August 2013

Orioles @ Yankees lineups and pregame notes

*New Oriole Michael Morse arrived from Houston this morning and he is available off the bench. Morse got to the team hotel at 3:30 a.m. and said he’s excited to join a team in postseason contention. To clear a roster spot, Steve Pearce is going back on the disabled list as he continues to deal with a nagging left wrist injury. Pearce, who hopes to come back before the season ends, will head to the team’s spring facility in Sarasota, Fla. and called the injury beyond frustrating.

*Wei-Yin Chen was back in the clubhouse today from Sarasota, Fla. and is expected to start tomorrow’s series finale.

*The Orioles will call up at least one play for tomorrow’s September roster expansion, according to Showalter. It’s expected to come in waves, with more guys coming up from Triple-A when the team goes to Cleveland.

Here are your lineups..

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

Scott Feldman RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Curtis Granderson LF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

Ivan Nova RHP

More on Morse (with quotes)

Needing a boost for the stretch run, the Orioles — who had been aggressively pursuing another bat — acquired Michael Morse from the Mariners in a waiver trade on Friday afternoon that sent outfielder Xavier Avery to Seattle.

“We just need a little bit more punch in our lineup, and hopefully, Mike will be able to add that to the team,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of the right-handed bat of Morse, who is expected to fill Baltimore’s designated-hitter role. “He’s had some good offensive numbers over the course of his career. He’s a big, physical guy who is athletic and has experience in the postseason.”

The O’s, who are fresh off Thursday’s win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park, are hoping Morse can rebound from a disappointing campaign. The 31-year-old started the season well in his return to the Mariners — the team he debuted with in 2005 — but a broken finger and a strained hamstring set him off track. In just 76 games for Seattle, Morse posted a .226/.283/.410 slash line, including 13 homers.

“He’s a professional hitter with some pedigree of success,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Morse, who the organization has had interest in for a while and won the waiver claim on him on Wednesday.

“He presents options for us…It seems like every left-hander alive and breathing is going to come out of the woodwork [to face the Orioles]. He can help us with that some.”

“It was kind of the last piece so to speak for us,” first baseman Chris Davis said of Morse,  who Showalter said could fill in for Davis or in the corner outfield spots. “I’m glad we got him, it’s big for us. I think runs are going to be at a premium down the stretch and anytime you can add a power right handed bat, it’s going to be good for us. We have a lot of left-handed bats, a lot of guys that switch-hit but having a guy that can do some damage from the right side, is going to be huge for us.”

A member of the Nationals last season, Morse batted .302 with six homers in September before going 5-for-19 with a homer in the postseason. He spent four years in Washington (2009-12) after four up-and-down seasons with the Mariners, and posted a career highs 31 homers and 95 RBIs in ’11.

“He’s a big impact in the lineup,” Nats manager Davey Johnson said Thursday upon hearing the news. “Huge at Camden Yards, I shudder to think. That ballpark’s made for him. He’s a right-center hitter, and that’s the jet stream. He’s a good fit there.”

Morse, who will wear No. 38 with new club, was in Houston with the Mariners and he has to be added to the Orioles roster at some point on Saturday. Given that the O’s are playing an afternoon contest, Showalter wasn’t sure if Morse would be an available player or not by then.

Baltimore also won the waiver claim on Minnesota’sJosh Willingham, but the two clubs were unable to swing a deal. The Orioles were also heavily rumored as the club that wanted Kendrys Morales, whom the Mariners pulled back off waivers. But Seattle needed a roster spot for Friday night’s debut of young starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, and it came together quickly after the speedy Avery was named as the player in exchange for Morse.

“It’s a tribute to our scouting and player development that we developed a player to the point that we could get Michael back for him,” Showalter said of the 23-year-old Avery, who was ranked No. 10 on MLB.com’s Top 20 Prospects for the O’s. “It’s a good spot for him. I’m happy for Xavier. He’s really come on here at the end and he did well in Double-A this year. I’m sure they saw him good the last couple of weeks. He fits them good.”

Avery has 29 steals with 70 runs scored in 120 Minor League games this season, split between Double-A and Triple-A.

Orioles @ Yankees lineups and pregame notes (updated)

Greetings from Yankee Stadium, where the Orioles are fresh off a sweep-avoiding win at Fenway Park that gave right-hander Chris Tillman his 15th victory of the season.

*The big news today was the Orioles acquired Michael Morse for Xavier Avery in a waiver claim trade with the Mariners. Morse, who will fill the roll of right-handed DH, isn’t expected to be here before tonight’s game. but he has to be added to the roster at some point tomorrow. The team is hoping he gets here and can be activated before Saturday afternoon’s game. You can read more on that move here.

*Jason Hammel made his first rehab start last night at Double-A Bowie, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings and you can read more on his debut with Bowie here. Hammel will throw for short-season Aberdeen on Tuesday and he will join the team in New York first to throw a bullpen session for pitching coach Billy Castro. He will be activated either Sept. 7 or 8.

