Orioles @ Blue Jays Game 1

Greetings from Canada where the Orioles, winners in 11 of their last 14, will play three games against the Blue Jays.

Adam Jones returns to the lineup for the first time since Monday, after testing his right shoulder pregame with some early batting practice and throwing.

The Orioles announced that they’ve signed two more picks from this year’s First-Year Player Draft: center fielder Cedric Mullins (13th round) and catcher Jerry McClanahan (19th round).

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
Chris Parmelee RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
Jimmy Paredes DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
David Lough LF

Mike Wright RHP

BLUE JAYS LINEUP

Jose Reyes SS
Josh Donaldson 3B
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Chris Colabello LF
Dioner Navarro C
Kevin Pillar CF
Ryan Goins 2B

Marco Estrada RHP

Os select Stewart

BALTIMORE — The Orioles selected Florida State outfielder DJ Stewart with their first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2015 Draft on Monday.

Stewart is listed at 6-foot, 230 pounds, and he was named the ACC Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2014. Known for an unusual low crouch at the plate, he has excellent bat speed and pitch recognition as a left-handed power hitter. Projected to be a left fielder, Stewart’s selection helps fill the void for an Orioles farm system short on top positional players.

“Stewart is an accomplished college hitter whose power should play well in our park at Camden Yards,” scouting director Gary Rajsich said. “We are excited to have him.”

“There have been a number of outstanding young men to come through our program, but none better than DJ Stewart in the way that he displayed leadership both on and off the field,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “A two-time Academic All-American with a 3.35 GPA in his last semester at Florida State, knowing that he had a good chance to be a first round pick is a clear indication of his leadership and commitment to Florida State baseball.”

Stewart batted .318 with 15 home runs, 59 RBIs, a .500 on-base percentage and 69 walks — which led the nation — as a junior this past season.

There are those who believe Stewart has one of the best bats in the 2015 college class though there is concern over his unorthodox stance. He has plus raw power but struggle to realize his potential because he bats from an extreme crouch and has a flat swing.

“Stewart is one of the best hitters in college baseball, but there are questions regarding how much power is he going to unlock as a big leaguer,” MLB.com’s Jim Callis said. “He hits from a deep crouch, which compromises his pop.”

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

Stewart’s selection is one of three for the Orioles on Monday, as Baltimore also has picks 36, high school shortstop Ryan Mountcastle and 68.

Os Showalter tossed

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was ejected from Thursday’s series finale in Houston in the bottom of the second inning.

With his team up 1-0 on two-time American League Pitcher of the Month Dallas Keuchel, Showalter was jawing with home plate umpire Brian Gorman regarding the early strike zone. Television cameras showed the O’s skipper screaming from the visiting dugout and he was tossed shortly thereafter.

It is Showalter’s first ejection of the season.

Orioles @ Astros Game 4

J.J. Hardy said he could have played today and is hoping to play on Friday. Nothing is definite of course, but Hardy is encouraged with how he’s felt lately.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
Delmon Young RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis DH
Steve Pearce 1B
Travis Snider LF
Caleb Joseph C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Everth Cabrera SS

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

ASTROS LINEUP
George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Evan Gattis DH
Chris Carter 1B
Luis Valbuena 3B
Jonathan Villar LF
Hank Conger C
Marwin Gonzalez SS
Jake Marisnick CF

Orioles @ Astros Game 3

Lots of pregame news from Buck today…

Matt Wieters will make his Major League debut on Friday in Cleveland, with the plan for the All-Star to get the start behind the plate. There was some thought to letting Wieters join the Orioles in Houston and play at designated hitter on Thursday afternoon but with Triple-A Norfolk being rained out —and pushed back a day— manager Buck Showalter reverted back to the original plan.

“All things considered, if things go well today, he will meet us in Cleveland,” Showalter said of Wieters who is rehabbing with Triple-A Norfolk. “He wants to  [potentially] DH the second game [for Norfolk] and he would have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and would not be a good option. He needs to go back to Baltimore and get his family, go to Cleveland. With all things considered, I want him to start fresh, with fresh legs.”

