By Rhett Bollinger/MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. – – Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen was hit in his
right arm by a line drive from Denard Span in the first inning and had
to be lifted from Friday’s game after making just four pitches.
Span, the Twins leadoff hitter, smashed a line drive off Bergesen’s pitching arm that actually resulted in an out, as it went off Bergesen’s arm and was caught by second baseman Robert Andino.
Bergesen was then looked at by the team’s trainers and manager Buck Showalter, and the decision was made to take him out of the game.
The Orioles have yet to announce the extent of the injury but it could be a major blow to Bergesen’s chances to make the starting rotation. Bergesen, 25, has struggled in Grapefruit League play with a 5.82 ERA over 17 innings. He’s also struck out seven and walked six.
*Last night’s first homer was more important mentally for Mark Reynolds, who said his swing and mechanics feel good right now. Reynolds had a talk with hitting coach Jim Presley yesterday that helped things.
“[It was] about you know, putting aggressive swings on the ball rather than just trying to put the ball in play,” Reynolds said. “Last night, it all came together a little bit.”
“My mechanics are there, it’s just kind of from my shoulders up, struggling a little bit,” Reynolds added. “It’s tough when you are not getting results, you try to change but the results aren’t there. you just got to keep working and plugging away.”
*Koji Uehara, Rick VandenHurk and Michael Gonzalez will throw in a Minor League game at Twin Lakes Park today.
*Brian Roberts said his back has been holding up fine and he hasn’t talked to manager Buck Showalter about taking it easy to start the season. Roberts is confident he will be ready come April 1 against Tampa Bay and didn’t see the artificial turf being a problem or anything that would prevent him from playing. He put emphasis this morning on the fact that his most recent setback was more his neck than his back.
*It’s an important start today for Brad Bergesen, who could go a long way in locking up a rotation spot with a solid outing against the Twins. Bergesen is believed to have the edge over Chris Tillman at this point,but they will each get one at least more outing against Major Leaguers. Tillman will pitch in Sunday’s home game against the Red Sox.
Robert Andino 2B
Felix Pie LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters DH
Jake Fox C
Nolan Reimold RF
Brendan Harris 1B
Nick Green 3B
Cesar Izturis SS
Brad Bergesen RHP
Clay Rapada and Jim Johnson are also scheduled to pitch.
Denard Span CF
Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Delmon Young LF
Jason Kubel DH
Michael Cuddyer RF
Danny Valencia 3B
Matt Tolbert SS
Scott Baker RHP
Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, who is tentatively scheduled to pitch April 4’s home opener, got off to a rocky start with Pittsburgh’s Lyle Overbay and Neil Walker launching a pair of solo homers in the first inning.
Arrieta settled down after that –at one point retiring 14 of 15 Pirates — before becoming unglued in the top of sixth. He exited after allowing another homer to Walker and a pair of walks, falling short of the desire six-inning goal. It was Arrieta’s longest outings and one of the longest ones by the team’s starters this spring.
“I made a lot of strides,” Arrieta said. “From the second to the fifth inning, I feel like I was throwing like I was in midseason form. That’s a good sign. I just have to iron out some kinks in the first inning, I have to attack better and stay down with the ball. When the wind is blowing out like it was early in the game, you have to be down and I wasn’t down in the first, but I settled in after that.
Arrieta’s final line was 5 1/3 innings of four-run baseball on five hits (three homers) and three walks. He also struck out four. The 25-year-old Arrieta threw 54 of 91 pitches for strikes and admitted that he “got sloppy” at times, chastiting himself for not fielding Andrew McCutchen’s leadoff single to start the game.
“The sixth inning, I talked to [pitching coach Mark Connor] and he said I was getting a little sloppy on my delivery, falling off to the first base side which was causing me to cut off my pitches,” Arrieta said. “That’s just one of those things I have to self correct and try to get back on track when I feel something like that.”
Arrieta expects to get one more spring start.
*The Orioles named Jeremy Guthrie their Opening Day starter and manager Buck Showalter confirmed that the team will go with four starters when camps break. Jake Arrieta will start the home opener and Brian Matusz will pitch the second game against Tampa Bay, behind Guthrie. The last spot is really between Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen although the increasing school of thought is it will be Bergesen, particularly because he projects better out of the bullpen and the O’s will have to do some shuffling on April 21 because..
*April 21 is the date that Justin Duchscherer –who will start the season on the DL– projects to be back. It’s also the first day the team can recall top pitching prospect Zach Britton and keep him under team control for that extra year, until 2017.
