Results tagged ‘ Rick Kranitz ’

Kranitz to Brewers

Former Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz is back in the big leagues. The Brewers officially relieved Rick Peterson of his duties on Monday and didn’t waste any time naming Kranitz as his successor.

Kranitz was recently hired as the Minor League pitching coordinator for the Houston Astros, but obviously was able to leave for a spot in the big leagues again. The announcement was made per a team press release and includes this interesting fact: Kranitz pitched for five seasons in the Brewers’ farm system after being
selected by Milwaukee in the fourth round of the 1979 draft.

Talk about coming full circle. Good for Kranny.

Source: Presley expected to sign with Os (updated)

With Tuesday’s news that longtime Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley will move to a hitting evaluator position, a Major League source said on Friday that he expects Jim Presley to soon sign a two-year deal to become manager Buck Showalter’s hitting coach in Baltimore.

Presley was also in the running to join new Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez’s staff. He served as Gonzalez’s hitting coach in Florida, but the Braves are thought to be pursuing other candidates.

Showalter would not confirm or deny that Presley was in line to be hired, but told on Friday afternoon that Presley -who reportedly is in the mix for several organizations — is on a very short list of candidates, a list which he expects to close in on in the coming days.

A Major League player for eight seasons, Presley worked with Showalter as the hitting coach in Arizona from the D-backs’ inaugural 1998 season until 2000. He became the Marlins’ hitting coach in ’06 and was dismissed on June 23, along with Gonzalez and bench coach Carlos Tosca. A former American League All-Star, Presley was long rumored to be a candidate to join Showalter’s staff, along with Rick Down, Showalter’s hitting coach in New York and Astros Minor League hitting coordinator Mike Barnett.

The Orioles’ offense finished next-to-last among American League teams this season in runs scored, and spent the first two-thirds of the year ranked near the bottom of the Majors in batting average with runners in scoring position, RBIs and walks.

Crowley’s newly created role will involve him working closely with the Minor League side of the organization and applying the 63-year-old’s expertise in areas including scouting and the First-Year Player Draft. He has spent the past 12 seasons as the Orioles’ hitting coach and has been with the organization for two separate stints totaling 16 years. The O’s have yet to make an official announcement on Crowley’s new post, although he has also been tabbed by Showalter to give his input on his successor.

Both Showalter and Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail will be present for the organizational meetings, which are slated to begin on Monday in Phoenix. And although MacPhail said it would be “pretty ambitious” to reach a final decision on staffing over the weekend, he did tell on Wednesday that the organization will have a pretty good idea where things stand by then.  Showalter, who will meet with MacPhail back in Baltimore on Saturday, reiterated that sentiment on Friday.

When the Orioles do make an announcement, it will most likely be for Showalter’s entire staff. The four vacant managerial openings around the League has slowed that process, with former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu — a rumored favorite to serve as Showalter’s bench coach –believed to be in the running for one of those positions.

In addition to Crowley, Showalter inherited pitching coach Rick Kranitz, bench coach Jeff Datz, bullpen coach Alan Dunn, first-base coach John “T-Bone” Shelby and third-base coach Gary Allenson. Rangers special assistant Mark Connor is believed to be the leading candidate to join Showalter’s staff as pitching coach, although Kranitz -who is also in the mix to join Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi — is thought highly of by Showalter and could still be retained.

 It is possible Showalter keeps several of the coaches on staff, although it could require a change in roles. He has also made it clear that he wants to retain the old “Oriole Way,” making it plausible to give expanded roles to former players, including Minor League offensive coordinator Mike Bordick, who is expected to be at next week’s organizational meetings along with a good portion of next spring’s coaching staff.

More quotes on the ejections

As you may have read, the Orioles had a trio of ejections — first baseman Ty Wigginton, pitching coach Rick Kranitz and interim manager Juan Samuel — that went down in the seventh innings of Thursday’s 5-0 loss to the Twins. The fully story is up, and you can read it here.

Here are some more quotes on that..

Ty Wigginton, who was ejected for arguing a call which first base umpire Gary Darling later admitted he got wrong…

“I don’t think they’ll be anything other than a normal ejection. In baseball you’ve got the option of questioning a call, and he ejected me for questioning a call.

