August 2013

Os reinstate Roberts

As expected, the Orioles reinstated second baseman Brian Roberts prior to Tuesday’s game against the Padres.

Danny Valencia was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a spot on the active roster for Roberts, who was on the paternity leave list over the weekend. The 35-year-old second baseman is batting .245/.283/.357 in 30 games for the Orioles and his wife Diana had their first child, a son, Jax, on Friday.

Valencia has hit .216/.256/.500 (16-for-74) with five homers and 10 RBI in 25 games for the Orioles.

Once unlikely hero, McLouth a spark for O’s

Free agent Nate McLouth was getting in an offseason workout in early December when his phone rang.

“Nate,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who hadn’t spoken to the outfielder much since Baltimore’s season ended in the American League Division Series, “we’re getting ready to sign another outfielder. Are you in or are you out?”

McLouth, who hit .268/.342/.435 in 2012 for Baltimore after being promoted from Triple-A, was in. The former All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, who signed a Minor League deal after being released by Pittsburgh last May, had wanted to come back to the Orioles. But the team’s checklist at the Winter Meetings included going home with another outfielder, and while executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had McLouth as the O’s top choice, the club wasn’t waiting around.

Enter Showalter.

“Sometimes those type of phone calls are used as maybe a scare tactic,” McLouth said. “But I didn’t get that. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. It was a very genuine conversation, and I appreciated it.”

McLouth hung up and called his agent, and the Orioles got their man, signing McLouth to a one-year, $2 million deal before leaving the Meetings. The signing barely registered a blip on baseball’s radar as Orioles fans clamored for the club — fresh off its first postseason appearance in 15 years — to make a splash on the free-agent market.

But Baltimore’s big move was re-signing McLouth, and the smaller deal has had a serious effect on every facet of the Orioles’ game. McLouth has taken over the everyday job in left field, and he has undergone a renaissance in Baltimore, eclipsing a career high in stolen bases by June and providing a spark as the team’s primary leadoff hitter, with a .283/.350/.420 line in 100 games, including his first career grand slam on Friday.

To read the rest of the story on Orioles.com, click here.

No violations for Valencia

Danny Valencia, whose name was reportedly listed among those at the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic, was not a part of Monday’s mass suspensions and has been cleared by Major League Baseball in a league press release.

MLB’s investigation, which announced 12 new 50-game suspensions for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, found no violations by Valencia –who has maintained his innocence throughout the process– or Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

Valencia spoke about the issue publicly just once, when he arrived at Spring Training.

“Basically, I’ve never had any contact with those people,” Valencia said this February. “I’ve never met Tony Bosch, never seen him, never been to that clinic, never heard of that clinic until the New Times story first broke. That being said, I’ve never ever taken a PED in my life, never failed a drug test in my life and I never will.”

Valencia said he was “absolutely shocked” to see his name linked to the no-defunct lab and he called Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to tell him that the report was false.

“I was really upset,” Valencia said. “I was trying to think of how this can possibly be. . . . All I know is my name was on a piece of paper.”

Orioles @ Mariners lineups and pregame notes

*The Orioles have recalled Danny Valencia from Triple- A Norfolk, taking the roster spot of pitcher Steve Johnson, who was optioned after last  night’s game.  Johnson will be part of Norfolk’s rotation according to manager Buck Showalter.

*Wilson Betemit will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday, serving at designated hitter for the Orioles’ Gulf Coast League club. He could rejoin the club at some point this month.

*Brian Roberts remains on paternity leave and he is expected to fly with the team to the West Coast on Monday.

*Miguel Gonzalez will be in the bullpen today –it’s his regular side session day– and he’s on track to start Wednesday’s game in San Diego. Bud Norris will pitch Tuesday’s series opener.

