold will undergo corrective spine surgery on Tuesday after being cleared to resume baseball activities before the fusion had fully completed. You can read more on Reimold’s injury and how this came about here.

*Steve Johnson (left oblique strain) threw two innings on Friday with no problem and he will pitch for short-season Aberdeen next. <p>

*Outfielder Eric Thames (left hand fracture) was activated from the disabled list and got his first start in the Orioles organization on Friday, playing right field for Triple-A Norfolk.

*With Friday’s win, Orioles manager Buck Showalter became just the fourth Major League manager to win 250 or more games with four different teams. Showalter’s previous three stops were the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Henry Urrutia DH
Brian Roberts 2B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

RANGERS LINEUP
Ian Kinsler 2B
Jurickson Profar DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
A.J. Pierzynski C
Mitch Moreland 1B
Elvis Andrus SS
David Murphy LF
Leonys Martin CF

Ross Wolf RHP

Reimold on his surgery, his timetable and what went wrong

Nolan Reimold, who will have season-ending corrective neck surgery on Tuesday, was just looking for a way to get his arm strength back.

Reimold, cleared in January to resume baseball activities following last June’s spinal fusion procedure, was still having trouble getting his left arm over the hump and the 29-year-old had a bunch of tests done over the All-Star Break to see if there was a way to help. The results were shocking, with Reimold learning that the spine never fused properly and needed to be redone, ending his season for the second consecutive year.

“I was under the impression everything was fused,” said Reimold, who had the initial procedure done by neurosurgeon neurosurgeon Dr. Ziya Gokaslan at Johns Hopkins Hospital and was a full-go upon arriving at Orioles camp. “I was released for activity [by Gokaslan] without restrictions, so I thought it was good and healed. From everything I was told and read, it was supposed to be the strongest link in your spine. When that bone fuses together it’s supposed to be fused together and be stronger than it was before.

It was a shock when I got the results. I’m lucky in a way that I caught it now instead of keep making it worse.”

Reimold was still waiting for one more set of tests results when speaking to MLB.com on Saturday, but acknowledged that by all accounts the second procedure is a necessity to make sure the area fuses. That corrective surgery will be done by neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Kowalski –who he saw over the break– at the Florida Spine Institute and the timeline is about the same, although the rehab will be a little better.

“I’m not going to even try to push it until I know it’s ready to go,” said Reimold, who is about a month behind last year’s schedule given the different surgery dates.  “I thought it was [ready] before, but I’m not going to do anything, push it, I’m going to give it all the time it needs. I don’t have the muscle atrophy that I had before. That’s a good thing. It’s the same rehab. I don’t have near as much arm strength that I lost to get back.

Going into Spring Training [in 2014], it’d be tough to be a full go. Even if I was I’d probably ease into it.”

Reimold has played in just 56 games since the start of the 2012 and suffered the neck injury diving into the left-field stands for a ball at the White Sox U.S. Cellular Field last April.  Originally called a herniated disk, Reimold –the team’s hottest hitter at the time– played through that injury before it was discovered that he needed spinal fusion surgery, which is the procedure NFL quarterback Peyton Manning had.  After being cleared in January, Reimold worked hard to be back for Spring Training and made the team’s Opening Day roster. With his right side overcompensating for lingering weakness on the left, Reimold was placed on the disabled list May 18 — retroactive to May 12– with a right hamstring strain that nagged him throughout camp. Though he was activated earlier this month, he never looked quite right.

“There’s a 95 percent success rate,” Reimold said of his surgery. “I couldn’t tell you what happened with mine. I saw the X-rays and it looked like It was fused, but it can’t be fused and then become unfused. That’s not the way it works.

Mine showed signs that it was fusing, it just apparently wasn’t fusing and when I started putting stress on it something happened.”

“I could tell the last couple games something just wasn’t firing,” manager Buck Showalter said Friday of Reimold, who hit for a .195/.250/.336 slash line in 40 games this season. “It’s kind of sad in a way, but you want to get it right. First of all, you just want to get his daily day-to-day activities and just living his life right. And the baseball part of it, I’m told, should come.”

Reimold said he never had any neck pain this season, just some discomfort which he chalked up to a normal part of the recovery process. His greater concern, which prompted the tests, was that his arm strength was still lagging behind.

“It’s very frustrating,” Reimold said of the whole process. “The injury was pretty tough to swallow and when you think you’re better and going to get over the hump, and you find out you weren’t better you were just playing without it healed the whole way. And now I have to do this because of it, it’s pretty frustrating. “

So, too, are the whispers of Reimold –who hasn’t played more than 87 big league games in a season since his rookie year in 2009– being injury-prone.

“This isn’t a new injury, I didn’t injure my neck again,” he said. “This was out of the blue, this was unexpected. I had a lot of improvement with my arm and everything, it just wasn’t getting over the hump, so I wanted to get it checked out. And that’s when they found this.

I definitely was not right. The back of my shoulder and my upper arm healed fine, I was just, I did it because I wanted to find out if there was a way to get my forearm, bicep over the hump of the weakness that I was still feeling. It was getting a little bit worse, that’s why I wanted to get it checked out.  It was a big surprise. I was pretty shocked when I talked to the doctor on the phone and he told me what he saw.”

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