Results tagged ‘ Matt Wieters ’

Wieters update

Orioles athletic trainer Richard Bancells and manager Buck Showalter came out to check on catcher Matt Wieters at the start of the fifth inning. It’s unclear what happened, but Wieters flexed his right hand several times and took a few practice throws from reliever Mark Hendrickson.

He remained in the game and walked to open the bottom of the fifth. I’m sure Showalter will be asked about it post game, so I should have more details later on.

Also, Vladimir Guerrero just hit a two-out, two-RBI single to tie the game at three. We’re through six innings.

Os/Red Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*Brian Matusz was named AL Rookie of the Month for August. In six August starts, Matusz went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA (37.0IP, 10ER).

*Adam Jones and Corey Patterson are not in the starting lineup and both outfielders are pretty banged up. Jones has been dealing with upper back soreness and left last night’s game prior to taking his scheduled at-bat in the seventh, while Patterson has been getting treatment on his neck and shoulder area after crashing into the wall in Chicago and again in Anaheim. Manager Buck Showalter will try to stay away from both of them, with Nolan Reimold getting an outfield start. While Patterson said he could maybe pinch run, Jones is a little more beat up and may be out for another day or two.

*Double-A Bowie outfielder Xavier Avery was added to the Arizona Fall League roster and will join the O’s Scottsdale team.

*Oh, and Jake Arrieta shaved his mustache, which I know is a big deal around here. He also lost a bet with catcher Matt Wieters that he’d keep it til the end of the year and had to fork over some money to him this afternoon. 

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Felix Pie CF
Matt Wieters C
Nolan Reimold LF
Cesar Izturis SS
Josh Bell 3B

Brad Bergesen RHP

RED SOX LINEUP:
Marco Scutaro SS
JD Drew RF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jed Lowrie 2B
Mike Lowell 1B
Daniel Nava LF
Ryan Kalish CF

Daisuke Matsuzaka RHP
 

Os Reax to Showalter hiring

With the news that Buck Showalter has been named the Orioles manager, here are some reactions from inside the clubhouse today.

KEVIN MILLWOOD (who played under Showalter in Texas and remains in close contact with him)

[on his reaction to the hiring] “It’s going to take a lot more than a manager to get a team going in the right direction. I think Buck’s going to do a good job for us, he’s done a good job every where he’s been. It’s just going to be coming down to the simple point of guys buying into what he preaches.”
 
[on Showalter's no nonsense approach] “I think cutting back on some nonsense wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe just new blood around here, maybe that will help. Obviously, something needs to change and I think  [interim manager Juan Samuel] did a good job, but sometimes you got to take someone from the outside coming in to really make the kind of change that they need.”

It will definitely be nice to know who is going to be here for however long, and not worried about whether he’s getting fired at the end of the season and in the offseason. This season you are going to end up with him and you are going to go into Spring Training with him and probably have him for a while after that. So, a little stability goes a long way.”

MATT WIETERS

[on his initial reaction to the hiring of Showalter] “We’ve been hearing about it a lot over the last month or so we were certainly aware that the situation might happen. It’s something that it doesn’t really matter who the manager is, the players are going to have to play better and we’re all going to have to pull together and play better as a team. Maybe this will give us a more continuous face at the head.

I’ve loved both managers [Dave Trembley and Samuel] that I’ve had since I’ve been here, but now that I know that this guy is going to probably be here for a while. I never met the guy so I’m definitely going to be coming in with eyes wide open and see what he’s all about. It will be good that you’ll have a manager that’s probably going to be here for a long time.”

[on what he's heard about Showalter]: “He goes into places and he commands respect and he’s going to sort of preach his ways and the places that he’s been, he’s been able to turn around some teams and be successful. Everybody in this clubhouse wants to turn things around.”

BRIAN ROBERTS

[on his reaction] “First and foremost, you feel bad for the guys that came before him. I think we still feel bad for Dave and Juan’s done a great job filling in. I think always, the guys that have been around for a while, and the ones that have been here, you hope that they have a chance. We know now that it’s going to be Buck. I’ve heard good things. I heard he’s very prepared and certainly his reputation over the years is very good. He’s managed winning teams. Hopefully, it will be something good for us.”

[on Buck bringing some changes to the organization] “I’m sure he’s going to change some things. I think every manager is a little bit different. I don’t know how much can be changed. I don’t think any of us really know that at this point. I guess Millwood could give us a little bit of an idea of what’s coming. I think it’s just going to be something that we’re going to have to experience and see where he takes us.

[on finally knowing what's going to happen] “Direction, I think stability is always a good thing. I don’t think any organization, any company wants to be in an unstable place. Hopefully, this will bring some stability and hopefully this will be something that will be a lasting decision, and it will maybe go even beyond that. I think it’s a good starting point. When he gets here on Tuesday, we’ll see where we’re at.”

