Results tagged ‘ Dave Trembley ’

Going Gonzo

So I’ve been watching closer Mike Gonzalez throw his bullpens this Spring and have been amazed at how easy he makes it look. The guy looks like he’s just playing catch. So, I asked him about it and turns out I was right: he pretty much is just playing catch.

“I’ve never really been a big Spring Training guy,” Gonzalez said. “I won’t get going [100 percent] until the last three outings.”

Gonzalez’s mindset isn’t that uncommon for a closer. When guys throw that hard and in short bursts, there’s really not a pressing need to get it humming in late February.

I also asked the lefty how many pitches he had because manager Dave Trembley had alluded to Gonzalez having a bunch, but the truth is he only has three and they’re pretty standard: fastball, slider and change-up.
 
Trembley pulled Gonzalez aside earlier this spring to tell him he was the team’s closer, so the lefty doesn’t have to worry about proving himself in camp.  Gonzalez said the only date he’s focused on being ready is Opening Day on April 6, a mindset I’m sure the Orioles have no problem with.

*Also, Chris Tillman is scheduled to throw a side today after having back spasms for the last few days. The 21-year-old Tillman took an energy shot this morning with Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz, so maybe that will give the trio an extra burst….

*Nolan Reimold told me his left Achilles tendon has been responding well to the workouts, although it’s still a little sore. He isn’t limited at all, and he expects the soreness to subside as camp continues.

Trembley: It's time for us to turn the corner

Shameless plug alert: I’ve got my video debut from this morning, talking Orioles baseball with MLB.com. Check it out, let me know what you think.

Also, I wanted to put up some good stuff from this afternoon that I didn’t get a chance to with Tejada’s return and the Tillman/Roberts updates.

Manager Dave Trembley spoke with the team prior to the first full squad workout on Tuesday. Here’s what he said about his message:

“It’s not about individuals,” Trembley said. “It’s about the team, and what can you do as an individual to contribute to the success of the team. That was [the speech] in a nutshell.”

When asked why he thought that message was necessary to get across so early in the season, Trembley said it’s time for the Orioles to “turn the corner.”

“And that’s what we expect to do,” he said. “We expect to turn the corner.”

So for those of you who emailed me or asked me on Twitter about the rebuilding process, both Trembley and MacPhail have made it clear 2010 will all be about Phase 2. Definitely good news if you’re an Orioles fan.

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Got a question or
comment on the team? Email me
and I could use
it in my debut inbox column, which should be up later this week. For
constant, updates bookmark my blog and follow me on Twitter.

Tejada's baaaack

At least he’s expected to be. With the Orioles holding team physicals and meetings, the press is not allowed in the locker room until the afternoon, but I will be blogging and Twittering from practice, which is scheduled to start around noon.

Today is the first full squad workout for the Orioles, and it be will interesting to see the return of Miguel Tejada  and the former shortstop taking reps at third base.

Manager Dave Trembley didn’t seem concerned that Tejada –who will be tasked with learning a new position — wasn’t among the growing group of position players who  participated in optional workouts.

“[Tuesday’s] the first day,” Trembley said on Monday.  “He’ll be here. He knows everybody. He knows
us. We know him.”

An All-Star shortstop, Tejada will work with Orioles infield coach Juan Samuel to get extra work at the hot corner in addition to the team’s workout.

Like I blogged yesterday current shortstop Cesar Izturis gave Tejada the thumbs up at the position, and said he wasn’t worried about Tejada making the shift.

“Everybody knows he can play,” Izturis said of Tejada. “It’s a new position, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. If I can help out, I will, but he knows how to play the game.”

—–

Got a question or comment on the team? Email me and I could use it in my debut inbox column, which should be up later this week.

Tillman still sidelined, Position Players Eve

Gonzalez.jpg

Orioles fans, there’s your new closer. Lefty Mike Gonzalez throws a session in the bullpen with Jim Johnson (below pic) right next to him.

Jim Johnson.jpg 

Chris Tillman did not throw his scheduled side today, and is still
dealing with the same back stiffness that sidelined him yesterday.

Although he said he probably could have gone through the whole workout, Tillman said it would have been “dumb” on his part, to push things so early in the spring.

“I’ve still got a lot of time to get in
shape and I came into camp with my arm in good shape.”

Manager
Dave Trembley also noted that Tillman threw a lot of bullpen sessions
before showing up to camp, and wasn’t worried about the right-hander
falling behind.

