Posted on: September 27, 2010 5:58 pm

Orioles' Simon, Showalter suspended

Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon has been suspended three games and manager Buck Showalter one after Major League Baseball issued punishments for Simon throwing intentionally at Toronto's Joe Bautista on Sunday.

According to MLB.com, Showalter will serve his suspension Monday night, with bench coach Jeff Datz managing against the Rays. Simon will appeal.

MLB also fined Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum $750 for throwing at Luke Scott earlier in the game, in the fourth, ruling that it was retaliation for Bautista being hit in the top of the inning (Bautista was hit twice). That was what caused the umpire to issue the warning that spurred the ejections after Bautista was hit again.

Marcum's pitch only grazed Scott, and he said it wasn't intentional. He'll appeal.

"Warnings weren't even out," Marcum said  on Monday. "To hit somebody like that and get fined, I think it's bad judgment on their part. I have good enough control that if I'm going to hit somebody I'll hit them right in the middle of the back."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 26, 2010 3:36 pm

Orioles to give backup catchers more at-bats

Jake Fox Matt Wieters is in the lineup Sunday, but has been riding the pine as of late.

No, the heralded youngster hasn't lost his job. Rather, the Orioles are trying to see what Jake Fox and Craig Tatum bring to the plate as backup catchers.

Fox (pictured) started at catcher for the seventh time on the year Saturday, going 2-for-5. He was the DH Friday with Tatus behind the dish.

"We've got nine or 10 games left, it might come a time in the offseason when we are trying to make calls where we wish we would have done it," manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun . "We also like our chances to win with him back there, too. And [with] Matt, obviously."

The O's figure to have the backup catcher slot wide open, with Fox and Tatum the best internal options. Fox plays all over the diamond while the 27-year-old Tatum has posted a .272/.344/.300 line in 122 plate appearances.

The Orioles may have another name in mind for backup catcher, however: Victor Martinez. ESPN's Buster Olney mentioned Friday that the Orioles may make a run at the Red Sox backstop.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 25, 2010 2:08 pm

Jays interview Melvin, Wedge

Bob Melvin
Cito Gaston isn't departing the Blue Jays for another week, but the team isn't wasting any time looking for his replacement.

The Toronto Sun reports that the Jays this week interviewed former Mariners and Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin as well as former Indians manager Eric Wedge. Both have other potential suitors, as Wedge has interviewed with the Cubs and Melvin is scheduled to meet the Cubs and is considered a candidate with the Mets if (OK, when) they fire Jerry Manuel.

Melvin (pictured) interviewed to join Manuel's coaching staff after last season and was not hired, but Jeff Wilpon, the son of the Mets' owner, hired Melvin as a scout. Melvin, a former journeyman major-league catcher, has a 493-508 career record in six-plus seasons as a manager. Wedge went 561-573 in seven years at the helm of the Indians and was replaced after last season.

The Jays will interview their bench coach, Nick Leyva, who managed the Phillies for two-plus seasons. Also on Toronto's radar, according to the Sun: Tim Wallach, Triple-A manager in the Dodgers system; Ryne Sandberg, Triple-A manager in the Cubs system; Rockies hitting coach Don Baylor; and Juan Samuel, who was interim manager of the Orioles for much of this season.

Expect to see these same names crop up all over baseball this winter, as there could be a record amount of managerial turnover. The game of musical chairs has just begun.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:45 pm

Pirates first in 100 club

The inevitable caught up to the Pirates on Friday, as they failed to put together the 10-game winning streak they'd have needed to avoid 100 losses.

In losing 10-7 to Houston, Pittsburgh cemented its first 100-loss season since 2001 and the eighth in franchise history. But take comfort, Pirates fans, this isn't the worst club the City of Bridges has seen -- the Pirates lost 100-plus in a 154-game season three straight years from 1952-54, and the 1890 Pittburgh Alleghenys (who would the next year rename themselves the Pirates) went an amazing 23-113.

Only three other teams have yet to win their 63rd game this season. The Orioles have 61 and the Diamondbacks 62. The only team with a significant chance to join the Pirates in the 100-loss club this season is the Mariners, who are 58-95 and would need to win five of their final nine games (most of which are against division leaders) to avoid losing 100 for the second time in three years. 

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:32 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 3:44 pm

Could Victor Martinez be an Oriole?

Victor Martinez Could Victor Martinez be headed to a division rival?

Buster Olney of ESPN tweets that "the Orioles could take a serious run at Victor Martinez in free agency, in a combo 1B-C-DH/leader type of role."

