Results tagged ‘ Mark Hendrickson ’

Welcome to the Offseason

The San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions. I’m not sure how I feel about that just yet. Anyways, as soon as the last pitch was recorded 142 players filed for free agency. Here are the Orioles names, including Mark Hendrickson who has a club option that will be declined.

Of the names, Cesar Izturis and Ty Wigginton have the best chance of coming back although that depends on where the O’s find that big power bat. Even so, the team is not expected to sign any of their free agents in the newly-shortened five-day window. That means come Sunday the free agent market will really get going with other clubs allowed to negotiate. Here are the former Orioles who will hit the market…..

Cesar Izturis, SS
Julio Lugo, 2B BA
Kevin Millwood, SP
Corey Patterson OF
Koji Uehara  RP
Ty Wigginton, INF

Mark Hendrickson, RP

First and foremost the Orioles need a power bat, preferably one who plays a corner infield spot. Here are the 2011 first base free agents, with their age, according to the wonderful website MLB Trade Rumors:

Garrett Atkins (31)
Lance Berkman (35) – Type B
Russell Branyan (35) – $5MM mutual option
Jorge Cantu (29)
Adam Dunn (31) – Type A
Troy Glaus (34)
Eric Hinske (33)
Aubrey Huff (34) – Type B
Nick Johnson (32)
Paul Konerko (35) – Type A
Mark Kotsay (35)
Adam LaRoche (31) – $7.5MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout -Type B
Derrek Lee (35) – Type A
Melvin Mora (39)
Xavier Nady (32)
Lyle Overbay (34)
Carlos Pena (33) – Type B
Robb Quinlan (34)
Fernando Tatis (36)
Mike Sweeney (37)

*First and foremost, not a lot of power jumps off on this list. It’s not the Orioles only option (we’ll spend time looking at third base and shortstop options as well), but it’s a pretty uninspiring group given that the O’s want a middle-of-the-order bat. Do you take a gamble of Pena, who had a career-low year and struggled to bat .200? I’ve been told that Adam Dunn has no interest in coming here –he also prefers to play the field–, and according to, the Diamondbacks will make signing Konerko an “offseason priority”. Huff was dealt away once, I’d be shocked if president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail made a serious effort to bring him back.  Berkman and Johnson struggled with injuries and declining numbers.
*Wigginton is also on this list, but resigning him hardly feels like a free agent acquisition so I took him off. He’s always an option, especially given that manager Buck Showalter loves hard-nosed players like Wiggy. 

*You can also note the line through Garrett Atkins’ name. No, he’s not retiring, but the Orioles definitely won’t gamble on him again. Look for Atkins who said he is open to signing a Minor League deal, to go back to the National League and hope to revive his career much like a Pat Burrell case.

*This blog is by no means meant to be exhaustive, just thought I’d get the Hot Stove talk started. I’m working on an inbox for later this week, so feel free to send your Orioles offseason questions my way. The Orioles Free Agent preview will be up later on the site and should help get the discussions going. Should be an interesting winter…

Follow me on Twitter for instant updates on the O’s.

Big Smooth

Lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson was one of a few bright spots in Friday’s loss, giving the Orioles three scoreless innings of middle relief. Hendrickson entered after starter Kevin Millwood and collected the final out of the sixth before going on to strike out the next four Rays in a row.

The 36-year-old Hendrickson has turned in scoreless outings in eight of nine appearances under manager Buck Showalter and it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“When you’re with him, you understand exactly why people have wanted him around and what he allows you to do as a manager as far as versatility,” Showalter said of Hendrickson, who has been used a starter and reliever this season.

“There’s a reason they call him “smooth.” He understands it. He understands what he’s here for and how he can stay in the Major Leagues. He’s mature.  Sometimes, I wish some of our young pitchers would listen to him even more than they do. He carries a voice of wisdom here.”

Hendrickson is a free agent at the end of the season if the Orioles don’t pick up his option, and the organization will have a tough decision. Sure, his spot could be filled by a younger arm with an eye on the future, but how much does Hendrickson’s veteran presence and consistency factor in? You know what you are going to get with Hendrickson and the Os young arms have all spoken highly of what he’s done for them.

Jason Berken in particular credited Hendrickson for helping him make the transition from a starter to the ‘pen this season.

