*The Orioles officially added Johan Santana on a Minor League deal today, with the target date June 1 for him to be an option. Santana is still rehabbing, but the Orioles feel like he’ll be able to get that velocity up after his second shoulder surgery. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said today that Santana’s surgery is the same as Bret Saberhagen, who was able to come back and have a successful year.
“He’s been really getting after his rehab,” said Duquette, who mentioned Santana’s character and veteran leadership as other factors in the deal. “He’s only 34 years old and he’s determined to come back and pitch. He has some life-long goals that he’d like to fulfill and he’s another quality left-hander that will be able to help our club.”
Santana’s contract has incentives for starts and manager Buck Showalter said today that he thinks the best way to keep Santana healthy is to have him be a starter.
“I’m excited. I think it’s great,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to say no risk, as far as, I’m not the owner [Peter Angelos], but it’s another thing that Peter’s allowed us to do that puts us in position to get kind of lucky. I’m not going to say it’s a no lose proposition. There are things you lose, but it makes a risk worth taking. I think it’s exciting, the possibility down the road. I’m hoping we get five starters who pitch so well, we don’t need it, but pedigree speaks for itself, especially with the people that have been…we have some people here who I really trust their background and their opinion with Johan.”
*Brian Roberts is here and playing second base in the cleanup spot for the Yankees. I’ll have more from Roberts on Orioles.com later, but he said he has no ill-will for the Orioles, who didn’t offer him a deal and physically is in a good place.
“I had 15 incredible years of my life there. Why would I be angry?,” he said. “There is no point in living that way. I’m grateful and thankful for every day that I had there. At some point, it was going to come to an end, whether it was you had to retire. Very few guys get to do what Derek does and walk in and say, ‘I’m done on my own terms.’ I think probably one percent of the world gets to do that, so I’m not angry. That organization, and that team and our fans and the city have been great to me and my family and I have nothing but praise for every one of them.”
Still, was Roberts –who had played his entire career in Baltimore before this season- disappointed that they didn’t even try to keep him?
“It’s hard to really sum up all the emotions that went into it,” he said. “Sure, in some way, you might be, but at the same time you understand it’s a business. I knew going into the offseason it was a possibility, and I told everyone I was fine with it if that was the case. I don’t know all the circumstances behind it. Did I want to spend my entire career there? Sure, that probably would have been my number one choice, but sure. But, that doesn’t always work out.”
*Edgmer Escalona will be shut down for three weeks with shoulder inflammation after making just one appearance. The bullpen hopeful had a second opinion, but has not had any injections yet Showalter said.
*Henry Urrutia said all of the pain in right shoulder is gone and it’s just a little sore at this point. He will throw again today and try to take batting practice and hopes to be cleared to play tomorrow. Urrutia has been shut down the past two days with inflammation in the area and Showalter said he hoped it’d only be a couple days before Urrutia is a game option.
*Alexi Casilla also is feeling better and will try to run outside tomorrow. He’s been sidelined with a hamstring issue.
*Nolan Reimold was back today practicing after dealing with food poisoning yesterday. Hitting coach Jim Presley is dealing with a similar thing.
*Nick Markakis started his offseason two weeks after last year ended, adding 16 pounds of muscle in what could be his final season as an Oriole. You can read my feature on him here.
David Lough CF
Jemile Weeks 2B
Delmon Young DH
Steve Clevenger C
Steve Pearce 1B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Francisco Peguero RF
Quintin Berry LF
Cord Phelps 3B
Wei-Yin Chen LHP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter DH
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Francisco Cervelli C
Brendan Ryan SS
Russ Canzler 1B
Yangervis Solarte LF
David Phelps RHP
SARASOTA, Fla. — Twice a week, hours before the Orioles have to be at the Ed Smith Stadium complex for team stretch, a bulked up Nick Markakis is at Pilates. Baltimore’s longtime right fielder started the regimen last year during the baseball season, but he got really intense about it — among other things — this winter and is now a regular at 6 a.m. ET class, which he upped to three times a week starting Monday.
The focus is on core strength and balance, two key components of an offseason like Markakis has never had before, one that had him pounding the pavement of his driveway with teammate Ryan Flaherty for workouts just two weeks after the Orioles’ season had ended and weighing in 16 pounds heavier this spring.
