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Jimenez on going to the bullpen

CHICAGO— A day after he received word of his demotion to the bullpen, Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez said he’d try to make the best of the situation.

“They are doing whatever is best for the team,” said Jimenez, who met with manager Buck Showalter, pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti on Tuesday afternoon. “The guys have been pitching really good in the rotation and definitely we all want to do the same thing and that’s making the playoffs and putting the team in the best position.”

Jimenez, who last allowed six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings, hasn’t been able to do that for the Orioles this season. Signed to a four-year, $50-million deal —the largest for a free agent pitcher in franchise history— the righty has struggled with inconsistency. Jimenez leads the American League in walks, despite missing a month with an ankle injury, and is 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA.

“It’s been a tough one,” Jimenez said of his 2014 season. ?But it’s part of baseball. Baseball is hard. There is nothing easy about it. You have to find a way to keep going and be ready for whenever the team needs me.”


When that could be is anyone’s guess. The Orioles, who will have Miguel Gonzalez take Jimenez’s spot in the rotation, have one of the best bullpens in baseball and fitting in the struggling righty—who has made one career relief appearance— won’t be easy.

“It’s my understanding that there probably won’t be a lot of opportunities, so I have to do anything possible to get ready, like probably when I play catch, after the games to throw a little bit to the catchers so I can be ready,” Jimenez said.

“Hopefully whenever there’s a chance I have to try to do my best. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re all here, to help the team make the playoffs.”

The news wasn’t a total shock, with Jimenez fielding questions from the media about it on several occasions. And while the bullpen is relatively foreign to him, Jimenez said he will have to find a way to make it work for the time being

“It’s a little bit disappointing, it’s a little bit hard, but like I say, we’re all here for the same thing and that’s hopefully getting us into the World Series,” Jimenez said. “This is no time to be selfish or to be putting your head down, like this is the end of the world. You have to keep going for the team.”

Orioles @ White Sox Game 3 lineups

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Delmon Young DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis 3B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Nick Hundley C

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

WHITE SOX LINEUP

Alexei Ramirez SS
Alejandro De Aza CF
Jose Abreu DH
Avisail Garcia RF
Dayan Viciedo LF
Paul Konerko 1B
Conor Gillaspie 3B
Adrian Nieto C
Leury Garcia 2B

Hector Noesi RHP

Jimenez to the bullpen

CHICAGO—The Orioles have moved struggling starter Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen, manager Buck Showalter announced on Tuesday.

Signed to a four-year, $50 million deal this winter —the largest contact in club history for a free-agent pitcher— Jimenez has dealt with injury and ineffectiveness and gave up six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings this weekend in Cleveland. After that game, Showalter wouldn’t commit to whether Jimenez —4-9 with a 4.83 ERA— would get a chance to redeem himself, though this move seemed likely.

Particularly with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who will start Sunday, waiting in the wings.

“You got your reasons, he doesn’t have to agree with them,” Showater said of Jimenez, who he spoke to on Tuesday afternoon along with pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti. “He’s been a great teammate, a professional. Has got a good heart. He wants to do well. It’s not like he’s pitched poorly all year, it’s just with 39 games left, just see how Gonzo does.

Gonzalez, who was optioned to the Minor Leagues to clear a roster spot for Jimenez, has pitched to a 3.80 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) and threw a simulated game Monday to stay on track. The move won’t be immediate with Jimenez taking his work day on Tuesday, but Showalter planned on having the right-hander available after that.

“After today [Jimenez] will probably be available in the bullpen,” Showalter said. “We will see where it takes us moving forward where the need might be. if somebody needs an extra day or something…that target is trying to get though to [roster expansion] September 1. So, we got about less than two weeks.”

How Jimenez is used in the Orioles bullpen depends on how they clear a roster spot for Gonzalez on Sunday. If the team plays with a short bench, it’d be tough to see Jimenez getting a lot of outs, although if the O’s option a pitcher he would presumably take their place.

Jimenez has made just one career relief appearance, going one scoreless inning on September 26, 2006. How will he fare in a relief role?

“I don’t think anybody can sit here and answer that,” Showalter said. “I know he will embrace that as the need of the club it is. A lot of it depends on if we go with 13 pitchers or 12. How that all works out. He’s healthy, feels good, one of the reasons why we looked at he was one of the few guys that health wasn’t going to be -knock on wood- a factor.

“Hopefully we can get him back to where he was last year. It’s going to be tough because he’s not going to sit there and take a lot of work days because it’s a very valuable job he’s going to have to do some now and then.”

Orioles @ White Sox Game 2

Greetings from the Chicago, where the Orioles will go for the series win tonight.

The O’s are fresh off last night’s 8-2 win –which featured a fantastic catch by Nick Markakis– and currently have their best single-season road winning percentage since 1997. They are 37-26 and have a .587 winning percentage.