Samuel said no demotion for Matusz

Interim manager Juan Samuel said there has been no talk of a demotion for 23-year-old Brian Matusz, who lasted a season-low 1 2/3 innings on Sunday afternoon. Matusz allowed six earned runs and threw just 52 pitches to mark the shortest stint of his career.

Samuel said sending Matusz to Norfolk –which is what the team has done with Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman at different points this season — is not in his mind, and he made it clear on a follow-up question that the case was closed.

As for the long chat he had when he removed Matusz, Samuel said it wasn’t injury-related. He just wanted to know how Brian was feeling.

“I was basically asking him if he was uncomfortable on the mound today,” Samuel said. “He said he felt like he was yanking, pulling the ball too much there.”

Matusz joins teammate Jeremy Guthrie for the most losses in the American League, and is now 3-10 with a 5.21 ERA. It’s a far cry from the predictions this spring, with scouts raving about his Grapefruit League showing and several national outlets pegging Matusz as a leading candidate for American League Rookie of the Year.

Matusz has lost more games (12) in 27 outings for Baltimore than his entire collegiate career at the University of San Diego, where he lost just nine games in 45 starts (48 total outings.) Samuel said the Orioles hope the losing won’t have any damaging mental effects on Matusz in the long term.

“Well we are hoping that will not be the case,” Samuel said. “He’s a tough young guy, he’s got a lot of confidence.”

Tillman on track for Saturday

A lot can change, but it appears Chris Tillman will make Saturday’s start in Texas. Given the Orioles overused bullpen the first two games in Detroit, using long man Mark Hendrickson would leave only one long man, Jason Berken for a four-game set against a lethal Rangers lineup.

Tillman is already on track to make that start for Norfolk, so he would be able to stay on schedule. Plus, it would afford the Orioles a full bullpen to work with. In three starts since his demotion, Tillman is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA and
has allowed just 10 hits and five walks while striking out 13 in 21 2/3
innings. He’s dominated at Triple-A and would learn more –not to mention be significantly challenged — at the Major League level.

“He’s [scheduled to pitch] right on that day. It makes sense,” pitching coach Rick Kranitz said of tabbing Tillman for Saturday. “We need some length in the bullpen is what we need, we pushed Berken and [David] Hernandez back, to the end of the game, and if Hendrickson then becomes a starter we don’t have a lot of length. It makes more sense that he would come up and pitch for us.”

While Tillman has struggled in the big leagues this season, going 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in four starts, Kranitz isn’t worried about him losing confidence.

“I think the experience is invaluable,” Kranitz said of bringing up young guys like current O’s starter Jake
and Tillman rather than letting them dominate for Norfolk.
“Obviously you don’t want them to get beat up [in the Majors] but you
got to be a tough guy up here.”

“I’ve seen it before, guys will go down [to Triple-A] and pitch pretty well and come up and maybe scuffle a little bit. But that’s part of the process. [Tillman] will put it together, it’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later hes going to come up here and its going to click. And he will say, ‘Ok, I don’t have to give these guys as much credit as I have.'”

Heaping praise for Hendrickson

The Orioles did all the little things right in Tuesday’s win and got two solid innings of middle relief from big lefty Mark Hendrickson. In the wake of injuries to reliever Koji Uehara and closer Alfredo Simon, manager Dave Trembley told Hendrickson -typically the team’s long man – that he will be now be used in the later innings as well.

“He came to [pitching coach Rick] Kranitz before the game today and said, ‘With [Simon] being out, does my role change?’ And we told him, ‘Yeah, you’ll probably be used later in the game.'” Trembley said.  “And he said, ‘OK, I’m ready for it.’ He did a real nice job. The ball was down, he had good two-seam and he had good extension on his pitches.”
“That’s the best Hendrickson has pitched all year.”

The guy nicknamed Big Smooth by his teammates seemed to cruise through his two scoreless innings, throwing 21 pitches (14 for strikes) and allowing just one hit.
“I’m not going to lie. I loved the situation. I loved the opportunity to come in with the lead late in the game,” Hendrickson said. “I think I just tried to pitch accordingly.”

“If you look at the way I came in and the way Will [Ohman] came in, it seemed like we were just coming in being aggressive, trusting our stuff and accomplishing some zeroes after we had taken the lead. That’s important and that’s something we really haven’t done a good job of. I think tonight we excelled in pretty much every facet, which is nice to see.”