“You get the leadoff guy on [in J.J. Hard] and he goes first pitch and we get him hung out to dry. I felt he was out. Getting that leadoff guy out would be a big part in the game. You’re four runs down, that’s one swing of the bat and it’s a tie ballgame.

“[First base umpire Gary Darling] said I missed him. I felt he was out. We’re in last place, and anytime you’re in last place there’s a lot of frustration in the season. Obviously that’s not where we wanted to be. Frustration is all part of the game.”

Rick Kranitz who was ejected one out after Wigginton for his actions on the bench when Hardy scored…

“I didn’t say anything [to get ejected]. I sarcastically clapped in the way that the umpire, I guess [home plate ump] Bill Hohn took offense to. Yeah you know I shouldn’t have done that. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but you know, you get frustrated. Especially when Kevin [Millwood has] been on the mound, crazy things have happened when he pitched. And he was on a pretty good roll on the time, it was reaction, shouldn’t have happened.”

“Sure there’s frustration. I think anytime you are not winning ball games, as many as we think we should be winning. [Twins starter Carl] Pavano had that game in hand, obviously. That call didn’t change the outcome of the game by any stretch of the imagination. It was just frustration on everybody’s part. I think we’re all tired of losing some ball games. And when something happens and it doesn’t go our way, you say and do things you shouldn’t do.”

“I was a little bit surprised with [the ejection.] Yeah, I am. I’m surprised.”

Juan Samuel who was ejected for sticking up for Kranitz…

 “We thought Wiggy tagged [Hardy] not once but twice. Gary after watching the replay probably will admit it was a blown call. Unfortunately, he didn’t go out way. Basically Kranny didn’t do anything to get thrown out o the game, so I guess emotions were very high tonight. And as a result, we saw what happened.”
(oh really?): “I don’t think I was angry tonight. I just didn’t think Kranny deserved to be thrown out. He did not do anything basically to deserve being thrown out. I don’t know if they know that they blew the call and fuses were very short.”
“Kranny didn’t say anything. That’s what I was trying to tell Bill Hohn. Kranny did not say anything. I was trying to tell him. How can you blame Kranny when one of your guys blew the call? Kranny didn’t deserve that. He didn’t miss the call.”
“I did not see Wiggy touch [Darling]. I did not see a replay. I did not see any video. I was just trying to make sure we didn’t do something that we would not be proud of. I was trying to restrain him a little bit. I did not see Wiggy touch him.”

Umpire Bill Hohn on Kranitz..

“I ejected him for his actions on the bench, is the reason why he got ejected. He knows the reason why he got ejected. You saw what he did on the field.”

Umpire Gary Darling, who said Wigginton bumped him in the chest during his tirade…

“I will send in my report to the league and they make the decision on anything.”
Darling also admitted Hardy was out..

“We looked at it, [Wigginton] missed him the first time and on a close play, he got him the second time it looked like. It was a close play.”

J.J. Hardy

“I thought I was [safe] until I saw the replay…I just got done talking to [Wigginton] and it seemed like he was in a pretty good mood. I think maybe we were talking about the weather before that pitch and he said it’s been really hot and then the next thing I know, he’s up in Darling’s face.”

Os Trio Tossed (w. quotes)

BALTIMORE– Orioles first baseman Ty Wigginton, pitching coach Rick Kranitz and interim manager Juan Samuel were all ejected Thursday night at separate points of an ugly seventh inning that ended in a 5-0 Twins win.

“I guess emotions were very high tonight,” said Samuel, who stomped on his hat and flung it onto the mound like a Frisbee as he stormed off after being tossed.  “And as a result, we saw what happened.”

Wigginton went first, as he was ejected in the top of the inning by first-base umpire Gary Darling, who ruled that Wigginton missed the tag on J.J. Hardy, who slid headfirst to get back to the bag.

“You get the leadoff guy on and he goes first pitch and we get him hung out to dry,” Wigginton said of Hardy, who turned and tried to head back to first base after catcher Craig Tatum threw down to second. “I felt he was out.”