NICK MARKAKIS

“With the situation we are in, it is nice to know that we are going to have a permanent solution as far as the manager goes. It’s been tough, Juan’s been doing a good job, but the organization feels that we needed to have a long-term manager. And I think for the team and the organization it’s the right decision.”

[on what he knows about Showalter] “Nothing, never met him.  You hear what you hear but you don’t know what you are going to get until he talks to us, Tuesday. And we will go from there.”

JEREMY GUTHRIE

“I really don’t know anything about Buck other than I’ve heard a few players say they enjoyed playing for him. He expects a lot of his players, pays attention to details. That’s about the extent I’ve heard of him as a manager. I’m eager to see his knowledge of the game, just watching baseball tonight and ESPN programs. He has a tremendous track record, it’s probably one of the things that was most appealing to us in our situation is a guy who has been there and had a ton of success in his career.”

[on possible changes coming with Showalter as manager] “Yes I think he’s definitely here to change things. It makes sense for them to bring in fresh perspective, bring in a different attitude, someone who hasn’t necessarily been part of the orioles but has seen what we have gone through the past years. And try that approach. In the four years I’ve been here that’s an approach we haven’t taken yet. I can’t speak for [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] but I’m sure that’s part of what went into the decision making to bring Buck on board.”

[on finally having a long-term manager in place] “It will certainly provide stability and give us a foundation to start building off. As it is it feels like maybe we’ve been building kind of on a temporary foundation. But now Buck will arrive next week and he will begin his project of getting this team back where it should be.”

Os/Twins series opener and tidbits

*Brian Roberts was here and spoke to several reporters today about the ongoing speculation concerning his return. B-Rob has been pushing to come back and I’d be shocked if he wasn’t activated this weekend, probably even for Friday. As for the Toronto turf, he said it wasn’t that big of a deal as people make it, and was confident his back would hold up.
*Who goes for Roberts? Julio Lugo is the team’s only backup shortstop, a fact interim manager Juan Samuel confirmed prior to Thursday’s game. That pretty much puts the nail in the coffin for Scott Moore, who is out of options and will have to clear waivers first.
*Matt Wieters was out running the bases and still expects to be activated and ready for Sunday. Samuel said the other day he would probably insert Wieters right back into the lineup. With Craig Tatum playing so well and Jake Fox able to play multiple positions, who goes on this move is a much tougher call. I know Tatum is out of options, while Fox would have to clear waivers and might not make it through. Samuel said he wasn’t sure if the team can afford to carry three catchers. So stay tuned on that one.
*The Orioles would like to limit the second-half use of first-time relievers Jason Berken and David Hernandez. Particularly with Berken, –who ate up a lot of innings in the first half as the long man — the concern will be keeping them healthy and effective. Of course, a lot of this plan relies on the starters going more than 3 or 4 innings.
 

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Felix Pie LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Scott Moore 2B
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis SS
Kevin Millwood RHP

TWINS LINEUP:
Denard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Joe Mauer DH
Jason Kubel RF
Michael Cuddyer 1B
Delmon Young LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Punto 3B
Drew Butera C
Carl Pavano RHP

Orioles roster mania

BALTIMORE– The expected flurry of Orioles roster moves this week continued on Tuesday, with the news that right-hander Chris Tillman had been taken out of the rotation and optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk for the second time this season.

Interim Orioles manager Juan Samuel also confirmed that veteran Kevin Millwood will be activated from the 15-day disabled list (right forearm strain) and start Thursday’s game with the rest of the O’s rotation sliding back a day.

Baltimore is expecting to activate closer Michael Gonzalez -either following Wednesday’s game or early on Thursday – and the O’s could also add another arm prior to Wednesday’s game to take the spot vacated by Tillman. Matt Wieters (strained right hamstring) is expected to slide right into the lineup on Sunday, and Brian Roberts, who started a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie on Monday, could also be activated in the next few days, although the team is leaning toward having Roberts wait. Rookie infielder Josh Bell is expected to be a roster casualty and the team will have to make a few more to clear space.

Although the Orioles roster is in upheaval, president of baseball operations MacPhail said there is “nothing that would indicate” a trade in the next several days, to help free up some space. Beyond that, the Orioles are always discussing possibilities around this time of the year, particularly with veterans like Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada.

“We’re still trying to make the decision which way we’re going to go, whether it’s going to be a pitcher or a position player when all these guys come back,” Samuel said of the roster juggling. “I think Andy has got his hands full trying to figure out which way we’re going to go.”

With Roberts, he could possibly begin next week’s road series with the Orioles, but given his injury, a herniated disc in his lower back, Roberts would have to be used sparingly on Toronto’s artificial turf.