Given that Orioles bullpen now consists of Frank Mata, who is in the big leagues for the first time, and David Hernandez (who has never been a reliever) having a seasoned guy like Hendrickson is a big boost. I know in talking to Jason Berken earlier this season that Hendrickson has been extremely helpful in his successful transition to the ‘pen.

Hopefully, Hendrickson can continue to help the young guys and build on outings like Tuesday.

Why not Tillman or Arrieta's turn?

I’ve gotten a bunch of emails and tweet questions about the Orioles decision to go with Mark Hendrickson for Sunday’s spot start instead of recalling top pitching prospects Jake Arrieta or Chris Tillman. If you haven’t already read it, David Hernandez was scratched from the start and is day-to-day with left shoulder discomfort.
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said there was no thought to bring up a Minor League pitcher, saying he preferred to keep it in-house for one start.

There are a few factors that went into the decision starting with…
1)    Neither Tillman or Arrieta were on schedule to start Sunday. If you’re a loyal blog reader  — and if you aren’t, you should be😉 – you’d know that both of them just pitched on the 14th and 15th.  They each took a loss for the Tides against Buffalo.
2)    While Tillman is on the team’s 40 man roster, Arrieta is not, meaning it would require some shuffling to add him to the roster and possibly cost the Orioles a player.
3)    Hernandez fully expected to make this start. The final decision didn’t come down until Saturday night and yanking Tillman or Arrieta out of upstate New York for a late flight to make their season (or in Arrieta’s case, professional) debut isn’t ideal.
4)    Mark Hendrickson has good numbers against Cleveland. He entered Sunday 1-0 in five games (four starts) against the Indians, with a 4.38 ERA.

With all that being said, if Hernandez develops into a DL scenario it certainly changes things in regards to who the Orioles use in that fifth spot. This is an interesting situation and one to keep an eye on. While Trembley was confident Hernandez would start Friday, the right-hander was less certain. I don’t doubt that Hernandez wants to pitch -especially against an opponent that’s not the Yankees or Red Sox – but shoulder injuries can linger.

You get the sense in talking to Hernandez that he knows he doesn’t have a lot of rope here, with both Arrieta and Tillman lurking in Norfolk.

Here are Tillman and Arrieta’s Triple-A numbers:
CHRIS TILLMAN 3-4 3.83 in 8 GS, 36 K, 9 BB
JAKE ARRIETA 3-2, 2.20 ERA in 8 GS, 39 K, 28 BBs

Hernandez injured/Hendrickson to start

BALTIMORE–Orioles starter David Hernandez has been scratched from Sunday’s series finale with discomfort in his right shoulder.

Hernandez said he has been dealing with the issue for the last two weeks, bringing it to the team’s attention following his last start against Seattle because for the first time he felt a pinch in shoulder while on the hill. Hernandez will be replaced on Sunday with long reliever Mark Hendrickson and said there is no plan right now to undergo an MRI or do anything besides rest.

The 25-year-old Hernandez has lost his last 11 decisions, which is the longest active streak in the Major Leagues and the second-longest streak in O’s history, behind Mike Boddicker’s 13 in the late 1980s. The 25-year-old has a 9.64 ERA in his last two starts.

Where's Jason Berken been?


Well if they Orioles had tied the game last night, Jason Berken would have been in the game. Manager Dave Trembely had Berken warming up in the ninth inning in case that scenario became a reality, but the Orioles fell just short of a full comeback.

Berken who last pitched Monday in Seattle, is one of the most rested arms in the Orioles beleaguered bullpen. Prior to Monday, his last outing was April 14. But his minimal usage has been more of a result of the team’s good starting pitching, rather than Berken’s performance.

In his first season in the long relief role, Berken has allowed just two earned runs in four games, sporting a 1.50 ERA.

“I think coming to the field every day thinking I have a chance to pitch is a good thing for me,” Berken said.  “Overall, I feel like it’s been good [in the bullpen].

“One thing I’ve noticed, and Mark [Hendrickson] has talked to me about it, when I’m getting ready as a starter I tend to analyze my pitches a little more because I have more time to think about it. When I’m in the ‘pen, It’s kind of you are just trying to get loose you don’t really analyze your pitches or your location more or less, you are just trying to get loose and get in there.”