He was. Television replays showed Wigginton clearly tagging both of Hardy’s outstretched hands and Wigginton threw his hat off and went on a tirade — that included Samuel coming out to the field to restrain him – after Darling gave him the boot.  

“I thought I was [safe] until I saw the replay,” Harding said. “I just got done talking to [Wigginton] and it seemed like he was in a pretty good mood. I think maybe we were talking about the weather before that pitch and he said it’s been really hot and then the next thing I know, he’s up in Darling’s face.”

Red-faced with rage, Wigginton flipped the ball in the stands on his way out and Samuel -who came out to keep the infielder from doing something “that would [the team] would not be prove of” – walked back to the dugout. Samuel, who hadn’t seen the replay when speaking to reporters post-game, said he didn’t believe Wigginton made contact with Darling, but the umpire ruled otherwise.

“[Wigginton made contact] in the chest [and] stomach,” said Darling, who admitted he botched the call. “[I] will send in my report to the League and they make the decision on anything.”

The crowd of 20, 108 issued a loud chorus of boos for several moments following the play and the tension continued to build at Camden Yards. One out later, after Drew Butera singled and Hardy came around to score, Kranitz sarcastically started clapping from the dugout and home plate umpire Bill Hohn made him Orioles casualty No. 2.

“I shouldn’t have done that. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but you know, you get frustrated,” Kranitz said of his actions, which got him his second ejection this season.

“I guess Bill Hohn took offense to [the clapping]”

When asked about the nonverbal cues that got Kranitz tossed, Hohn said his actions on the bench were “unprofessional and uncalled for”.

Samuel didn’t see it that way, and he stormed the field and began a sequence of events that involved putting a beating on his baseball cap and giving Hohn an earful.

“Kranny did not say anything. I was trying to tell [Hohn], ‘How can you blame Kranny when one of your guys blew the call?’,” said Samuel, who became the third Oriole to retreat to the clubhouse after being tossed for arguing on Kranitz’s half.  “Kranny didn’t deserve that. He didn’t miss the call.”

“We thought Wiggy tagged the guy, not once but twice. Gary after watching the replay probably will admit it was a blown call. Unfortunately, he didn’t go our way.”

Wigginton was replaced by Jake Fox at first base, with bench coach Jeff Datz taking over for Samuel and reliever Michael Gonzalez coming out to replace starter Kevin Millwood.

“You know, we want to win,” Kranitz said of an Orioles squad that is a Major League-worst 30-65. “And we want to win bad. And you could just see the competitiveness in Wiggy and how he went about [arguing for the team.]”

Updated: Bergesen Throws off the Mound

It’s downpouring and windy, but luckily I was the only reporter with the foresight to bring an umbrella.  The reporters watched from a small awning as Brad Bergesen threw to Matt Wieters amid backup catcher Chad Moeller announcing, “Ladies and gentleman, Brad Bergesen.”

Bergesen looked comfortable in his first mound session since injuring his shoulder. He tossed a normal length session under the watchful eye of pitching coach Rick Kranitz.

“It was like he didn’t miss a beat,” Kranitz said.”If you told me he hadn’t thrown in five months, I would have said, ‘You’re a liar.’ He was good.”

Bergersen threw 28 pitches, mostly fastballs, although Kranitz said he was pushing to throw more. The 24-year-old Bergesen estimated he was throwing at about 75 percent and was pleasantly surprised with his location and sink.

“I was a little surprised about it, didn’t know what to expect,” Bergesen said of his first mound toss since the fateful commercial in December. “I was just getting up there and getting the cobwebs out of there, but I was able to get the ball down and throw my two seamer.”

Added Wieters: “He had his sink back already, he was able to locate the fastball which is the biggest thing coming back [and] getting back on the mound.”

Manager Dave Trembley said Bergesen’s session made a “gray day sunny” for him, and for now the plan is for Bergesen to throw two more side sessions before a live batting practice.

“I think we all just wanted to get through this phase,” Trembley said, following Saturday’s session.  “I was confident he was going to be OK, but the questions weren’t going to be answered fully until he got up on the mound.”