Coming off the worst season of his career, Markakis is confident he has never been this strong, not even close. The 30-year-old, who was an American League Gold Glove finalist despite his struggles at the plate, is well aware that this is a contract year, with a looming $17.5 million 2015 club option that, if declined, would make Markakis a free agent for the first time in his career.
Yet all Markakis, who was sidelined during the Orioles’ 2012 playoff run after a CC Sabathia pitch ended his season, wants from his offseason regime is to be able to stay on the field.
“I’m at the point in my career where a lot of things don’t matter to me right now besides winning the World Series with this group of guys and this team right now,” said Markakis, who would get a $2 million buyout if the Orioles don’t pick up his option at season’s end. “Because I don’t know what the future holds for me, this could be my last year in an Orioles uniform. And I’d rather win a World Series, bring a World Series to Baltimore and this organization. I don’t want to do it anywhere else. This is the team I came up with, this is the team that pretty much raised me. This is my family.”
The grizzled veteran is determined to come back strong. After three surgeries in nine months between 2012-13, he was slowed with a neck injury during Spring Training last year. However, he went on to play 160 games, the fourth time in the past five seasons he’s hit the 160-game mark. Talk to any player in any Major League clubhouse about what kind of grit that takes and their expression says all you need to know.
Click here to read the rest of the feature on Orioles.com.
Orioles starter Bud Norris pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring start, striking out two and allowing a hit and a walk. Norris, considered the leading candidate for the team’s fifth rotation spot, was pleased with how his first spring game with Baltimore went.
“It went really well,” he said. “It’s more about getting out there, getting back into competition and just feeling comfortable. I’ve been through a couple now, so this is a new one to me here in Sarasota, but just to get out there and play baseball again is what you like to do. I had good results, i felt really good and that’s obviously the goal is to leave here healthy.”
Norris said his emphasis was on fastball command, pounding the strike zone, and he’s been working with catcher Matt Wieters on establishing a little better tempo.
Minnesota got on the board first with a two-out single from Wilkin Ramirez, which scored two-out walk Chris Colabello in the third. Baltimore’s prized pitching prospect Kevin Gausman got out of the inning with no further damage as Jason Kubel was tagged out trying to advance to third on the play.
“I got 3-2 on him, and tried to do a little bit too much,” said Gausman, who retired the first five batters he faced in the 24-pitch, two-inning outing.
Gausman was clocked in the mid-90s pretty consistently, which was what he was at last spring as a rookie as well.
“It always takes me longer to get ready armwise. I started throwing the exact same day,” Gausman said of his preparation this winter. “I just tried to make sure I was ready coming into camp.”
“Last spring, I tried not to step on anyone’s feet or really do anything wrong. Now, I have a relationship with most of the guys on the team. I feel comfortable going to them and asking questions. Last year, I really didn’t know what to expect, schedulewise, what we were wearing… This year, I feel more comfortable.”
The Orioles are closing in on a Minor League deal with free agent pitcher Johan Santana.
Santana threw for numerous clubs — including the Orioles– last week and was at the team’s spring complex on Monday afternoon according to MLB.com and MLB Network Radio’s Jim Duquette. Orioles pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez also posted a photo with Santana.
Santana is rehabbing back from his second shoulder surgery and it would be interesting to see –if he signs– how the Orioles plan to use him. The lefty is still rehabbing and would be a guy they would likely keep in extended spring until he gets back to form. Santana’s velocity was reportedly in the 70s in his last audition.
Santana would be an interesting move for the Orioles, who have a lot of starting pitchers but space for lefties in the bullpen. The O’s are down Troy Patton, who is suspended for the first 25 games, and have a host of lefties in camp along with Brian Matusz, who is being stretched out as a starter. Santana has pitched in 360 career games, 284 starts, and is 4-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 76 relief appearances. His splits aren’t that drastic, holding right-handed hitters to a .225/.281/.364 career line and lefties to .240/.293/.394.
*The Orioles are closing in on a Minor League deal with Johan Santana, who was spotted at the Minor League complex today. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said coyly that outfielder Francisco Peguero, who wears uniform No. 57, could stand to make some money soon. That number is what Santana has worn his whole career. You can read more on that developing situation here.
With free agent starter Ervin Santana still out there, could that be the Orioles’ only visit from a Santana this spring?
“I wouldn’t say that and be completely sure it was true,” Showalter said.
*The Orioles have resigned lefty Chris Jones to a Minor League contract after he was released last week. Jones was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Nelson Cruz and cleared waivers before signing a new deal with the O’s. He will now report to Twin Lakes Park.