MARINERS LINEUP
Brad Miller 2B
Kyle Seager 3B
Kendrys Morales DH
Michael Morse RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS
Henry Blanco C

Joe Saunders LHP

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

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

Orioles vs. Mariners game 2

Derek on the blog today for Brittany. We’ve got a few notes to get to as I look out over the tarp-covered and rain-soaked Camden Yards infield. It’s not raining at the moment, for what that’s worth.

*Brian Roberts’ wife gave birth last night to the couple’s first child, Jax Isaac. Roberts, who was placed on the paternity list yesterday to be with his wife, will not be with the team Saturday and could possibly miss Sunday, too. Manager Buck Showalter said he expects Roberts to be on the team plane to San Diego when the team leaves for the west coast road trip.

*Jason Hammel received good news on his MRI from yesterday: no structural damage, just inflammation around the ulnar nerve. He said he’ll take 2-3 days off from throwing and continue taking anti-inflammatories.  He plans to travel with the team on its west coast road trip and said he should be on target to return when he’s eligible, August 13.

*JJ Hardy is not in the starting lineup Saturday for the first time this season. It’s just a day off for the shortstop, who didn’t get the All-Star break off. He says he’s not 100 percent but added that nobody is this time of season and could have started if he was needed. He said he’ll use the day to recharge for the stretch drive.

And here are the lineups:
Baltimore Orioles
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
Henry Urrutia DH
Ryan Flaherty SS
Alexi Casilla 2B

Scott Feldman P

Seattle Mariners
Brad Miller SS
Nick Franklin 2B
Kyle Seager 3B
Kendrys Morales DH
Raul Ibanez LF
Michael Morse RF
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders CF
Humberto Quintero C

Erasmo Ramirez P

Orioles vs. Mariners game 1

Hey Orioles fans, Derek on the blog today for Brittany. We’ve got a few news updates before game 1 of the three-game set with Seattle is scheduled to begin in roughly 2 hours. I’ve also got the lineups and some news non-Orioles-baseball-related at the end of today’s post.

*Jason Hammel (right flexor mass tightness) got an MRI this morning, but the team was still waiting to hear back on results. Dr. John Wilckens will evaluate the MRI and they’ll decide what to do next.

*Brian Roberts’ wife is at the hospital and is expected to give birth to the couple’s first child soon. The second baseman was with his wife at the hospital today. Manager Buck Showalter said it’s not impossible to think Roberts, but of course it may be a waiting game at this point. Ryan Flaherty is penciled into the lineup batting ninth and playing second.

*Bud Norris, who made his Orioles debut yesterday, will likely travel to Houston on Sunday to close out personal things in his old town before joining the team on the road in San Diego. He’ll either take his work day Saturday or Sunday, and the team is waiting on that and a few other factors before deciding its pitching rotation next week.

*Hunter Harvey, the Orioles top selection in this year’s First-Year Player Draft, pitched three no-hit scoreless innings for the Gulf Coast League Orioles yesterday. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one.

And here are the lineups:

Baltimore Orioles
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
JJ Hardy SS
Henry Urrutia DH
Ryan Flaherty 2B

Chris Tillman P

Seattle Mariners
Brad Miller SS
Nick Franklin 2B
Kyle Seager 3B
Kendrys Morales DH
Raul Ibanez LF
Michael Morse RF
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders CF
Humberto Quintero C

Aaron Harang P

As promised, here’s a little non-Orioles note:

My internship is winding to a close and I’m taking a new job beginning August 15. It’s been a blast covering the Orioles and I wanted to thank anyone who has read Brittany and me this season. The reason I’m letting you know is because my Twitter account will soon shift from references of TYM and Simply, to sports figures from a colder climate. I’m still a baseball guy at heart, so if you’d like to keep following me, by all means feel free. But if you’re following me for Orioles updates, you’re probably better off relying on @Britt_Ghiroli. She’s kind of good at what she does. Thanks for humoring me this season, readers. It’s been a treat.

