Results tagged ‘ David Hernandez ’

Tillman, Hernandez speak

We won’t know what president of baseball operations Andy
MacPhail and manager Dave Trembley think about the fifth starter decision until
after the game, but both David Hernandez and Chris Tillman spoke about the
move, which slots Hernandez in the rotation and Tillman in Triple-A.

There was definitely shock value,” said
Hernandez, who found out about 10 minutes before he spoke with the media. “I was
surprised, to be honest. It’s everybody’s dream to be on a major league roster,
let alone on the Opening Day roster. It’s something special.”

 

“I felt like I was not the lead
candidate going in, but you can’t look at it like that. That just makes you
want to work harder. Hopefully, I pushed Tillman to get better and I pushed
[Jason] Berken to get better. Tillman’s going to start plenty of times. There’s
no doubt about it. He’s that good of a pitcher.”

Tillman held it together pretty well,
although you could tell he was struggling to keep his composure.

“I don’t think I was blindsided,
but I did think mentally like it was a battle. I think that was the only fair
way to go about it. I went into the offseason with that mentality,” Tillman
said. “I did expect more of myself, obviously. I didn’t pitch as well as I probably
should have. It is what it is.”

Tillman spent most of the spring
working on his cutter, and was asked if he would have done things a little
different had he known the competition was results-based.

“No, [what] is getting me ready
for the season is working on things, you know?” he said.  “I think if I were to stick with my fastball,
change-up curveball it would have been a totally different outcome. I was
working on my cutter. I’m not saying where I would have been, but I think the
results would have been a different outcome.”

Tatum, Hernandez In- Tillman, Moeller out

SARASOTA, Fla. — David Hernandez will be the Orioles’ fifth starter, a move that was made official before Tuesday’s game. Hernandez’s primary competition, Chris Tillman, will open the year in Triple-A.

Craig Tatum also won the backup catcher’s spot, leaving veteran Chad
Moeller to ponder whether to accept a Minor League assignment.

Although Tillman opened camp considered the front-runner, Hernandez thrust his name into fifth-starter contention with his recent outings. He retired nine of the first 10 Red Sox batters he faced Saturday, allowing four hits over five scoreless innings with six strikeouts. He lowered his spring ERA to a 3.00 in the process, and impressed manager Dave Trembley with his tenacity and ability to escape several key jams — including a bases-loaded, no-out scenario in the fourth. Hernandez hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past 8 2/3 innings.

Although he started the spring pitching out of the bullpen, Hernandez capitalized on the opportunities he was given to start. He made his first appearance as a starter on March 16, and is 1-1 in two official Grapefruit League starts, not including a 75-pitch outing in a Minor League game. In 15 innings, Hernandez has allowed five earned runs, and he has 20 strikeouts to three walks.

In five spring games, Tillman had a 3.86 ERA, allowing seven earned runs over 16 1/3 innings.The 21-year-old’s strikeout-to-walk ratio (9K/10BB) is a glaring statistic, particularly given that the Orioles have made it clear the kid gloves are off, and they won’t carry a 13th pitcher on the team.

The third candidate for the job, Jason Berken, is expected to make the Opening Day roster in place of injured Koji Uehara, and will likely be the Orioles second long-inning man.

5th Starter to be announced Tuesday

David Hernandez.jpg

tillman.jpg

Although Chris
Tillman
and David Hernandez are slated
to make one more spring start, on Thursday and Friday, respectively, by this
time tomorrow we should know who will be the Orioles fifth starter.

Manager Dave Trembley said the competition is down to two
guys, which I had already blogged about earlier this week. With Koji Uehara’s move to the
disabled list eminent
, Jason
Berken
should make the Opening Day bullpen as the team’s second long man.

I also wrote earlier this week about Hernandez
replacing Tillman
as the frontrunner to win the spot. I stand by that.

To his credit, Hernandez, who likely knows whether or not he’s
on the team, told me he hasn’t been informed one way or the other.

“It’s a big secret,” he said with a smile.

Hernandez has thrust his name to the fifth-starter forefront
with his recent outings. He retired nine of the first 10 Red Sox batters he
faced Saturday, allowing four hits over five scoreless innings with six
strikeouts. He lowered his spring ERA to a 3.00 in the process, and impressed
Trembley with his tenacity and ability to escape several key jams — including
a bases-loaded, no-out scenario in the fourth.