*Alfredo Aceves made his debut for the Orioles today, throwing one scoring 1-2-3 inning. He will take a day off throw and then go two, take two days off and then throw three. Then he will be evaluated from there.
*Bud Norris and Kevin Gausman both threw two innings today and you can read more on that here.
*Prospect Jonathan Schoop continues to have a strong spring, with a pair of hits today making him 4-for-6 in four games. He also had a pair of homers in the teams intrasquad games.
“He’s going to take advantage of every opportunity he gets,” Showalter said. “He’s been locked in, seems to be in a good spot offensively since the first intrasquad game. Really BP.”
Is there a way Schoop can force his way to the Opening Day roster?
“I wouldn’t use the word force. I would say he’s competing for the job and there’s nobody ahead of him or behind him right now,” Showalter said of the second base competition that also includes Ryan Flaherty and Jemile Weeks. “He’s very much in the mix as he was the day we got here. In my mind I can tell you for sure there’s nothing in stone about where he’s going to start the year. Down or up. We made sure he knows.”
All three of those guys have Minor League options, which certainly helps Schoop’s case.
*There are no plans right now for Suk-min Yoon to leave for Canada. He’s still waiting on paperwork and then he will be gone for a few days. Given all that uncertainty, there’s no timetable for his first spring game.
*Nolan Reimold is sick today after contracting some kind of food poisoning last night. Manager Buck Showalter said he came into his office this morning and he immediately sent him home.
*Reliever Darren O’Day will be working with Orioles scout Todd Frohwirth on an off speed pitch that the club hopes will aid the the sidearmer in getting left-handed hitters out.
“I know Darren’s excited about it”, said Showalter, who wouldn’t specify what kind of pitch it was but came up with the idea over the winter. “It’s one thing, how does a pitching coach work with a knuckleball guy? how do they work if he’s n ever thrown down there? I know Dave and mark and rick before always spent a lot of time talking with people about mechanics.
“We thought, we had this great resource…Todd thought it was real important he build up his arm strength and arm speed before he got here, that’s why you didn’t see him early. Plus he coaches a girls basketball team back home that he’s big on.”
Pitchers like O’Day have a difficult time with secondary pitches because, as Showalter explained, it’s not always a case of just changing your grip.
“It’s hard, you don’t see many guys down there who have a good off speed pitch,” he said. “Be interesting to see if he can do it with the grip or if they have to do something different with the arm action.”
*David Lough will not play against lefties right now, Showalter said. The plan is for Nelson Cruz to play left field in that scenario, which frees up another spot for a right-handed hitting bat. Cruz is starting in the outfield for the first time this spring today.
“We need to use nelson’s skills to make everybody better,” Showalter said. “It’s possible, right now going in, I don’t plan yet on using [Lough] against left-handed pitching. So,you’d have a DH spot for a right-handed hitter. He could evolve into that too, a guy we trust against left-handed pitching. It’s also a way to keep everybody involved, too.”
The Orioles relied heavily on their regulars last year, they were the first club in the Majors to have seven or more players reach the 140 games played mark last year, and Showalter doesn’t want to get into that same rut again in regards to his bench.
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis DH
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Nelson Cruz RF
Matt Wieters C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Alex Gonzalez 3B
David Lough LF
Bud Norris RHP
Darin Mastroianni CF
Danny Santana SS
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Chris Parmalee RF
Chris Colabello 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Wilkin Ramirez LF
Jomil Pinto C
Jason Bartlett 2B
Vance Worley RHP
*Brian Matusz pitched well in his spring debut, allowing two hits over two scoreless innings (35 pitches, 18 strikes) to a lineup full of Red Sox regulars. He could get another start in before leaving for Philadelphia, with the winter storm up north causing the team to cancel his trip for Monday morning. Matusz has a wart (on the side of his middle finger on his throwing hand) that needs to be removed and was slated to go with catcher Michael Ohlman, who is also dealing with the same issue on his throwing hand. They’ll both go at some point, but there’s no definite date just yet.
*Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Carl, is here today in place of Henry Urrutia. Urrutia was shut down with a sore right shoulder that he said –through interpreter teammate Chris Marrero– first crept up when trying to make a throw to third base on Friday. Urrutia said he felt better on Sunday and wasn’t concerned that this would be a lingering issue.
“I think it was just something where I didn’t stretch it or warm my arm up,” said Urrutia, who hasn’t had this at any point before in his career. “Doesn’t hurt to swing.”