Showalter reiterated that starter Bud Norris who pitched Game 1 of Norfolk’s doubleheader, could be shortened up so that he remains an option to pitch Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

*The Orioles have acquired minor league RHP Joe Gunkel from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for OF Alejandro De Aza and cash considerations. De Aza was designated for assignment last week and the O’s had been trying to trade him.

*Jonathan Schoop has started playing games in extended spring and went 4-for-10 today. Showalter said there’s a possibility he is back before the All-Star Break though the Orioles won’t rush him. Brady Anderson is done in Sarasota, Fla. watching Schoop and some of the other rehabbers.

*Brian Matusz had his hearing this afternoon at Minute Maid Park for the eight-game suspension that the lefty received –and appealed– from Major League Baseball on May 28.

Matusz said the whole thing took about an hour and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette spoke on his behalf. Manager Buck Showalter was also there for morale support.  They weren’t given any timetable of when they would get news.

“I’m really not sure at all,” Matusz said. “Not sure if Will Smith’s case [of an eight-game suspension on May 22] factors into the decision at all. Could be up to a couple days from now.”

Both Matusz and Smith were ejected for having a foreign substance on them while pitching. It was reported earlier this week that Smith would know his results before Sunday.

“This is the first time going through anything like this, not really sure [if the suspension will be reduced],” Matusz said. “We presented our case, said everything we needed to. It’s really out of our hands right now. Just waiting to hear that final decision.”

Should Matusz’s suspension hold up, even as a lesser sentence, the Orioles will have to play down a player for that duration.

*J.J. Hardy is out of the lineup for a third consecutive game, though the shortstop did test his left oblique prior to Wednesday’s game with some dry swings and 30 swings off a tee.

“It feels so much better than it did two days ago,” Hardy said. “There’s still some discomfort but not nearly what it was two days ago.”

Hardy –who had Tuesday’s MRI come back normal — hopes to be playing at some point this weekend and is aiming to take batting practice on Thursday.

“I’m hoping tomorrow [he plays], but it’s probably not realistic,” Showalter said of Hardy. “I just want him to be able to play without any mental restrictions or physical restrictions.”

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
David Lough LF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Delmon Young RF
Steve Clevenger C
Steve Pearce 2B
Jimmy Paredes DH
Ryan Flaherty SS

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

ASTROS LINEUP
George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Preston Tucker LF
Evan Gattis DH
Luis Valbuena 3B
Chris Carter 1B
Jason Castro C
Jonathan Villar SS
Jake Marisnick CF

Lance McCullers RHP

Os add McFarland

The Orioles recalled left-hander T.J. McFarland from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday while optioning righty Oliver Drake to Triple-A.
The 25-year-old McFarland will be making his second stint of the season with Baltimore. He previously compiled a 3.60 ERA in five appearances and struck out eight in five innings.
Drake, 28, posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out seven in five relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings.

Orioles @ Astros Game 2

Greetings from Houston, where the O’s will take on the Astros for the second in a four-game set.

The big news today is shortstop J.J. Hardy, who went to go get an MRI at 6 p.m. CT while we were talking to manager Buck Showalter. Hardy came out from pregame batting practice and delivered the news walking through the visiting dugout. We could have more news on that later.

Hardy said he was a little improved on Tuesday, though he acknowledged it’s tough to really know when he hasn’t swung a bat. He doesn’t play to test anything until after they get the MRI back. Hardy missed five walks in 2011 with an oblique injury and feels as if he tried to test it out too soon and it set him back.

“I always think the best case scenario that the MRI is good and he’s improved tomorrow as he is today and he’s playing,” Showalter said. “Do I think that’s going to happen? Probably not. But we will see. Maybe he comes back and plays defense for us in the 10th inning.”

*With Triple-A Norfolk’s game getting rained out tonight the plan is for Bud Norris to pitch Game 1 at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday and have Matt Wieters catch. The two will rejoin the team after that but given the extra day it’s less likely that Wieters will debut as a DH on Thursday. Showalter could opt to have him start at catcher on Friday.

Norris will also be shortened up as he’s an option to start Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

*Brian Matusz has his hearing Wednesday at Minute Maid Park and the O’s continue to be confident he will get his eight-game suspension reduced. Both Showalter and EVP Dan Duquette will be present.