*Ryan Flaherty, who was optioned on Tuesday to clear a roster spot for Wilson Betemit, has been transferred to Frederick from Class-A Delmarva. Flaherty is expected back with the team when Frederick’s season ends this Tuesday.

*Wei-Yin Chen, who was optioned to the Gulf Coast League for Kevin Gausman on Wednesday, will rejoin the team tomorrow and will be added to the roster with Sunday’s callups and start the series finale here in New York.

Here are your lineups as the O’s start the second part of a three-city road trip…

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

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Curtis Granderson DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Austin Romine C

CC Sabathia LHP

Orioles acquire Morse for Avery

Needing a boost for the stretch run, the Orioles –who had been aggressively pursuing another bat– acquired Michael Morse from the Mariners in a waiver claim trade on Friday afternoon that sent outfielder Xavier Avery to Seattle.

“We just need a little bit more punch in our lineup and hopefully mike will be able to add that to the team,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Morse, who is expected to fill Baltimore’s designated hitter role.  “He’s had some good offensive numbers over the course of his career. He’s a big, physical guy whose athletic and has experience in the postseason.”

The O’s, who are fresh off Thursday’s sweep avoiding win at Fenway Park, are hoping Morse can rebound from a disappointing season.  The 31-year-old Morse started the season well in his return to the Mariners — the team he debuted with in 2005– but a broken finger and a strained hamstring set him off track. In just 76 games for Seattle, Morse posted a .226/.283/.410 slash line including 13 homers.

While with the Nationals last year, Morse batted .302 with six homers in September before going 5-for-19 with a homer in the postseason. He spent four years in Washington (2009-12) after four up-and-down seasons with the Mariners, and had career highs of 31 homers and 95 RBIs in ’11.

“He was hot earlier this season,” Duquette said of Morse, who will wear No. 38 with his new club. “Hopefully, he’ll be able to get back to that.”

The Orioles also won the waiver claim on Minnesota’s Josh Willingham but were unable to swing a deal and they were heavily rumored as the club who wanted Kendrys Morales, who Seattle pulled back off waivers. Seattle needed a a roster spot for Friday night’s debut of young starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, and will get the speedy Avery in exchange for Morse. Avery, 23, was ranked No. 10 on MLB.com’s Top 20 Prospects for the Orioles and has 29 steals with 70 runs scored in 120 Minor League games, split between Double-A and Triple-A.

Morse is expected to join the Orioles in New York, with his availability for Friday’s series opener against the Yankees uncertain. The Orioles aren’t expected to make any more external moves before September callups on Sunday.

Orioles @ Red Sox lineups and pregame notes

Not much new today as the Orioles try to avoid a three-game sweep in Boston..

*Jason Hammel will make his first rehab start for Double-A Bowie tonight and he will likely need at least one more unless the O’s have an injury situation up here. Wei-Yin Chen, who was optioned yesterday, threw a bullpen as scheduled in Sarasota, Fla.

*Tonight’s game is on MLB Network and Showalter mentioned that it seems people  in the media are already counting his club out out of the postseason. That’s fine by him.

“I like that people are counting us out,” he said. “Thirty games is an eternity.”

So, it’s pretty clear Showalter likes his guys.

“What’s not to like about them?” he said. “I’ve been with them for a while. I know them. I know what they’re made of. Just go ahead and count them out. It’s all right. These guys have got a lot of piss and vinegar in their blood.”
ORIOLES LINEUP
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Danny Valencia DH
Brian Roberts 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Daniel Nava 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B

Jon Lester LHP

More waiver wire fun

The Orioles are aggressively trying to add a hitter, with multiple waivers claims out and at least two that could potentially help bolster the club’s lineup down the stretch. Baltimore was awarded the claim on Seattle’s Mike Morse and Minnesota’s Josh Willingham and is negotiating with those two clubs in hopes of working out a respective deal.

It’s unknown if they would be willing to add both Willingham and Morse, although they have until Friday at noon to work that out and both guys come with injury history and some suspect defense. Morse, whose claiming was first reported by CBSSports.com, started the season off with a bang but has been derailed by injuries, first his thumb and then his hamstring posting a .226/.283/.410 line with 13 homers over 76 games.

Willingham, after winning the Silver Slugger Award last year, has battled through a knee injury and hit .212/.343/.386 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 89 games. He missed 33 games after having arthroscopic knee surgery in early July.

The Orioles –who have lost the series to the Red Sox and dropped their eighth consecutive one-run game on Wednesday night– have gotten poor production all year out of the designated hitter spot and the organization has been proactive in trying to bolster that on the waiver wire.  Multiple claims allows them some flexibility in negotiations, although both Willingham and Morse’s stocks have dropped significantly and figure to command a relatively low asking price.

Willingham is also owed $7 million for next season while Morse, who the Orioles have had previous in in previous winters, is a free agent.  Both clubs have the right to pull back the player and not trade him if they don’t like the deal –which Seattle has already reportedly done with Kendrys Morales—although that means they’re on the hook for him the rest of the year.

Os claim Willingham from Twins, trying to work out deal

Josh Willingham was claimed on waivers by the Orioles late Wednesday night and the two clubs are trying to work out a deal, a source confirmed to MLB.com.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan would not comment on Willingham given the confidentiality of the waiver process.