It was pretty cool to see Yastrzemski and his famed grandfather on the field prior to today’s game (see the photo above) and he got in the game as a pinch-runner in the sixth inning and moved to right field.
Yastrzemski walked and scored as part of a five-run ninth inning.
“I got to see him a couple times in Aberdeen last year. He’s a real fundamentally sound guy, can play all three [outfield spots]. Good defender. You can tell he’s pretty polished.”
He’s one of the guys that keeps surviving at a different level and the next thing you know they’re in the big leagues. He’s one of those guys, they say you can trust him.”
*Josh Hart, who delivered the Frank Robinson paper, also made an appearance in today’s game but did not get an at-bat. He served as a pinch runner in the ninth.
*Showalter thought pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez threw well despite his line –four runs on four hits and a walk– and he also got in Brock Huntzinger behind Matusz to see how the right-hander fared against some of the Sox regular right-handed hitters. Huntzinger threw a scoreless third.
*Delmon Young is “probably in as good shape as he’s been in for a long time”, said Showalter, who hasn’t ruled out Young making the club as a designated hitter option despite the signing of Nelson Cruz.
Asked if he’s had a talk with Young since Cruz arrived, Buck said: “He knows, sometimes i plant a seed through somebody else…he can still make the club he can still DH against left-handed pitching. nothing has changed there. Still looking for that guy. Nellie is going to play against left-handed pitching at least.”
*The “Two Minutes with…” series focused on lefty T.J. McFarland yesterday and you can read that here.
*As a reminder, the full game recap from yesterday –and all of the Orioles spring game stories– are up on Orioles.com along with additional coverage in my daily notebook. Nelson Cruz’s home debut and Steve Clevenger’s winter assignment were among the items up from yesterday.
*Zach Britton’s first start was encouraging to the Orioles, and you can read more on that –and the chances of Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar making the club– here.
Jemile Weeks 2B
Francisco Peguero RF
Delmon Young DH
Steve Pearce 1B
Nolan Reimold LF
Steve Clevenger C
David DeJesus SS
Julio Borbon CF
Michael Almanzar 3B
Brian Matusz LHP
RED SOX LINEUP
Jonny Gomes LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Wil Middlebrooks 3B
Cody Ross C
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bryce Brentz RF
Felix Doubront LHP
Numerous prominent Orioles and coaches had a new addition to their uniforms for Saturday’s home opener: gray wristbands with the initials “MB” scrawled in black marker, a touching tribute in honor of the passing of public relation director Monica Barlow.
“I put it on my hat, it’s more visual that way,” said center fielder Adam Jones of the tribute, which the club originally tried to do something with their ball caps until they hit a snag from the League. “I think no matter what we did, she’s in everybody’s hearts right now, everybody’s minds. We lost a good member of our family and it’s not easy just to cope with it and let it go. We are going to remember her in great fashion.”
Barlow, 36, passed away Friday morning and the news rocked the organization as the longtime Oriole employee had a courageous four-year fight against Stage IV lung cancer. A non-smoker, Barlow was an advocate for lung cancer research but shied away from the spotlight, never letting her diagnosis prevent her from working long hours at Camden Yards.
“She probably would have thought it was a terrible idea, but that’s what I love about her,” first baseman Chris Davis said of the public display. “She made our jobs easier and you just can’t say enough good things about her.”
“She would have been so [angry],” manager Buck Showalter added. “We were talking about it in the dugout. You could feel it in the dugout, everybody was thinking about her today. During the first few innings, always but…I said many times I’m proud of how Chris handled all the things that came his way last year. But he’s just grounded. Very grounded.”
In addition to Davis and Jones, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters, Ryan Flaherty, Manny Machado, Showalter, hitting coach Jim Presley, first base coach Wayne Kirby and bench coach John Russell all sported the wrist bands for the televised game.
There is also talk of the team trying to put something permanent on their uniforms during the season.
“That’s up to Mr. Angelos and than you have to get it through Major League Baseball,” Jones said. “But she was such an instrumental part of our family here in the Orioles. I wouldn’t be opposed with it, to be honest with you, for everything —not just she’s done with the team— but for the individuals. She’s helped out a lot of individuals with their personal life also. So to pay tribute, to pay homage any way we do it would be awesome.”