While MacPhail acknowledged that “Brian’s rather keen on getting it going,” the organization will reevaluate him on Thursday, when he takes a day off of rehab. Having Roberts play at the Rogers Centre surface -which is similar to the three straight games he started in Tampa Bay prior to reinjuring himself on the Orioles home opener – is hardly ideal and it could push him back another series.

“For me, the ideal place for [Roberts] is Kansas City,” Samuel said. “We have to be smart. We do not want to see him have a major setback. I’m sure he’s going to push his way into playing in Toronto, so we have to be smart with this.”

The Orioles also had to weigh the possibilities concerning sending Tillman back to Norfolk, in what is becoming a yo-yo year for the young righty. With Samuel and MacPhail both against a six-man rotation, Tillman -who allowed eight runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings in Monday’s loss – proved to be the odd man. The 22-year-old has struggled to find consistency at the Major League level -nearly pitching a no-hitter in his previous start at Texas-but given that he wasn’t going to throw again for five days, it was an easy choice to make room in the rotation. 

Millwood has been on the disabled list since July 6 with a strained right forearm and has seen a strong-first half collapse into a 10.20 ERA over his previous seven starts. Samuel said he was confident Millwood could return to his early-season form, and Millwood has attested since the All-Star break that his arm has felt much better.
 
The Orioles are equally optimistic about Gonzalez, who was placed on the 60-day DL (left shoulder strain) and used his full rehab assignment, which expires on Wednesday.

While Gonzalez has struggled in the Minor Leagues, Samuel thinks his concentration and focus will help improve his location -and results -when he rejoins the O’s.  Signed to a two-year deal this offseason to close games, Gonzalez appeared in just three games -including two blown saves – before landing on the DL and will be eased back into the later innings.

Orioles/Blue Jays lineups and pregame tidbits

*Josh Bell is in the starting lineup today in what will likely be his last game for the O’s. Luke Scott is expected to be activated tomorrow, and Bell is the obvious choice to go in his place.

*Corey Patterson was a late scratch from today’s game with a bruised left heel suffered while trying to beat out a bunt in the fourth inning. Felix Pie is playing instead and Patterson said it won’t be more than a day or two, max. The team may do an X-ray later today on his heel just to make sure.

*Matt Wieters (right hamstring strain) is feeling much better and said that he will be ready to come off the DL as soon as he is eligible. Wieters spent the All-Star break coming in for treatment every morning and is now just getting back into running and other baseball-related activities to test his hammy.

*Kevin Millwood is looking like he will be ready when eligible off the DL as well. Millwood has thrown a side and a bullpen with no pain and pitching coach Rick Kranitz said the team would evaluate Millwood following Sunday’s ‘pen. Millwood can come off the shelf on Wednesday and interim manager Juan Samuel said the team has not talked about going to a six-man rotation. It’s not looking like a favorable option because Samuel doesn’t like to keep “backing guys up”, so someone will have to go. Brad Bergesen is Wednesday’s starter.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Felix Pie LF
Miguel Tejada DH
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Jake Fox C
Scott Moore 2B
Josh Bell 3B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brian Matusz LHP

Wieters to DL

BALTIMORE– The Orioles placed catcher Matt Wieters on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring on Thursday, a move that is retroactive to July 10.

Wieters came out of Friday’s game in Texas after stumbling around second base, and did not play the rest of the weekend. Interim manager Juan Samuel told reporters in Arlington that the organization hoped the four days during the All-Star break was enough to quell the recurring injury, which Wieters tweaked the prior series in Detroit.

Now, it appears Wieters will need more time, making backup catcher Craig Tatum the likely choice to assume the bulk of playing time behind the plate.  The O’s recent trade for utility man Jake Fox, who can also catch, will help spell Tatum if needed.

Still, the injury to Wieters is a big blow for an-already beleaguered Baltimore club. The 24-year-old switch-hitter was a mainstay in the Orioles lineup and was batting.245 (66-for-269) with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 77 games. Wieters’ defense has been much improved under the tutelage of new bench coach Jeff Datz and he was beginning to put it together at the plate, posting a .313 average in his last 10 games.

Baltimore will announce a corresponding roster move prior to Friday’s series opener against Toronto.

Bergesen's day

Brad Bergesen had a rough outing in his first start back since being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk for the second time this season.  When asked after the Orioles 6-5 win if Bergesen would get to make his next start interim manager Juan Samuel said, at this point, yes.

“He only gave us 4 innings,” Samuel said. “He needs to throw his bullpen. As it is now, yes, he is going to get his next start. You hope he can relax and give us some innings next time.”

After throwing 36 pitches through the first two frames, Bergesen tossed 29 in the third, allowing four runs and putting the Orioles in an early hole for the second time in less than 24 hours.