“I think he learned a lesson not to sleep on a
couch,” Trembley said, in reference to what Tillman believes caused his
back to act up.
 
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With Tuesday marking the Orioles first
full squad workout, the clubhouse continued to fill up on Monday.
Joining the team in Sarasota this morning was a clean shaved Luke Scott,
who said the clippers got stuck a few times while trying to remove the
lumberjack beard he had going in the offseason.

Scott has made
it no secret that he would like to play the field this season and not be
limited to just DH duties. But the addition of Garrett Atkins at first
base, and the crowded outfield of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Nolan
Reimold and Felix Pie will limit that.

“I mean personally,
everyone wants to have a really good idea of where they are going to fit
in; what they are going to do,” Scott said. “But sometimes things don’t
work out that way. But it’s also part of being a professional. Part of
being a professional is just doing the best with what they ask you to
do.”

*Reimold said his left Achilles tendon was sore after
testing it yesterday, but didn’t seem overly concerned. He was walking
around fine, but running on grass and testing it on the field
undoubtedly is more impact than the treadmill running he had been doing
in the offseason.

*Cesar Izturis also showed up in Sarasota and
the shortstop was confident his lockermate, the still absent Miguel
Tejada, could handle the transition to third base just fine.

“Everybody
knows he can play,” Izturis said of Tejada. “It’s a new position, but I
don’t think that’s going to be a problem. If I can help out, I will,
but he knows how to play the game.”

Izturis didn’t join the
optional position player workout because he wanted to get settled in
with his family to his temporary Spring Training living, and manager
Dave Trembley didn’t seem overly concerned that players like Izturis,
Tejada and Brian Roberts have yet to report. Roberts was also at Ed
Smith Stadium on Monday afternoon to get his physical, and hopefully the media will get an update on his health later today. He is supposed to
be shooting a commercial for MASN later in the afternoon.

****
Trembley
also made it a point to single out the bullpen session of Brandon Erbe,
and was amazed at the right-hander’s location for his 35-pitch session.

“He
didn’t throw two that were above the knees,” Trembley said. “Everything
was down. He’s
really cleaned up his delivery a lot. He had some mechanical things
with his delivery before.”

Erbe was the Orioles second-round pick
in the ’05 Draft.

“He deserves a lot of credit,”Trembley said.
“He’s worked hard. That was a solid, solid bullpen.”

****

The
Orioles manager also had high praise for Bergesen, as Trembley
continued to state his confidence that the right-hander will be up on
the mound very soon. Bergesen is schedule to throw another flat ground
session on Tuesday.

Got a Wieters feature up on the site and as always, email me with your questions and comments.

Atkins gets ready for shift

Andy and Dave.jpg

(Meeting of the minds: Andy MacPhail and Dave Trembley)

Trembley smiling.jpg

New Oriole Garrett Atkins was one of the growing number of position players out on the field for Sunday’s workout. Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott (with a lumberjack beard) were some of the other notable new attendees, which definitely put a smile on Dave Trembley’s face. The O’s manager was in a great mood today, raving about the players who had come in early and taking a few minutes to stand on a hill and watch several practices at the same time. It’s safe to say Trembley’s digging the new Spring Training digs.

I’ve got a story going up on the site later about Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen, but here’s the highlights. Tillman was having back tightness so they shut him down today, but he should be fine and ready to pitch a side on Monday. Bergesen is getting better and expects to do 2-3 flat ground sessions before getting up on the hill. By his own estimates, that should be by the end of next weekend. Trembley noted he’s “very, very close.”

In case you missed it yesterday, I caught up with Adam Jones, who is extremely excited to start the season. Jones took some swings with Nolan Reimold, who made his first appearance down in Sarasota on Sunday, looking like someone in need of sun.  He laughed when I told him Trembley asked if he could be any paler. But, he does live just north of Pittsburgh, so give the guy a break.

Reimold spent the winter testing his left Achilles tendon by running on the treadmill, and got to work it out on the field for the first time today. This is what he said prior to the practice. 

“After a lot of running, it still gets a little sore,” he said, “but it’s already better than it was last year. I’m sure I’ll be ready [for Opening Day].”

And Atkins was busy working on getting himself ready and acclimated to a full-time role at first base. The former Rockie said he will try to remember how Golden Glover Todd Helton prepared, and go from there.