*The O’s cut list includes Rule 5 Draft pick Adrian Rosario, who cleared waivers and will be returned to the Brewers. The Orioles will get back Pat Egan, who is expected in big league camp in the next day or so.
*The rest of the cuts are Chris Jakubauskas, Mike Ballard, Alberto Castillo, Chris George, Michel Hernandez and Josh Bell. The O’s will also sent out one or two more position players shortly.
*As I tweeted earlier, Orioles top pitching prospect Zach Britton will not be part of today’s cuts. Britton is not expected to make the team, but he will get another start. The most prominent name is Josh Bell, who was told he will get regular playing time as Triple-A Norfolk’s third base. Bell saw the writing on the wall when the O’s traded for Mark Reynolds this winter.
Rule 5 Draft pick Adrian Rosario was also cut today and he will be placed on waivers where any team can claim him so long as they add him to the Major League roster. Pitchers who weren’t officially in camp, such as Alberto Castillo and Chris Jakubauskas, are also expected to be sent to Minors camp.
*The Orioles continue to get some positive injury news, with Derrek Lee and Brian Roberts both in today’s lineup. Justin Duchscherer said yesterday’s bullpen session –his first in about two weeks- went really well and it was the first time in a while he was able to really let it go and land on his landing foot. Duchscherer is still targeting April 10, which is the first time the team needs a fifth starter, as his goal to return.
*Been asked a bunch about Robert Andino’s chances to make the team. They have increased given that Andino would be almost certainly lost on waivers. At least three teams have reached out to the Orioles concerning Andino, although a trade at this point seems unlikely. It’s also unlikely that the team will release Nick Green or any of their middle infielders –such as Brendan Harris — this spring. If they don’t make the team, they’re going to Triple-A Norfolk.
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Derrek Lee 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott LF
Felix Pie CF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Matt Wieters C
Jake Arrieta RHP
*Derrek Lee is feeling good and he’s in tonight’s lineup against the Twins at Fort Myers. Brian Roberts is also scheduled, although manager Buck Showalter said yesterday he would get the day off. Take that as a good sign.
*The Orioles coaching staff might this afternoon for a while to discuss the next round of cuts and Opening Day roster. We’re told there will not be any announcement in that regard today.
*Had a nice talk with Kevin Gregg about his outing yesterday at Twin Lakes Park. He said he felt like he got back to his old mechanics, after tinkering with a lean forward in some of his earlier outings.
Brian Roberts, 2B
Adam Jones, CF
Derrek Lee, 1B
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Jake Fox, LF
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Nolan Reimold, RF
Craig Tatum, C
Cesar Izturis, SS
Brian Matusz, SP
Top pitching prospect Zach Britton allowed his first earned run this spring, snapping an official 11-inning scoreless streak, when he allowed a third-inning run against the Yankees on Tuesday. That was the only run allowed by the 23-year-old Britton, who continues to make it a difficult decision for the Orioles to send him to Triple-A.
“Obviously I think there’s stuff I can improve on. but me personally I think that’s stuff I can do not just in Triple-A but in the big leagues,”said Britton, who has allowed one run, 14 hits, and four walks in 14 spring innings, striking out nine.
“The stuff I need to work on isn’t hindering from pitching in the big leagues, it’s just about getting experience,” Britton added. “I feel like I did what I needed to do coming into camp, hopefully I’ll get another start or two and we’ll see what happens.”
As I blogged earlier, it would take at least two injuries for Britton to start the season in Baltimore, since the team would have him under their control for an extra year if he doesn’t come up until the end of April.
“I feel like if I’m one of the best five, hopefully I’ll go [to Baltimore],” said Britton. “I’m not really trying to pay too much attention to [the service time thing]. If I get cut, obviously that will be something that crosses my mind, but right now I’m trying to be one of the best five.”
On Tuesday, Britton scattered six hits and a walk and struck out five in his fourth official spring outing. (He also threw five innings in a Minor League game last week.) The most impressive part of the 90-pitch start was the top of the fifth inning when Britton hit Melky Mesa and gave up a double to Nick Swisher to put runners on second and third with one out. He proceeded to send Mark Teixiera down on strikes and get Andruw Jones to ground out.
“That was big,”Britton said of getting out of the fifth. “Especially, I’m sure [manager Buck Showalter] wanted to get me up going again too so being able to get out of it make some pitches, to get out of it was pretty big.”
Of the 90 pitches Britton threw, 52 were strikes. He exited after issuing a leadoff walk to Jesus Montero in the sixth and got a nice round of applause from the crowd of 8,347 on hand at Ed Smith Stadium.
*Here’s Chris Tillman’s line from Twins Lakes Park, where he faced the Red Sox High-A team: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 Ks. He recorded 22 outs total with some extended innings.
