Results tagged ‘ Nick Markakis ’

Eutaw Street Promotion is back

The Orioles announced on Tuesday
that they are bringing back the popular Eutaw Street promotion, presented by
Home Savings of America and Southwest Airlines.

On five 2110 Eutaw Street dates,
fans can purchase a Eutaw Street Bleacher seat and a limited edition 2110 Eutaw
Street t-shirt for $21.  What’s new for this season is each game will feature a
different t-shirt design. 

In addition, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones
will toss baseballs into the stands throughout the game, autographed t-shirts
will be tossed into the section during one inning break, and for every home run
hit by Markakis or Jones in that day’s game, one lucky fan in the section will
receive a bat autographed by the player who hit the homer. 

This year’s 2110 Eutaw
Street dates are Sunday, May 16; Sunday, June 27; Saturday, July 24; Sunday,
August 8; and Saturday, September 4.

 Tickets for 2110
Eutaw Street are on sale now while supplies last at www.orioles.com or by
calling 1-888-848-BIRD. 

Back to Basics: Trembley Emphasizing Bunts

It’s not a usual sight to see Nick Markakis bunting in the batting cage, but that’s exactly what the Orioles right fielder was doing for a portion of Wednesday’s workout. Unlike Spring Trainings of the past, manager Dave Trembley has gone out of his way to emphasize bunting in the Orioles daily camp routine.  Trembley said the bunting station, which is done in the two netted cages, is one of five rotations the position players go to out on the field.

“I’m trying to add some things here that will be an emphasis on the team, and allowing us to be in a position to win more games,” Trembley said. “It’s the little things that obviously were prominent that might not have gotten done the way we wanted to get it done last year. So, let’s brush up on it in Spring Training, but lets also emphasize the importance of it.”

When a team is winning and fundamentally sound, you never hear about these little things. But, as Trembley pointed on Wednesday, when the fundamentals go by the wayside like the Orioles’ did at times last year, it becomes a sore spot.

“I take it real personal because I’ve made my bread and butter on being a guy that has taught fundamentals and been an instructor and a teacher and has emphasized that being a part of the game,” Trembley said. “And I think sometimes when you get to this level, it’s not done the way you want it to get done. 

“I told the ballclub [Tuesday], ‘I’ve got to do things better, I’ve got to make it better for them. And so I’m going to ask their cooperation.”

 *The Orioles also spent a good chunk of Wednesday’s workout defending the bunt, with all the pitchers and corner infielders getting in some work. Mark Hendrickson’s move got him a glowing recommendation from Trembley, who raved: “that’s how it’s done”.

*Half of the team’s staff, except for Chris Tillman  threw a short bullpen session before going out to throw live batting practice. Trembley said the rest of the pitchers will throw on Thursday, and Brad Bergesen will also throw the first of what’s expected to be his final two flat ground sessions.

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.”
 

If you're a numbers person

Quick note on this morning’s workout, it’s cloudy and overcast, but I will do my best to get more pictures up via Twitter. But by forewarned, there’s some pretty tedious pitchers fielding practice and bunt plays on the agenda for today.

Baseball Prospectus has been putting up their predictions for each division, which mostly relies on the use of PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm). It’s basically a sabermetric system for forecasting  Major League Baseball player performance. BP combines each player’s performance with projected playing-time forecasts to project the standings.

You can find the whole story here, but here’s the bit that concerns the O’s…


Baltimore Orioles

Projected record: 79-83 (4th in the AL East)
 

Why They Might Win: In any other division, the Orioles would probably be a contender. Although this probably isn’t the year they put it all together, they are tantalizingly close to a return to respectability. They are projected to score 781 runs–fifth in the AL, but fourth in the East. The outfield of Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Nolan Reimold might be the best in the division. Starters Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman could have breakouts in their first full major-league seasons.

Why They Might Not Win: Their starting pitching is not yet where it needs to be. Kevin Millwood isn’t as good as his ERA made him seem last year, so PECOTA projects Brad Bergesen to be the Orioles’ starter with the lowest ERA at 4.40. This is not a formula for success.

Player Who Could Surprise: Jones started last year strong (.303/.357/.481 before the All-Star break), but cooled in the second half. PECOTA thinks he can do it all season this year, pegging him for .294/.350/.501. Even more noteworthy is his high “Breakout” score, which suggests a good probability that his production will improve by at least 20 percent over his established level of performance.

Player Who Could Disappoint: Millwood, despite a superficially strong ERA last season, has lost the ability to strike out batters at a high rate. PECOTA sees the writing on the wall and projects him for a pedestrian 4.71 ERA and just 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

So what do you think?

—–

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.

–Brittany

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.
 

 

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