Berken’s longest outing has been a five-inning stint following  Brad Bergesen’s start on April 14 against Tampa Bay. He estimated he’s stretched out about to about 75 pitches, and if Bergesen fails to get back on track, Berken is a candidate to make a spot start May 1.

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said Berken and Hendrickson are both options to get Saturday’s start, although the team would prefer to have Bergesen get on track and leave the pair of long men in the ‘pen.  Hendrickson and Berken have been the Orioles most consistent relievers and Trembley is hesitant to tinker with that.

“My choice has always been if you have someone who is doing well in an area, leave him alone, leave him there, don’t put him in another spot where you are unsure what he’ll do,” Trembley said.  But if the need arises and [Berken] would have to do it I am sure he would give you what he has, he’s that kind of guy. I would prefer to leave him where he is.”

A converted starter who pitched several times in relief this spring, Berekn made the Opening Day roster as the team’s second long man, and has said all along that he’s happy to fill any role.

“It’s clichéd but whatever they want me to do ill do,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the pen so far and if that’s where they need me, that’s fine with me.”

Fenway Finale

Opening day 029.jpg

Greetings from Fenway’s finale,
where the Orioles look to salvage a game and snap a five-game skid in the
process. This will be Tim Wakefield’s last start before moving to the bullpen
to clear a spot for Dice-K (who has been on the DL with a neck strain). David
will oppose Wakefield, and like every Orioles starter not named Brian
, he’s hoping to get his first win.

*Nolan Reimold is batting leadoff for the first time in his Major
League career. “Now, I just need to bat 9th and I’m all set,”
Reimold said. Yes, the lineup’s been shuffled that much lately.   A patient hitter by nature, Reimold said he
will steal if the position presents itself, pointing out his one stolen base
this spring.

*Rhyne Hughes is starting again today after an impressive two-hit
Major League debut. Manager Dave Trembley
noted that Hughes didn’t seem overwhelmed by the moment Saturday night and when
I talked to him briefly this morning he had the same ear-to-ear grin he’s been sporting

*For what Garrett Atkins thinks
about being bench for Hughes, check out my story yesterday. This is an
interesting situation to keep an eye on…

*Down in Triple-A Brad Bergesen will try to get back on
track and make his first start for Norfolk.  The Orioles are hoping he can get his
confidence back, refind his sinker and make that May 1 start. If not, they
could use either long men Jason Berken
or Mark Hendrickson to make a spot
start, or call up a guy like Jake Arrieta. That scenario isn’t likely since
they don’t really want to mess with Arrieta’s development, but it’s not something
I would rule out, either.


Nolan Reimold LF
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 2B
Rhyne Hughes 1B
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis SS

David Hernandez RHP


Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortiz DH
JD Drew RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Jonathan Van Every CF

Tim Wakefield RHP


  • camdenyards.jpg

After an eventful win last night, welcome to the beginning of baseball at Camden Yards. In my mad dash to get here from my Southwest flight this morning, I forgot the USB cord for  my camera. So, I apologize for that. And you will have pictures later on. For now, I give you Trembley:

been looking forward to this day for a long time, and I’m sure it will be an
exciting day for all of us,” manager Dave Trembley said. ” It’s a day that you anticipate. I think the more
you get an opportunity you do this, you understand the amount of work and
effort and energy that goes into making something like this possible.”

*Trembley talked a little pregame about starter Brad Bergesen deserving to get the nod in today’s home opener. In case you missed it, I wrote a feature on Bergesen on the site today, you can read that here

*Felix Pie will start one of these three games. He’s doing baseball-related activities today and is progressing well. 

*Closer Mike Gonzalez is available, but Trembley would like to stay away from using lefty specialist Will Ohman, who has appeared in the last three games. Look for Mark Hendrickson instead.

*As expected B-Rob is in the lineup for a 4th straight game. What a champ. Here’s hoping he builds on last night’s two hits.



Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott LF
Matt Wieters C
Nolan Reimold DH
Garrett Atkins 1B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brad Bergesen RHP


Jose Bautista RF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Adam Lind DH
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
John Buck C
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Travis Snider LF
John McDonald 2B

Brandon Morrow RHP