WHITE SOX LINEUP

Alejandro De Aza LF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Bobby Abreu 1B
Adam Dunn DH
Avisail Garcia RF
Conor Gillaspie 3B
Tyler Flowers C
Jordan Danks CF
Gordon Beckham 2B

Jose Quintana LHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Delmon Young LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis 3B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Nick Hundley C

Chris Tillman RHP

Orioles @ White Sox lineups and pregame notes

Greetings from Chicago, where the Orioles will kick off a week-long stay that includes an off day on Thursday and series against the White Sox and Cubs.

The Orioles rotation for this three-game White Sox set is Bud Norris, Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen and Chicago will counter with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Noesi.

The Orioles have the best record in baseball since June 30 and are 28-13 with a 2.96 ERA over that stretch.

Chicago native T.J. McFarland, who had a small cheering section here last year, said he doesn’t expect as many friends and family this series and estimated he’d have about 10 for tonight’s game.

Here are your lineups, with Chris Davis at third base again and both Steve Pearce and Delmon Young in the lineup…

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Steve Pearce 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Delmon Young DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Bud Norris RHP

WHITE SOX LINEUP
Alejandro De Aza LF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Jose Abreu 1B
Adam Dunn DH
Avisail Garcia RF
Conor Gillaspie 3B
Tyler Flowers C
Jordan Danks CF
Gordon Beckham 2B

Chris Sale LHP

Fans can guarantee 2014 postseason tickets with a 2015 deposit

Per a club release…

The Orioles today announced that the club is accepting deposits on 2015 season ticket plans, and that fans placing a deposit will receive access to 2014 Postseason tickets. Fans who place a non-refundable $250 (for 13-game plans), $500 (for 29-game plans), or $1,000 (for full season plans) per seat deposit on a 2015 Season Ticket Plan will be guaranteed the opportunity to purchase 2014 Orioles Postseason tickets before the general public. The deposit must be placed by Monday, September 15 at 11:59 p.m.

Fans who place a $500 or $1,000 per seat deposit will be assigned a personal account representative to assist in the 2014 Postseason and 2015 Season Plan purchase process. Fans placing the $1,000 per seat deposit will also receive the largest savings on and priority access to 2014 Postseason tickets, as well as first choice of available 2015 Season Ticket locations.

Fans can place a deposit by visiting http://www.orioles.com/postseason or by calling 1-888-848-BIRD. Plan type and seat location for 2015 season ticket plans will be finalized at a later date.

Access to guaranteed Postseason tickets at significant savings is just one of the benefits allotted to Orioles Season Plan Holders. Additional benefits include access to Opening Day 2015, substantial savings over the cost of single game tickets, discounted on-site parking, early ballpark entry for batting practice, MLB’s most flexible ticket exchange policy, online account management, and many other Orange Carpet Benefits outlined at http://www.orioles.com/postseason.

Current season plan holders do not need to place a deposit, as they will be invoiced for 2014 Postseason tickets and will also receive an offer to purchase additional tickets prior to the general public.

Chen to start Wednesday, Gonzalez expected in Chicago

While the Orioles remain mum on the future of right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez in the rotation, the club is expected to recall Miguel Gonzalez from the Minor Leagues at some point this weekend in Chicago.

Gonzalez, who was optioned to clear a roster spot for Jimenez to return from the disabled list, will throw a simulated game for Double-A Bowie on Monday that will be around 75 pitches.

[That will] set him up for coming back to us and pitching out of the ‘pen if needed or as a starter if needed,” manager Buck Showalter said of Gonzalez, who he made a priority to speak to on Sunday morning to discuss the plans for the next week.

“We would like for him to pitch Monday so we have Saturday and Sunday as an option with him…I didn’t want him to sit around that long of a period of time and not have an elongated outing. He’s real good at that, too. some guys aren’t good at sim games. He’s real good at getting something out of it.”

Gonzalez, who could be added as early as Tuesday, was originally thought to be a candidate for Wednesday’s start against the White Sox but Showalter said Wei-Yin Chen will stay on turn to start that game. Kevin Gausman, who is pitching Sunday’s series finale in Cleveland, figures to start one of the games at Wrigley Field later this week with the rest of the rotation still TBD.

Jimenez, who would be in line to start one of those games following Thursday’s off day, could be skipped or moved to the bullpen. Showalter reiterated on Sunday that he did not want to specify the plans for Jimenez –who allowed six runs over 4 1/3 innings in Saturday’s loss– and it’s also possible the right-hander gets another chance.

“I’m kind of decided but I’m not going to [say],” Showalter said of Jimenez’s next step. “We’ll see. we’ll see how the next few days ago.”

“His work day is the day after tomorrow. So, see how he is when we get there.”

The Orioles will have to clear a roster spot to add Gonzalez, with the team playing in a National League Park against the Cubs over the weekend making it easier to play with a shorter bench.

Orioles @ Indians Game 3

Greetings from Progressive Field, where the Orioles will try to avoid being swept for the first time since May 12-14 against the Tigers.

The big news in last night’s 6-0 series loss was the continued struggles of starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who manager Buck Showalter would not commit to giving another start to. You can read more on that here.