He issued a leadoff walk to No. 9 batter Ian Desmond, and plunked Cristian Guzman one out later. Ryan Zimmerman’s ball found a hole on the left side of the infield, with Cesar Izturis making a great back-handed stop but couldn’t throw to third in time. Izturis’ play was one of several just-misses for the Orioles, who weren’t charged with any errors but had several chances to get out of the inning.

Bergesen allowed another run in the fourth inning and hasn’t allowed less than four earned runs in a start since he held Kansas City to three runs over 6 2/3 on May 17.

“We still didn’t see a whole lot of sink, and we know he needs that,” Samuel said.  “He needs to sink the ball. We saw some earlier in the game, but as the game went on his pitches started staying up. He needs to get his sinker back. That’s how he’s going to have success.”
Bergesen said he felt like he had a decent sinker for most of the game, but had a few mistakes that proved costly.

“I felt like I had all my pitches, I felt like my arm angle was good,” Bergesen said. “But really that leadoff walk in the third inning and then that pitch to Dunn were really my two big mistakes.”

“He didn’t have it all the time [on Saturday], but he showed signs of the old Bergy sinker,” catcher Matt Wieters said.  “Especially when we’d go away from left-handers. We’ve got to get back to where we can throw it into right-handers as well. It will come.”

Bergesen is 3-4 with a 6.83 ERA in 13 games and has had two separate stints in Triple-A Norfolk to work on reestablishing his sinker. While Samuel said Bergesen is in line to make his next start, it’s something to keep an eye on. He is next scheduled to pitch against Boston at Fenway Park, and if he’s not right that could be an ugly game, damaging to the Orioles and to Bergesen’s confidence.

Posada on Wieters' struggles: "it's going to make him better".

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada knows how brutal the American League East can be.  With a heavily decorated 16-year career, Posada said the biggest task facing young Orioles backstop Matt Wieters is learning to make adjustments.

“It’s probably the toughest thing to learn,” Posada said.  “When you are back there behind the plate, obviously your number one priority is the pitcher, the defense, and [Wieters is] doing a hell of a job. I think he needs to understand that.
 
And he’s going to hit. [But] He’s got to understand that his priority is behind the plate. He’s going through some tough adjustments at the plate. He cannot let it affect what he’s doing behind the plate, and he’s doing a great job, I don’t think it’s affecting him one bit. He looks great behind the plate.”

Wieters has struggled at the plate for most of the season, but he has been making an effort to shorten his swing and get on top of the ball. He said on Tuesday that he felt confident in his work in the batting cages with hitting coach Terry Crowley and he’s put together a nice pair of games, going 4-for-9 with a double and an RBI, in the first two games against the Yankees.
“It’s a tougher time the second time around [the Major Leagues], the third, it’s just going to make him better,” Posada said. ” It’s going to make him a better player.”

While some have speculated that the 24-year-old Wieters might have been overhyped, Posada didn’t see it that way.
 
“No, the sky’s the limit,” Posada said of Wieters’ potential. “He’s going to be a good player. He looks strong, he looks good. And he’s going to be there for a while.”

Wieters' Swing

In talking to catcher Matt Wieters about the hype surrounding his debut (to go with Tuesday’s much-anticipated arrival of Stephen Strasburg) I worked in a few questions about his struggles at the plate. Wieters snapped an 0-for-20 skid with a ninth-inning double on Sunday, but his poor performance at the plate has been pretty glaring for most of the season.

A lot of people have said the younger guys are pressing or struggling to make adjustments as the League catches up to them. For Wieters, it’s a matter of adjusting his swing so he doesn’t react to a pitch too early.

“You try to shorten it as much as possible,” Wieters said. “Where you can wait as long as you can for the ball to get there.”

Wieters said he’s been working on that in the batting cages and during BP and is confident he will start to turn things around. As I write this blog post, he’s singled in his first two at-bats off Phil Hughes, driving in the Orioles first run with that second hit.

One of the things interim manager Juan Samuel has made clear is that he will be giving Wieters more rest days behind the plate, in an effort to get his offense going and to keep his legs fresh.

“I knew I was going to get more rest as the season got on and it got hotter,” Wieters said.

“Juan played for a long time so he needs what it can be like, to be playing every day to get the blows when you need it. But ill be ready to go any time he puts me in the lineup, and any off days is fine with me too.”

I know a lot of Orioles fans are disappointed in Wieters’ production this year, but keep in mind he’s been in the big leagues for just over a year and he’s only 24 years old.
 
“It’s a learning process whether you have a short career or a long career, you are going to be learning the whole time through,” Wieters said. “But that’s the thing is you get your first year out of the way, you realize this is a career, it’s not something I am just going to go out there and play for a couple years, you are going to go out there and play as hard as you can and work as hard as you can. That’s going to allow you to succeed for a long time.”
 

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