*Finally, Kevin Gausman threw a two-inning sim game this afternoon and he remains on track to start a rehab assignment for Frederick next.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
Travis Snider LF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Delmon Young RF
Jimmy Paredes DH
Steve Pearce 2B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Caleb Joseph C

Mike Wright RHP

ASTROS LINEUP
George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Preston Tucker LF
Evan Gattis DH
Luis Valbuena 3B
Chris Carter 1B
Hank Conger C
Marwin Gonzalez SS
Jake Marisnick CF

Collin McHugh RHP

Hardy sits with left side soreness

Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy was not in Monday’s starting lineup as the shortstop is dealing with some left side soreness that he first felt on Sunday.

Hardy, who has been taking extra swings in hopes of finding his stride at the plate, came out to take early batting practice on Monday in Houston and felt the same sort of irritation. He immediately alerted head athletic trainer Richie Bancells and manager Buck Showalter, who are trying to get out in front of the injury. Hardy, who started the season on the disabled list, has played in just 23 games and is batting .190.

“I’m just nervous that it’s more than a day or two type thing,” said Hardy, who did not take batting practice Monday and had a similar issue sideline him for an extended period in 2011. “I’m just nervous that it might turn into something worse and I don’t want it to, so I think resting it is probably the right thing. It’s frustrating though. It’s the shoulder [injury] in the spring, then the back starts acting up. Now it’s this.”

Any sort of side soreness can often signal an oblique injury, which are a common injury for players to go on the DL with.

“I am not using that word,” Showalter said in regards to Hardy’s injury. “It’s one of those things you never say out loud. But [the injury] has some of those characteristics.”

Showalter said Hardy wanted to play Monday but given the team’s schedule –with no off day coming up–he decided to be cautious with things.

“We would all love for him to play but you got to take it out of their hands. Hopefully it’s something we can get ahead of and not have it turn into something else.”

Hardy was cautiously optimistic as well that this could only be a game or two type of injury.

“I sure hope so,” he said. “Honestly Im a little bit nervous about it because in 2011 I felt something like this, so I don’t want it to get to that point. We’ll see what tomorrow has, but it definitely makes me a little nervous.”

Jones at DH

Orioles All-Star Adam Jones returned to the starting lineup for the first time in three games on Monday in Houston, though the centerfielder was at designated hitter as he continues to work through a left ankle sprain.

“It’s boring DH’ing,” said Jones, who tested his ankle on Monday afternoon with some sprints in left field. “I am going to try to play center, but if I have to DH, I will DH. I think the important thing right now is to make sure there are no lingering effects and not try to be Superman right now.”

Jones was pleased with how he responded to Monday’s running and said the swelling from the injury –suffered at home plate on Thursday night– has completely gone away. While he never likes being out of the lineup, Jones –who sat Saturday and Sunday– said several times that he was trying to be smart about the injury given that it’s only June 1 and there’s a lot of baseball left to play.

Still, it’s been tough to watch his team from the bench.

“I’ve been bored,  really bored, missing my teammates, missing being on the field with the guys,” Jones said.  “But it’s crazy when I’m not in the lineup, everybody in Baltimore is like, you see people all the time, ‘I drove this amount, this distance to see you play and you’re not playing.’ That’s the thing. I’m in because I pride myself in playing every day, so when I’m not playing, I’m bored. I don’t know what to do. I’m going to try to get out there and stay out of the kitchen, because when I don’t play, I just raid the kitchen. … I’m not sad. I just want to play. You’ve been around me. I don’t like to disclose about how I’m feeling or how my body feels, but I just want to play and that’s what I’ve done here. Let’s get back to that.”

Orioles @ Astros, Game 1

Greetings from Houston, where the Orioles will open a two-city, seven game road trip. Adam Jones, who has been out the past two games with a left ankle sprain, was testings things out earlier in left field.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
David Lough CF
Adam Jones DH
Delmon Young RF
Chris Davis 1B
Steve Pearce LF
Caleb Joseph C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Everth Cabrera SS

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

ASTROS LINEUP

George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Preston Tucker LF
Evan Gattis DH
Colby Rasmus CF
Chris Carter 1B
Luis Valbuena 3B
Jason Castro C
Marwin Gonzalez SS
Brett Oberholtzer SP

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