Added Davis: “I would like to. I think it’s a good idea to honor her. A lot of people don’t understand what goes on behind the clubhouse doors, but those are the people who are really important to us. Anything we can do to honor her, whether it’s wearing her initials on a wristband or putting them on our hat, whatever we could do, we’d sure like to do that.”
Barlow had been with the Orioles since serving as an intern in 1999, leaving for a year to work with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate before coming back to Baltimore and working her way up the ranks.
“What she’s done for us is help us just worry about the on-field stuff. … PR and community relations, they get tons of requests for players and coaches to do certain things and certain activities and Monica has learned each player’s personality and what they were willing to do and not willing to do,” Jones said. “She always told me, ‘Let me be the bad guy. I don’t want you to be the bad guy. Let me be the bad guy.’ She just helped me a lot with making the right decisions and doing things that not just helped me, but helped the team instead of just doing things just for the sake of doing them. There’s always a purpose behind things and she helped me out a lot with that.”
The Orioles intend to honor her beyond the 2014 season and are working to go through the proper channels.
“There’s about four or five things that [VP of communications and marketing] Greg [Bader] and the organization are looking into right now you will see in some form or fashion for sure,” Showalter said. ‘And quite frankly not just this year. There’s some thought about honoring her in some places that Monica was at a lot.”
The Orioles squared off in their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays with starter Miguel Gonzalez allowing a run over two innings. Steve Johnson followed with an impressive six outs, striking out Jose Bautista and Adam Lind in the process.
After lining up, both teams observed a moment of silence in honor of PR director Monica Pence Barlow, who passed away due to lung cancer on Friday. MLB Network did a really nice tribute and you can watch it atop of my personal column about Monica here.
In Barlow’s honor, several of the players and coaches wore gray wristbands with the initials “MB” scrawled in black. Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters, Ryan Flaherty, Manny Machado, manager Buck Showalter, hitting coach Jim Presley, first base coach Wayne Kirby and bench coach John Russell all sported them this afternoon on the televised game.
*Henry Urrutia has got some right shoulder soreness, but is available to hit. He got some treatment earlier.
*The Orioles are still tentatively planning on having Ubaldo Jimenez make his spring debut on March 7. There’s no plans for Suk-min Yoon, who will leave the team on March 4 to get his work visa, to appear in a game yet.
*Quintin Berry (back) will go through a full practice today and could play tomorrow. Berry said this morning he felt good to go, but the team is being cautious given how early in camp it is.
*Brian Matusz (who will leave the team on Monday to get a wart removed) will start Sunday, with Bud Norris starting Monday -followed by Kevin Gausman- and lefty Wei-Yin Chen slated for Tuesday’s start.
*Showalter said Jemile Weeks, Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop will all concentrate on second base for now and he can always move them around the infield later in camp. With the uncertainty around Manny Machado, there could be some shuffling for the Opening Day roster.
*Alfredo Aceves returned to the team yesterday and Showalter joked it took him about an hour to get back into the flow. Aceves, who played winter ball, also threw a few times while in Mexico to deal with an immigration issue.
David Lough LF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Matt Wieters C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Alex Gonzalez 3B
Miguel Gonzalez RHP
Also listed to throw: Steve Johnson, Evan Meek, Edgmer Escalona, Josh Stinson, Ryan Webb, Kelvin De La Cruz, Troy Patton and Tim Berry.
When I first met Monica Barlow, after taking over the Orioles beat in February 2010, I had to be told she was sick. I still remember sitting next to her at the now-annual dinner with the city of Sarasota, and her telling me she had lung cancer in the same manner you would use to ask someone to pass the bread basket. That was Monica: stoic, unflappable and someone who had absolutely no use for anyone’s pity.
I didn’t know how bad it was, Stage IV diagnosed the previous September, until my former colleague, the Baltimore’s Sun Jeff Zrebiec filled me in. How many guys in here, Zrebiec said gesturing around the Orioles’ clubhouse that spring day, do you think even know how sick she is?
They weren’t alone. Since news of Monica’s passing on Friday morning, I’ve gotten countless emails, messages on Twitter and Facebook telling me they didn’t know she was that sick, that things had gotten so bad she had to undergo another round of chemotherapy, missing the team’s annual Fanfest and forced to stay north for Spring Training.
And that would have made Monica happy, having a life not defined by her cancer, even as things took a turn for the worse. Her emailed updates, a rare glimpse into her ultra-private life, always ended with a thank you for everyone’s prayers, and it always struck me as strange that someone who had been dealt such a cruel diagnosis was that grateful for just a few seconds of my thoughts.