“[It’s] just a matter of getting out there and getting the reps in, this is my first Spring Training where I’m basically first the entire time,” Atkins said. “So I image in 40 days or whatever I’ll be able to get pretty comfortable over there.”

As for the other side of his game, Atkins said he hit more this offseason than in previous years and was looking forward to taking that into Spring Training.  Sure enough, following his media session, Atkins hooked up with hitting coach Terry Crowley for a session in the batting cage.

Brian Roberts is in Sarasota and Trembley expects the second baseman will likely report tomorrow. His agent, Mark Pieper, stopped by Sunday’s practice. 

*Trembley and his staff will hold an inter-squad game on March 1 at Ed Smith Stadium, with the Orioles coaches expected to hold a drafts of sorts sometime in the next week. Following the game, the Orioles will host a clinic for the Boys & Girls club, as part of their ongoing efforts to be active in the Sarasota community.

—–

Also, I’m hoping to get enough queries to turn out my
first Orioles inbox soon, so get those questions coming via email, with your name and
location. And as always, follow me on Twitter for quicker updates and more pictures! 

–Brittany
 

  

Markakis: O's team best so far.

trembley with fans.jpg

A cleanly shaven Nick Markakis arrived to today’s workout, and was extremely impressive during positional players batting practice. Taking swings with Adam Jones and Felix Pie, Markakis routinely sent ball after ball flying out of the practice field.

Turns out, it was the first time he’s taken batting practice since the season ended.

“He was swinging effortlessly and hitting them into the trees out there,” marveled manager Dave Trembley. “And you wonder how the heck did he do that the first day? Special talent.”

When he was asked whether this was the best Orioles team on paper that he’s been a part of in his five seasons, Markakis agreed.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “The way our young guys have developed last year, you can’t ask for any more than what they did.”

As for his preference to bat second or third in the lineup:

“I don’t really see much difference between the two and three hole besides more opportunity to drive runners in,” Markakis said. “When I’m in the two hole I’m going to have B-Rob [Brian Roberts] hitting in front of me, you know? I got one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, so it doesn’t matter to me regardless.”

Markakis has a .328 lifetime average in the No. 2 hole (586 at-bats), but throughout his career he has predominantly been a No. 3 hitter, averaging .286 over 1354 at-bats.

Trembley wouldn’t divulge his exact lineup plans, and to be honest, I’m not sure if he has one just yet. He will certainly use Spring Training to tinker with the lineup.

“We’re going to have somebody that’s going to hit in front of him and we’re going to hit behind him,” Trembley said of Markakis. “And I think it’s going to make Nick a lot more relaxed. I think he’s going to have a big year.”

Trembley elaborated on yesterday’s comments concerning Kam Mickolio, noting that he’s 12 lbs lighter and saying “he couldn’t run like that last year in Spring Training.”

“I think for what he could bring to us, I would be very, very, very surprised if he doesn’t do what we think he can do,” Trembley said. “I think he can be a guy, but he’s got to show it. We got to see it in the games…I just see a guy with a mindset this spring where I think he knows what’s on the table for him.”

It sounds like Mickolio has a spot in the bullpen so long as he performs well during the Spring Training games. With Mike Gonzalez as the closer, Jim Johnson as setup man, Mark Hendrickson to handle middle relief, and Koji Uehara to serve a myriad of roles, Mickolio seems to be close to a lock for one of the remaining bullpen spots.

Also, if Will Ohman can keep throwing like he did today, he could fill the Orioles’ need for a lefty specialist. During Ohman’s bullpen today, pitching coach Rick Kranitz had to approach him a few times to slow him down.

“He’s going to be a max effort guy and he wants to do very well and make a very good impression, so we are going to have to pull the reins in on him somewhat,” Trembley said. But if he can throw the slider and match up against left-handed hitters and get outs he will be very valuable for us.”
 

Day 2: Millwood's presence, several pitchers impressive

With physicals out of the way, the Orioles got out and on the field on time today. As usual, Millwood was one of the first ones out and ready to go. I spoke with him yesterday for the first time and he struck me as a little quiet, but a nice guy. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said he’s been really impressed by the veteran’s work habits, a fact that really sets the tone for the young guys who are in their first few camps.

“The results aren’t always words as they are his actions,” Kranitz said about Millwood. “He’s always the first one doing something. Always. Whether it be the first one in the clubhouse or the first one doing drills. Let the young guys see that and follow.”