*Derrek Lee will take some at-bats after Vladimir Guerrero today at DH. Lee could go on the trip to Ft. Myers Wednesday but it’s not definite yet. He did take infield work with the team pregame and manager Buck Showalter said if it was the regular season he could play.
*Top pitching prospect Zach Britton will get the start with right-hander Chris Tillman pitching at Twins Lakes Park in a Minor League game. Bullpen hopeful Josh Rupe is also slated to throw at Twin Lakes.
As I said on 105.7 this morning, there’s a chance both Tillman and Britton –in contention for the fifth starter spot — both start the season at Triple-A. The O’s don’t need a fifth starter until April 10 and they could start the season with an extra reliever. They could also stretch a guy like Rupe out enough to give them a spot start and buy them some more time. Or Justin Duchscherer –who is slated to throw a bullpen Wednesday — could have progressed enough by mid-April to give them a start. Duchscherer said the team has talked about him being ready by April 10, so it’s a definite option for them at this point.
There’s a whole bunch of things the Orioles could do and things are going to get interesting in the final week of camp. At this point, it would take two open spots for Britton to start the season in Baltimore. The O’s feel he can still work on some things in Triple-A and they don’t want to start his service clock.
*If you haven’t check out the story I did on pitching coach Mark Connor’s meeting with the five young starters, you can read it here. Definitely some interesting discussion going on.
*In addition to Tillman, Koji Uehara, Rupe and Kevin Gregg with all throw at Twin Lakes Park today. There’s two Minor League games going on and pitching coach Mark Connor is over there with them.
Uehara threw one inning against the Red Sox minor leaguers. He struck out one in the 12-pitch outing, throwing 11 strikes. Here’s a quote courtesy of the team’s Twitter feed: “Physically I felt real good. The elbow felt good.”
Gregg faced five batters and allowed two hits and a hit batter. He also struck out two, throwing 23 pitches, 16 strikes.
And here’s a quote from him: “I felt good today, I got my mechanics back to where they need to be.”
*Brendan Harris is going to be sidelined a few days after getting a minor surgical procedure done. Harris had something removed from his back, but it’s nothing to be alarmed about.
Here are the lineups…
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Matt Wieters C
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Mark Reynolds 3B
J.J Hardy SS
Jake Fox 1B
Zach Britton LHP Also slated to pitch: Clay Rapada, Michael Gonzalez and Jason Berken. Rapada and Gonzalez will go back-to-back today and Wednesday.
SP Zach Britton
Melky Mesa CF
Nick Swisher DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Andruw Jones RF
Jesus Montero C
Greg Golson LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Ronnie Belliard 2B
Brandon Laird 3B
SP Sergio Mitre. Also scheduled to pitch: Joba Chamberlain, Mark Prior.
Orioles first baseman Derrek Lee met with reporters this morning and said he was going to take some swings and test his foot.
“It’s feeling good,” said Lee of his left foot, which he fouled a ball off of in his first at-bat Saturday. “I’ll test it out [Tuesday] and hopefully get in there. If not today, tomorrow.”
Lee said he wasn’t worried when he initially hit his foot because he figured any serious injury, like a broken bone, would hurt right away. His foot didn’t start bothering him until Saturday night, when the Orioles decided to do an X-ray.
“I was only concerned when the doctor was looking at the X-ray and said that he saw something suspicious,” said Lee, who had an MRI that came back fine on Sunday morning.
“I said, ‘Oh boy.’ But it’s fine.”
Lee said as long as he can run and hit, he’ll play in today’s game against the Yankees. Manager Buck Showalter was also considering having Lee serve at designated hitter. There’s no Orioles lineup yet, presumably because they are waiting on Lee.
I wrote a story this evening on the Orioles’ young pitchers and their meeting last week with pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Rick Adair. You can read all the details about it with the full story here.
As always, there’s some parts of the interviews that didn’t make it in the Orioles.com piece, so here’s some leftover reactions from the guys about the meeting. The best stuff is obviously up in the final story, but there was enough interesting quotes omitted that I thought I’d share. Enjoy.
[ever done anything like that before?]
“No. it was a great meeting. [Connor] pulled us in there, all the young guys. He just talked about the opportunity we have in front of us, being able to work with each other.”
[on his reaction the meeting]
“It gave you a good feeling of family and teammates and kind of how we click together. We are all friends. We are all teammates, but we are friends too. We got something special going and I think it was just a good time to sit down and talk about that and open it up a little if we have something to say. It was good.