To his credit, Tillman has said all
along that he has approached this spring as a situation he must win, rather
than have it handed to him. The 21-year-old was visibly frustrated with
Friday’s performance, which was an 88-pitch outing that yielded two runs on
four walks and four hits. It’s worth noting that Tillman’s struggles came
against a Minnesota lineup that didn’t have the power bats of Justin Morneau
and Joe Mauer, two Twins who would certainly be in a regular-season game.

In five spring games, Tillman has
a 3.86 ERA, allowing seven earned runs over 16 1/3 innings. His
strikeout-to-walk ratio (9K/10BB) is a glaring statistic, particularly given
the fact that the Orioles have made it clear the kid gloves are off and they
won’t carry that extra 13th pitcher.

Trembley said prior to Monday’s game that the decision will come Tuesday, so both guys will know where they stand in the organization for their final start.

Could Tillman be left out?

Although it has been widely speculated that Chris Tillman
will be named the Orioles fifth starter out of Spring Training, manager Dave
Trembley and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail both said Saturday
that no decision has been made.

If anything, the decision has gotten tougher and more
multi-faceted as camp has progressed. Jason Berken and David Hernandez have
both turned in solid performances as of late, furthering speculation that
Tillman could start the season at Triple-A.

“The thing we try to impress on the kids is the obvious fact
that nobody uses the same 12 pitchers all year,” MacPhail said. “The beginning
of the season is just a snapshot in time.”

MacPhail said that Hernandez and Berken are “absolutely” still
in contention for the team’s fifth spot and acknowledged that the heated competition
has been a welcome one.

“What I was telling our staff is we got guys competing for
our spots and we don’t have spots competing for guys,” MacPhail said. “And that
is a pleasant development particularly as it relates to our pitching.”

Trembley has called the team’s bullpen competition a
dogfight, and following Hernandez’s five shutout innings on Saturday, he used a
similar comparison to describe what’s going on with the back end of the
rotation.

“I would say we’re going to go 15 rounds with it,”
Trembley said. “We’re going to go the distance and keep battling and keep
running these guys out here and try to make the right decision and the best
decision. Guys are answering the bell and they’re making it real tough for me.
And I like it.”

The Orioles schedule to open the 2010 season makes middle relievers, specifically long-inning men, a necessity. Since the team will go with a 12-man pitching staff this season having  flexibility in the bullpen, which a guy like Berken could potentially provide, is a must. A scenario such as April 8 and 9, where the team will play a night contest in Tampa before their home opener at 3 p.m. in Baltimore the next afternoon, puts extra emphasis on having guys who can toss multiple innings of relief.

Baltimore plays 16 straight games starting April 6 in Tampa Bay, which leaves no opportunity to skip a rotation slot since there are no off days. It also puts the O’s bullpen in a tough spot should a starter falter and force an early exit.  Berken, who tossed four scoreless innings to follow Tillman on Friday, has been stretched out this spring and could provide another option as a long relief or spot starter. Right now, the team’s only option in that role would be lefty Mark Hendrickson.

Hernandez thrust his name to the forefront of the No. 5 starter job with his most recent outing. He retired nine of the first 10 Red Sox batters he faced Saturday, allowing four hits over five scoreless innings with six strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to a 3.00 in the process and impressed Trembley with his tenacity and ability to escape several key jams -including a bases-loaded, no outs, scenario in the fourth.

Although he started the season pitching out of the ‘pen, Hernandez has capitalized on the recent opportunities he’s been given to start. He made his first appearance as a starter on March 16 and is 1-1 in two official spring starts, excluding a 75-pitch outing in a Minor League game last week.  In 15 innings, Hernandez has allowed five earned runs and has 20 strikeouts to three walks. He said Saturday he has not been given any indication as to where -or in what role — he will start the season.

“I’m just trying to go out there and do the best I can every performance,” Hernandez said.  “Whether it’s good enough or not, all I can say is I went out and gave it my best effort. And [Saturday] the results indicated that.”