As I mentioned in my feature story that will be up on the site later, Millwood’s locker is in between Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, with Brad Bergesen on the other side of Tillman. That’s not an accident, as Dave Trembley and Kranitz have made it pretty clear what’s expected of Millwood. And Millwood, who did the same sort of thing last year in Texas, has accepted that role, he’s been chatting with Bergesen and the younger guys and he threw his first bullpen to Wieters yesterday.

Millwood on his initial impressions of the clubhouse.

“A lot younger than me. But, a lot of good guys and seems like there’s a lot of talent here. So it’s pretty exciting to be a part of maybe helping mold these guys a little bit and help them all on their way.”

Trembley said Millwood’s presence will help take the pressure off the younger pitchers and allow them to “be themselves.”

“They don’t have to try to be something other than what they are,” Trembley said. “I think that’s the biggest tendency that happens with players at the big league level. They think more is better and they put their foot to the pedal.”

*Trembley had rave reviews for some of the guys who threw today, including Kam Mickolio, who he believes will eventually be a back of the bullpen guy. But not this year obviously, with Mike Gonzalez occupying the closer spot. When I talked to Trembley on Tuesday, he had mentioned Mickolio as one of the guys he was really excited to see. When I told Kam that he seemed pretty pleased.

“It means a lot when another coach, especially the head coach or the manager says they are excited to see you throw,” he said. “It’s always a good feeling they got a close eye on you.”

Mickolio has been down in Sarasota throwing for over two weeks, and said on Tuesday he had thrown about 10 bulllpens. So today’s session would make 11.

*Koji Uehara was another guy who impressed, with Kranitz raving about the late movement on the right-hander’s ball.

“I was real pleased,” said Kranitz. “It was night and day from today to when he threw in Boston back in September.”

*Other notables mentioned in today’s workout were Jake Arrieta and Alfredo Simon, who is less than a year removed from Tommy John’s surgery.

“[It’s] to his credit,” Trembley said of Simon. “He must have worked real hard to get to where he’s at.”

*Adam Jones, Felix Pie, Justin Turner and Blake Davis were a few of the position players who have been working out and taking batting practice before the full squad workouts start Feb. 23. 

—Jones wanted everyone to know if you are following him on Twitter, make sure to say what’s up. But don’t make me jealous and give me a follow too.

Nick Markakis.jpg 
  
If you’re curious, the above photo is a back shot of Nick Markakis, who was barely recognizable with a full length beard and the noted, umm, interesting attire. He brought his son to watch some of the workout.
 

 

It's On..

UPDATE 11:22 a.m.: The media spoke with Felix Pie earlier, who said says he is healthy and free of pain from the strained left quadriceps that ended his season in September of last year. Pie said it took the full 5 1/2 months but now he’s confident and ready to go.

Pitchers and catchers have their first workout today, but after a brief walk around the clubhouse the media was ushered out for player physicals.

Meanwhile, in between hanging out at the field and unpacking stuff at my condo, I’ve been trying to see the city of Sarasota.  Thank you to those recommending places to eat and check out in the area;some of the reporters went to Gus’ Diner across the street from the stadium for lunch yesterday and it was a cheap, and satisfying meal. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome meal we had last night at Mediterraneo on Main Street. Robert Messick, chair of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, was extremely hospitable to the Orioles front office and press, even printing out a list of the top places to eat.  And the owner of Mediterraneo is a lifelong Orioles fan, with a Baltimore cap hanging proudly behind the bar.

And if you need any other reasons to go, it was easily the best Italian meal of my life. And I grew up in pizza-mecca New Haven, Conn. and consider myself a bit biased in terms of Italian food.

I did get a chance to catch up briefly with Kam Mickolio yesterday, who is competing for one of the final three spots in the bullpen. The right-hander was shut down last year after he was placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. Mickolio has been down in Sarasota for about two weeks and said he threw around 10 bullpens already, all of which have gone well. He could factor in to the one of the remaining three spots in the bullpen.

If I had to guess, I’d say he makes the team as of right now. Even if the team opts to add a lefty specialist such as Ohman to the mix, that still leaves two spots after Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Mark Hendrickson and Koji Uehara. And Cla Meredith and Matt Albers will fight over the last right-handed spot. Keep in mind Albers is out of options, which means he would have to pass through waivers before going to Triple-A if he doesn’t make the team out of camp.

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