But that was Monica: selfless, courageous and genuine. She never let her diagnosis prevent her from working long hours at Camden Yards and in my four years on the beat — traveling around the country in the day-to-day grind of a Major League season— I never once heard her complain. Monica rarely spoke about her diagnosis in general, unless prompted, and only became comfortable talking about it on the record when she realized it could help others. She was an ambassador of MLB’s Stand Up to Cancer and a spokesperson for the LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s largest lung cancer-focused nonprofit.
Most of my conversations with Monica revolved around me. When my father had a heart transplant this May, she was more concerned with asking about him —which she did on a daily basis for months— than anything going on in her own life. She made it possible for my dad and another heart transplant survivor to attend batting practice when the team came out to visit San Diego last August. She asked about him again the last time I saw her in person, at the Winter Meetings, while I was writing a story about her fight against cancer. My dad is also a Stage IV cancer survivor and his heart transplant —from years of chemo— had had some complications that put him back in the emergency room.
“Wow,” she said, deftly deflecting the spotlight yet again, “He’s quite a fighter.”
It was high praise coming from the strongest person I’ve ever known. Monica was an inspiration and her four-year battle nothing short of extraordinary. She was never big on public shows, and certainly wouldn’t like a column about her, but she deserved it and so much more. She will be dearly missed.
The start of the Orioles spring season will be with a heavy heart as the organization lost a valiant member on Friday morning. After a courageous fight of more than four years, Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow passed away from Stage IV lung cancer, back home in Maryland.
“I tried to text her every night before I went to bed,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who addressed the team this morning and got choked up again talking about it. “Today was the first time I didn’t get a returned one.”
“We lost a feather from the Oriole today. Monica embodied everything we strive to be about. Her passion, loyalty, and tenacity set a great example for everyone in the organization. She was so courageous in continuing to do her job the last few years despite her pain. This is an especially tough day for those of us that worked with her on a daily basis. It was a blessing to have her in my life; she made our jobs so much easier. We won’t be able to replace Monica, we will only try to carry on. I am going to miss her as a colleague and a friend. She was a rock.”
Barlow, 36, was a non-smoker who was diagnosed in September 2009, while training for a half-marathon with a cough that wouldn’t go away. She continued to work throughout her battle, courageously becoming one of Major League Baseball’s biggest advocates for the “Stand Up 2 Cancer” initiative.
A longtime Orioles employee, Barlow graduated from William & Mary College in 1999 and served as an Oriole intern. She spent a year after as PR assistant for the Richmond Braves (formerly Atlanta’s Triple-A affiliate), before rejoining the Baltimore organization in January 2001, where she became PR director in April 2008.
The Ellicott City, Md resident is survived by her husband, Ben, along with both parents, her sister and brother.
Barlow was also a spokesperson for LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s largest lung cancer-focused nonprofit. LUNGevity funds the most promising research for the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer, and provides information, resources and a community to patients and caregivers. To learn more, go to: http://www.lungevity.org.
On a more personal note, Monica Barlow was one of the strongest people I have ever met. When I took the Orioles beat over in February 2010, she didn’t even seem sick to me. Here was this young woman who was in a male-dominated profession that was funny, courageous, and shied away from any kind of added attention. She never let her diagnosis prevent her from working long hours at Camden Yards or being a great friend, role model and human being.
Barlow fought every second of every day — never once did I hear her complain— and she had no use for sympathy. When my father had a heart transplant this May, she was more concerned with asking about him —which she did on a daily basis for months— than anything going on in her own life. She was a fighter and an inspiration, and she will will be missed dearly. Monica was never big on public shows — she was a very private person— but she touched so many people, and she will be greatly missed.
Here is the statement released by the team by managing partner Peter Angelos:
“It was with deep sadness that I learned of Monica’s passing this morning. In her 14 years with the club, she was a beloved member of the Orioles family, starting as an intern and becoming Director of Public Relations. Over the past four and a half years, the work Monica did to raise awareness and funds for cancer research was a testament to her dedication to helping others. The strength and resiliency she displayed by not letting her illness define her was a great inspiration to all who knew her. Her loss will be felt deeply by not only our front office staff, but also our manager, players and coaches, with whom she worked on a daily basis. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to her husband, Ben; her parents, Wayne and Ramona Pence; her brother, Jonah; her sister, Natalie; and her family and friends.”