To his credit, Tillman has said all along that he has approached this spring as a situation he must win, rather than have it handed to him. The 21-year-old was visibly frustrated with Friday’s performance, which was an 88-pitch outing that yielded two runs on four walks and four hits.  It’s worth noting that Tillman’s struggles came against a Minnesota lineup that didn’t have the power bats of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, two Twins who would certainly be in a regular season game. 

In five spring games, Tillman has a 3.86 ERA, allowing seven earned runs over 16 1/3 innings.  His strikeout-to-walk ratio (9k/10BB) is a glaring statistic, particularly given the fact that the Orioles have made it clear the kid gloves are off and they won’t carry that extra 13th pitcher.

Although Berken is still considered more of a long shot to swoop in for the fifth spot, he has pitched his way into recognition, particularly in that sorely-needed middle relief role.So far, he has not been stretched as far as the other two, but Berken has had a solid spring and certainly has built up enough arm strength to pitch for long stretches out of the ‘pen.

Berken has a 2.84 ERA this spring, with seven strikeouts against three walks.

The Matusz move & O's pitching news

A few more notes from Saturday’s pregame session with
manager Dave Trembley:

*Brian Matusz will pitch in a Minor League game on Monday,
with Alfredo Simon taking his spot against the Yankees. No real surprise here,
since the Orioles have tried to avoid running their starters out against
divisional foes. Kevin Millwood kicked off the Minors starts on Saturday and
the reasoning behind Jeremy Guthrie still throwing against the Blue Jays Sunday
is that he’s been in the AL East for a while now, so trying to “hide” Guthrie
isn’t really an option at this point.

*Trembley downplayed how important this start is Saturday for David
Hernandez.
While I blogged yesterday about the 5th rotation spot
basically being Tillman’s
, a strong showing by Hernandez against Boston’s regulars
would add some intrigue to the race. Especially given Tillman’s subpar outing
on Friday night, which included four walks.

*The backup catch job won’t be just handed to Chad Moeller.

“You’ll see [Craig] Tatum get a start, you’ll see Moeller
get a start,” Trembley said.  “You’ll see
that competition going down to the end, I believe.”

The Orioles like Tatum’s throwing arm, but Moeller carries
experience having been in the league -and particularly the AL East – for a
while. His locker is right next to Matt Wieters, which Andy MacPhail told me
earlier this spring is no coincidence. Much like Millwood, Moeller is expected
to help mentor and bring along the O’s promising young talent.

*Since snapping an 0-for-22 skid on Sunday, Nolan Reimold
has hit in four straight games. “Ty Cobb watch out,” Reimold joked of his
mini-streak.

In all seriousness, Reimold does appear to be running better
and Trembley said he talked to Nolan and told him he has to start showing that
he can run do certain things, such as play back-to-back games, steal a base,
etc. While he’s still not 100 percent, the Orioles can’t afford to baby him -and
essentially squander a roster spot – once the season starts.

Hernandez on his first start

David Hernandez made his first start this spring against the Minnesota Twins this afternoon — his fourth
appearance total — and told reporters afterwards “it felt really good to start.”

It looked pretty good in Fort Myers too, from what I was
told.*

Hernandez went 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk
and picking up a pair of strikeouts.

 

 “Anytime
you put up zeros on the board, you’re doing something right,” Hernandez said.
“I had pretty good fastball command today. I was able to throw it on both sides
of the plate. My slider was good. I threw about 10 changeups. I don’t think I
threw one for strikes, but going out there for my first three appearances, I
didn’t throw any changeups. So, today I felt like I wanted to go out there and
throw some in the game.”

Hernandez tossed 39 of his 58 pitches
for strikes and was pleased with where his stamina was, considering he’s been
pitching out of the bullpen. He said he wanted to finish the fourth inning, but
was on a 60-pitch limit.

With the Orioles rotation projected to
be Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman,
Hernandez -who made 19 starts for Baltimore last year – has been a little lost
in the shuffle. The organization could either elect to keep him as a starter
and send him to Triple-A or pitch Hernandez out of the bullpen.

 “I’m just going to go out there and try to put up zeros, and it
doesn’t matter if I’m starting or reliever,” Hernandez said. “I’d definitely
like to be a starter, but if they need me in the bullpen, then so be it. I’ll
be more than happy and I’ll be ready.”

*No, I was not slacking off. I was on Kevin Millwood duty. Check out his start here.

******

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