Willingham was placed on waivers Monday, and the Twins have until noon Friday to work out a deal with the Orioles or pull him back off waivers. If the Twins pull Willingham off waivers, they can’t trade him this season.

The Twins could also let the Orioles take Willingham and the rest of his contract, but that scenario is not likely, as the Twins would want something in return. The 34-year-old is due roughly $1.25 million the rest of this year and $7 million next year.

A trade could make sense for both teams, as the Orioles are on the lookout for a right-handed power bat and remain in the thick of the American League Wild Card race. The Twins are on the lookout for pitching but would most likely have to eat some of Willingham’s salary to get a good return.

After winning the Silver Slugger Award last year, when he hit .260/.366/.524 with 35 homers and 110 RBIs in a career-high 145 games, Willingham has battled through a knee injury and has mostly struggled this season. He has hit .212/.343/.386 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 89 games and missed 33 games after having arthroscopic knee surgery in early July.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune was the first to report Willingham was claimed on waivers by an unknown team Wednesday, with the Baltimore Sun naming the Orioles as the club.

-Rhett Bollinger and Brittany Ghiroli

Orioles @ Red Sox lineups and pregame notes

*As expected Wei-Yin Chen has been optioned to the Gulf Coast League to clear a roster spot for Kevin Gausman in the bullpen. Chen has no Minor League service time so he’d be eligible to come back up when their season ends and start on Sunday vs. Phil Hughes.  If Chen had gone to Double-A or Triple-A he would have had to wait until their season ends to be eligible as a September callup, and both of those clubs are in postseason contention.

The first two games of the series will go as follows:  Friday: Miguel Gonzalez vs. CC Sabathi. Saturday: Scott Feldman vs. Ivan Nova

Gausman, who is still viewed by the organization as a starter long-term, will be available in long relief tonight and is expected to work out of the bullpen for the rest of the season.

*Wilson Betemit, added to the roster yesterday, will make his first start tonight.

*In case you missed it, I wrote after last night’s loss that the Orioles pitching will be key to their postseason hopes. You can read that here.

Here are your lineups…

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

Bud Norris RHP

RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Daniel Nava LF
Mike Napoli 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Xander Bogaerts 3B

John Lackey RHP

Orioles @ Red Sox – Betemit activated (Flaherty optioned)

Greetings from Fenway Park, where the Orioles will take on the Red Sox for a three-game series to kick off a three-city road trip with stops in New York and Cleveland.

*Wilson Betemit has been activated and will be available off the bench. Betemit suffered a gruesome right knee injury in Spring Training and hasn’t played yet this year. With the  Red Sox sending lefty Felix Doubront to the mound –and both Danny Valencia and Steve Pearce starting–the club opted to option second baseman Ryan Flaherty to Delmarva

Why Delmarva? The Orioles can’t bring back Flaherty as a September callup unless he’s at an affiliate that’s done playing, so the Keys –as opposed to their Double-A and Triple-A teams- makes the  most sense. The O’s couldn’t send him to the Gulf Coast League –which ends Thursday– because Flaherty has too much Minor League service time. So, barring an injury, this was the move that gets Flaherty back with Baltimore the quickest with Delmarva’s season ending on Monday.

The Orioles are also planning on adding Kevin Gausman and having him help the bullpen, and they could send tonight’s starter, Wei-Yin Chen, out after tonight’s game to the GCL to get him back quickly. Chen has no Minor League service time so he’d be eligible to come back up quickly as well, and probably not miss a start.

*Miguel Gonzalez is available in the bullpen tonight and is still on track to start Friday in New York.

*The Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Tuesday afternoon and the Orioles will send pitching prospects Eduardo Rodriguez, Branden Kline, Jason Gurka and Tim Berry, along with catcher Michael Ohlman, infielder Jonathan Schoop and outfielders Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia.

All are on the Surprise Saguaros, which will be managed by Double-A Bowie’s Gary Kendall. Alan Mills, short-season Aberdeen’s pitching coach, will serve the same role for the Saguaros.

*In case you missed it, I wrote last night about the newest member of the Orioles rotation, Bud Norris, and the competitive fire he brings to Baltimore. You can read more on that here.

ORIOLES LINEUP

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

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Jonny Gomes LF
Mike Napoli 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
stephen Drew SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B

Felix Doubront LHP

Police deem bomb threat at OPACY unfounded

A bomb threat call at Oriole Park Camden Yards Monday night was determined to be unfounded after a search of the stadium that lasted until shortly before 11 p.m. ET.

The initial 911 call came around 9 p.m. ET and reported a bomb inside the stadium, with officers from the South District of the Baltimore Police Department and Special Operations section working in conjunction with the Maryland Stadium Authority to search the scene.

The incident was deemed groundless shortly thereafter.

There was no game scheduled at Camden Yards Monday with the Orioles in Boston for an off day in advance of a three-game series that starts Tuesday against the Red Sox.

The team was not expected to release any statements on Monday regarding the incident.

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