We know that’s it’s time to get it going and get on track. The season’s only a couple weeks away, we are all well aware of that. We are all working away and grinding. It’s just nice to hear it over and over again, it’s nice to sit down and be able to talk as a group. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to do that multiple times during the season because it was good. A good thing for us.”
[on having Adair/Connor around]
“Working with those guys has been tremendous. So far, the pieces are fitting together. Just little pieces here and there they are throwing at [us], they are starting to come together. It just took sometime this spring for things to kind of fall together. It is for me, you can see that it is for other guys as well. And the result will follow.
We talked [in the meeting] about it’s a process and we are all trying to get ready because we know we are in it for something special. It’s an ongoing thing. It’s not a ‘Let’s talk about it today and then three weeks from now’. It’s a day-to-day to keep everyone on track and keep pushing each other and knowing that we don’t know it all. We pick up things here and there. I’ve learned so much since last week.”
[on the importance of being a unit]
“I think it’s huge. I think it all showed at the end of last year, we all started pitching well we all started feeding off each other, trying to do better than the next guy.”
[on the meeting being motivational]
“Absolutely. I told them I wanted to go throw a bullpen right after that, you know? I just had this burst. After those kind of talks I start shaking around you can’t even sit still.”
[on the meeting’s message]
“We talked about baseball a lot but it was more of just us. Like, ‘What do you think? How do you go about your business?’ [Connor] asked us questions, and we were all silent. We didn’t know if we wanted us to answer, but he wanted dialogue between us and Rick Adair and [Connor]. It was more about them really getting to know what they thought.
Connor wanted to know how we felt, what we thought. He praised everybody a lot. Which is always nice to hear, from the pitching coach. But it wasn’t all compliments, it was areas he felt we needed to improve as a group. It wasn’t singling out, it was what we need to do to get better as a group. He mentioned the Braves [rotation], how those guys set an example for the whole organization, from A-ball all the way to Triple-A and the big leagues. It was like, ‘We are about winning’.
He felt like the guys we have here that’s as good as we can be. We were all like, ‘Really?’ Because he’s dealt with [Curt] Schilling, [Randy] Johnson, some great players. And he felt like all of us have that ability which is pretty nice, pretty flattering.”
[on the meeting being motivational]
“Anytime you get that kind of feedback it makes you anxious to get out there and kind of do what they want you to do. And show everyone in the organization that you are out there to win.
It’s not just about being .500 this year. It’s about going to the playoffs and winning. It’s not about, ‘Oh let’s see if we can get to .500.’ You shouldn’t even be thinking about being average or just mediocre. It’s about taking it to the next level. Be the best. Why can’t we be the best?”
[the importance of being one unit]
“Getting us all together I think was a good starting point of, ‘Hey it’s not about let me outdo this guy and outdo that guy.’ Because we all bring something different to the rotation. It’s about being there for each other and picking each other’s brains. When a guy does well, do better.
It’s not about you, it’s about the organization. They stressed that. It’s not about the big league team it’s about the organization. When the big league team does well, everyone does well. That’s the way it works.”
[on the meeting]
“[Connor] kind of talked about guys he had in the past, what they had to do to get over that hump to be great pitchers. Each one of us has something like that that we have to overcome in order to take the next step in your progression as a big league pitcher.
I really enjoyed it. He told a few good stories, which I think we will all remember for a long time. He told a story about when Connor had [Roy] Halladay in Toronto, kind of the progression at the early stages of his career and how he was really able to turn things around. So, it kind of opened our eyes to the possibilities of what we can eventually accomplish in this game. It was a good meeting and I’m glad he had that for us.”
[on the benefits of doing it as a group]
“We each kind of went around and said a few things. He asked a few questions that were kind of difficult to answer, [he] kind of wanted to see what we thought about certain things, what it takes to be great, certain things like that.
I assume we will continue to do things like that just to reiterate certain things. But it’s great to have Connor and Adair here, I think they are going to be very beneficial to the growth and development of the young guys.”
[on the meeting being motivational]
“It made you want to get out there and get to work right after that meeting. I know there’s a few things that I got to continue to do to get better.”
[on the meeting]
“[Connor] and Rick, they’ve been around for so long, they’ve seen every type of pitcher, they’ve seen what it takes. They’ve seen guys that have all the ability in the world that don’t do anything with it.
Really what it amounted to was really kind of motivational for me. We talked about it being a process, how we have to get behind one another to be successful and we have to really encourage each other to go along and do what we want to do.
The thing that I really liked the most was we talked about the mental side of it, using certain words like I can’t. I can’t do this. Little things like that. Just trying to start training the mind how to work in a certain way. For me that was the biggest thing that I took away from it.”