The Indians have recalled Danny Salazar for today’s start and optioned outfielder Tyler Holt to Triple-A To clear a roster spot.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF

Steve Pearce 1B

Adam Jones CF

Nelson Cruz DH

Delmon Young LF

J.J. Hardy SS

Chris Davis 3B

Nick Hundley C

Jonathan Schoop 2B

Kevin Gausman RHP

INDIANS LINEUP
Michael Bourn CF
Jose Ramirez SS
Michael Brantley LF
Carlos Santana 1B
Jason Kipnis 2B
Yan Gomes C
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
Zach Walters DH
Chris Dickerson RF

Danny Salazar RHP

Orioles @ Indians Game 2

Greetings from Progressive Field, where the O’s will take on the Tribe for Game 2. The big news last night in the O’s 11-inning, 2-1 loss was the eighth inning play involving Adam Jones and manager Buck Showalter was more than happy to discuss it again this afternoon. You can read the specific details of that here, and Showalter reiterated that he felt Jones should have reached first base on a hit-by-pitch.

Asked if he felt like there would be any carryover between Jones –who was about as mad as I’ve ever seen him last night– and umpire Ron Kulpa, who signaled that Jones offered at the pitch in question, Showalter said he hoped not.

“I would hope there’s enough challenges with the game itself, not only us as a team and manager and players, but as much of a challenge umpiring,” Showalter said.

As for Jones fingers, they seem OK. The center fielder, like most of his teammates, is pretty beat up this time of year and he wouldn’t let anything keep him out of the lineup.

“One day I’m going to document all the stuff he’s got going on,” Showalter said.
Made sure [coach Wayne] Kirby helped him walk out to center field last night [to avoid a confrontation with Kulpa]. Best managerial move I made.”

*The Orioles starters for the first two games of the White Sox series are Bud Norris and Chris Tillman with Wednesday TBD and potentially Miguel Gonzalez. Gonzalez has been in the Minors and was recently moved to Double-A Bowie. If the O’s do have Gonzalez make that start it would give Wei-Yin Chen extra rest, which he typically pitches much better with.

“We’ve got a different situation on Tuesday [the first day Gonzalez is eligible]. We’ve got three options,” Showalter said. “We can bring back Miguel and pitch him out of the bullpen,bring him back starting or leave him there. Those are the three things we have to decide.”

*Showalter moved Chris Davis back down to the fifth spot last night after Davis –who had hit second in the previous two games– went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts (three looking) last night. Davis enters tonight with a .193 batting average which ties his lowest (minimum three games) this season.

“You can’t look at your numbers too much,” Davis said. “Obviously at some point you have to sit down and be realistic and call a spade a spade. But you always get another chance. You are not going to benefit yourself or anyone else if you go back there and feel sorry for yourself. This hasn’t been the greatest year as far as I’m concerned but we’ve done a lot of positive things. We are still in first place. So I’ll go out there and continue to try to put good at-bats together and be as productive as I can.”

Davis, who has a League-leading 145 strikeouts, has looked poised to break out numerous times this season. And Showalter has kept running him out there, citing his defense and the threat of Davis regaining form at any time as primary reasons.

“Believe me, he thinks every day is the start of something special. I wouldn’t sell him short. It’s there. Sometimes it’s late. He has a couple of games where it looks like he is really going to get going and spoil us with the level he is capable of and then it kind of goes away for a little while,
Showalter said. “When you have some tough times there is something he and we try to pinpoint. He’s got a lot of people in his ear. And that could be a challenge too.

“He knows what’s at stake. He knows there’s always going to reach a point with everybody where [it’s how far do you go? But with Chris, because he defends, because he plays with great effort and he gets some walks now and then, you think about all the big hits he has had for us. So it doesn’t send a good message to throw him under the truck.”

Here are your lineups….

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
David Lough LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

INDIANS LINEUP
Michael Bourn CF
Jose Ramirez SS
Michael Brantley LF
Carlos Santana 1B
Jason Kipnis 2B
Yan Gomes C
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
Zach Walters DH
Chris Dickerson RF

Carlos Carrasco RHP

Orioles vs. Indians Game 1

Greetings from Progressive Field, where the Orioles kick off a two-city, three-series trip with stops in Cleveland and Chicago (White Sox and Cubs)/

Shortstop J.J. Hardy is back in the lineup after missing three games with a strain left thumb suffered on Saturday. Hardy, who was out early taking some batting practice and testing his thumb, said he spoke with manager Buck Showalter and is good to go. He is batting sixth.

Chris Davis is still in the second spot in Manny Machado’s absence with Ryan Flaherty playing third. Machado is with the team –along with catcher Matt Wieters– and will continue his rehab on the road.

Here are your lineups…

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Delmon Young DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

INDIANS LINEUP
Jason Kipnis 2B
Mike Aviles 3B
Michael Brantley CF
Carlos Santana 1B
Yan Gomes C
Ryan Raburn RF
Zach Walters DH
Tyler Holt LF
Jose Ramirez SS

Corey Kluber RHP

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