Given Bergesen’s impressive first go-around, Wieters said he “definitely” thought the right-hander would be ready for the beginning of the season.

“He’s going to get his work in for sure,” Wieters said.”Bergy’s a guy who has his command and he will be ready to go Day 1 [of the season].”

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March 1: Orioles break in Ed Smith Stadium

With manager Dave Trembley as proud commisioner, the Orioles will play their inaugral intrasquad game at Ed Smith Stadium on Monday, March 1 at 12:30 p.m. The game is open to the public with a small donation to the Boys & Girls club. The team will conduct a clinic for the local chapter of the club, as part of their ongoing effort to remain active in the
Sarasota community.
Gary Allenson and Richie Hebner will serve as managers and their will be a draft of sorts taking place sometime in the next few days. Trembley said pitching coach Rick Kranitz already has drawn up a first draft of what pitchers will be used, and he expects to go over that later tonight.

Since the team isn’t playing an intrasquad game on the 2nd, Trembley expected the arms to be a mix of younger guys and veterans and said the team will try to slot guys so they stay on four and five days rest.

“Some of the guys you will see pitch on the 1st will probably be ready to pitch on the 6th,” Trembley said. “And there is some consideration early here in camp that we may not want some of the guys to pitch against division opponents if we can possibly avoid it.”

The Orioles open up Spring Training play on March 3 versus Tampa Bay. After a pair of games with the Rays, they host Pittsburgh before traveling to Lakeland to play the Tigers on the 6th.

Tillman back on track.

Chris Tillman threw his first bulllpen since coming out of Sunday’s session early with back spasms, and appeared to be pain free. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz spoke with Tillman for a few minutes prior to him throwing and also briefly consulted with him during the session.

After throwing, Tillman approached head athletic trainer Richard Bancells, who was standing behind the bullpen, and appeared to tell him his back felt fine. Tillman also motioned with his hands to illustrate that he wasn’t in any pain.  

“Everything felt good,” Tillman said afterwards. “Obviously, it felt like I hadn’t played catch in three days, but other than that, everything felt good and looked good. Kranny said my delivery looked nice and smooth.”

Kranitz praised Tillman’s ability to throw in the strike zone and said the session was “exactly what he was looking for.”

Tillman threw a regular-length ‘pen, while most of the other Orioles pitchers just used their session to warm up. The club started live batting practice today, with Mike Gonzalez (below) kicking it off.

gonzalez bp.jpg

*Just like yesterday, Brian Roberts took grounders at second base, and will likely continue to do what he did on Tuesday.

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.


Koji to the Pen, Roberts has Back Spasms

Both of these stories will be on the site soon, but here’s the short version. Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara will be working out of the bullpen and second baseman Brian Roberts is dealing with back spasms, but is believed to be on track for the first full-squad practice on Feb. 23.

This is Trembley on the Koji decision:

“I think it’s in his (Uehara’s) best interests and the best way to get him through the entire season,” Trembley said.”There will be more opportunities for him to be successful and for us to win.”

Koji wasn’t available today, but he did say yesterday he was willing to do whatever the Orioles asked. His goal was to stay healthy and make it through the Major League season, and pitching out of the ‘pen should help alleviate some of his injuries. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz also pointed out that Koji struggled after he made it around the batting order. I looked it up and the numbers are striking.

1st plate app. opponents are batting .200
2nd time: .292
3rd time: .339

“I think he can fit a number of roles for us,” said Kranitz who believes Uehara is better suited for the bullpen given his two-pitch arsenal. Kranitz also said Uehara could be a few innings guy or just get a big out or two. He mentioned giving Jim Johnson or Mike Gonzalez a night off if need be.

As for Roberts, there was a report he had kidney stones, which Trembley cleared up by saying the second baseman has back spasms. Trembley texted back with him yesterday and Roberts said he was going to be a go for the first day of Spring Training. He’s still working out in Arizona.

Also, Trembley said the only pitcher who is restricted in camp right now is Brad Bergesen. I spoke with Bergesen a little, and he’s itching to get out on the mound, in what he hopes will be 10-14 days. Right now, he’s just doing some strengthening stuff and is glad to be back around baseball.


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