Orioles vs. Astros lineups & pregame notes; Norris debut

*The big news of the day was around Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who  found out this afternoon that recent comment he had made –thinking they were off-the-record– about the ongoing Biogenesis investigation were published in USA Today.  Showalter said earlier this week if baseball’s commissioner Bud Selig suspends Alex Rodriguez, it’s not fair that the Yankees would benefit financially from the salary relief.

“If Bud lets them get away with that, they’re under the luxury tax,” the newspaper quoted Showalter saying. “If they can reset, they can spend again, and I guarantee you in two years [Orioles catcher] Matt Wieters is in New York.”

Showalter spoke with Wieters on Thursday and explained that the comment boils down to the fact that the Orioles organization would like to keep Wieters in Baltimore for the long haul.

“It wasn’t meant for public consumption,” Showalter said of the printed comments. “You guys know, we sit around and talk all the time about baseball issues because we all kind of love our game. We look at things and talk about it. Unfortunately, somebody decided to put it out there publicly. I said it and someone decided to print it. So, it’s unfortunate.  What are you going to do ?”

Wieters didn’t seem bothered by the comment and said, “Buck’s got his way of thinking about things and being able to get across his point of view. I’m happy to be here right now and I am not thinking any at all about where I’m going to be playing in two years.”

Rodriguez is the most high-profile player under investigation in the ongoing scandal, and New York signed the three-time MVP to a new 10-year, $275 million deal –including another $30 million in bonuses—after the 2007 season.  There are reports that MLB will have more news regarding suspensions on Friday.

“I have a lot of confidence in our leadership and baseball. There are finally some things in place where they can do the things they are going to do,” Showalter said. “I can tell you that locker room, our locker room and I think most locker rooms –I can’t speak for other ones, but I think it’s the case—the common denominator is they welcome this.”

I know talking to our players, it’s not like they are ready for it to be over. They are ready because it kind of soils all of them in their mind.”

*Jason Hammel, placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to yesterday’s game right forearm tightness,  will have an MRI tomorrow morning.

*Wilson Betemit, who has been sidelined since Spring Training, will start his rehab assignment Aug. 6 with the team’s Gulf Coast League club,

*Steve Johnson (left oblique strain) will start for Double-A Bowie on Saturday.

*The Orioles have the launched the O’s Birds Nest rewards program, a new interactive fan-engagement program.  Through the free program, fans can earn points and have the opportunity to win unique prizes by supporting and utilizing the club’s digital programs and platforms, and by interacting on the club’s official website at http://www.orioles.com and on the Orioles official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Fans may enroll in the O’s Birds Nest by creating a profile on http://www.osbirdsnest.com or by logging in with their MLB.com account information.  Once a member of the O’s Birds Nest, fans can connect to the club’s official social media outlets to begin earning points.

Other point-scoring opportunities include the purchase of Orioles single-game tickets or merchandise on http://www.orioles.com, checking in at games through MLB.com’s At The Ballpark app, visiting pages on the team’s website, and more.

Points earned can be redeemed for virtual tokens used to enter Orioles sweepstakes held throughout the remainder of the season. Prizes include an opportunity for a VIP on-field experience, a mention from the Orioles official Twitter account (@Orioles), a 2013 team autographed baseball and 2014 Opening Day tickets.

*The Ripken Family and Ripken Baseball have announced a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the man who abducted Vi Ripken from her home a year ago. The announcement was made at a press conference Cal Ripken held at the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore in partnership with the Aberdeen Police Department and the Baltimore Division of the FBI.

On the morning of July 24, 2012, Vi Ripken was abducted at gunpoint from her home in Aberdeen, Md.  She was held captive for 24 hours and driven by the abductor across state lines in her vehicle before being returned to her home early the following morning.  Despite eyewitness sightings of the subject as well as video surveillance, no arrests have been made in the case.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call either America’s Most Wanted hotline at 1-800-Crime-TV or the FBI at 410-265-8080. The decision to pay a reward based on information received and the amount of that award shall be within the sole discretion of Ripken Baseball and the Ripken family.

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

Bud Norris RHP

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