Martinez is an impending free agent currently with the Boston Red Sox, serving as catcher. While his season was partly abbreviated due to an injury and has struggled on offense, he's still put together a .299/.347/.489 mark with 18 home runs in 502 plate appearances spread over 119 games.

Martinez isn't considered to be a good defensive catcher although he has improved lately. At age 31, however, Martinez' time behind the dish is drawing to a close, especially as he's shown he can handle first base.

There figure to be plenty of teams in on Martinez and his versatility, but the switch-hitter has given every indication he hopes to stay behind the plate. However, given that he's looking for what should be his last big-money deal, he'll let his new team pick where he plays -- so long as he gets paid.

In Baltimore, Martinez would likely play the bulk of his time at first and DH, given phenom Matt Wieters is the current backstop.

The Orioles, struggling through a brutal season, have picked things up since manager Buck Showalter was hired. With a burgeoning crop of young players, the O's could quite conceivably do a worst-to-first turn. Okay, that's unlikely, but a push to finish over .500 in 2011 can't be discounted.

Martinez, who is a fantastic leader both on the field and in the clubhouse, could be a vital piece toward ushering contention into Baltimore.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 20, 2010 11:30 pm

Markakis makes history with 43rd double

Nick Markakis History was made in the Red Sox-Orioles game Monday night, when O's outfielder Nick Markakis cranked two doubles, giving him 43 on the season.

That mark makes Markakis just the third MLB player ever with at least 43 doubles in four straight seasons, joining Hall of Famers Joe Medwick and Tris Speaker.

Markakis is hitting .290/.365/.422 in what has been a down year for the 26-year-old, but is still among one of the better young outfielders in the game and has a streak of 43, 48, 45 and now 43 in the last four years, respectively.

Speaker, meanwhile, played a 22-season career, 11 with the Indians and nine with the Red Sox. He bashed 40 or more doubles 10 times, but the longest consecutive seasons with at least 43 doubles was in a four-year streak from 1920-23. He hit 50, 52, 48 and 59 respectively, all with the Indians.

Medwick spent 11 seasons with the Cardinals in a 17-season career, hitting for at least 40 doubles seven seasons in a row from 1933-39, all with the Cards. His streak of multiple seasons with at least 43 came from 1935-39, meaning Markakis has one more year to go to tie Medwick for most consecutive seasons. "Ducky" had 46, 64, 56, 47 and 48, respectively.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 20, 2010 6:13 pm

Andino amassing time at third

Robert Andino The Orioles apparently have a new third baseman.

Robert Andino made his third straight start at the position Sunday despite never appearing in a major-league game at the hot corner.

Andino (pictured) rapped four hits in seven at-bats -- two homers -- in the two games preceding Sunday. However, Sunday saw him allow the ball to go in the outfield on the first grounder he saw at the position. Andino righted himself by notching a 5-3 grounder the next batter. Alas, at the plate he was hitless in four trips to the plate, dropping him to a .267/.290/.567 mark in 31 plate appearances.

That mark is quite an improvement over his .222/.274/.288 line in 215 plate appearances in 2009. Andino spent the bulk of the year playing short for Triple-A, collecting a .264/.302/.405 line in 588 PA. He was acquired from the Marlins prior to the 2009 season and brings value with the glove.

"I think the athletic set is impressive," manager Buck Showalter said of Andino to the Baltimore Sun . "I want to see other parts of the game challenge him."

Andino replaced Josh Bell at third. The hot prospect, acquired last season for reliever George Sherrill, has not found the bigs to his liking after a Triple-A promotion earlier in the season.

That doesn't mean that the 23-year-old is buried on the depth chart and no longer a part of the future, Showalter notes.

"We're giving Andino some opportunities that Josh got, and Josh will get to play some more," he said.

Bell is hitting .214/.224/.310 for the O's after bashing Triple-A for an .810 OPS and is in the lineup Friday night against the Red Sox.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 19, 2010 1:58 pm

Guthrie dismisses Girardi's complaints

Jeremy Guthrie Jeremy Guthrie knows just how many batters he's hit this season -- and where he lies in the standings for that stat.

After Guthrie hit Derek Jeter to start Saturday's Orioles loss to the Yankees on the first pitch (and really hit him -- as in the ball actually hit part of Jeter), New York manager Joe Griardi starting whining about how many times Guthrie has hit Yankees.

"Too man, just too many," Girardi told reporters following the game. "I don't really understand it. I know he likes to pitch inside. But it's just too many. That doesn't include the ones in spring training. It's too many."

Guthrie has hit 14 batters this season and 37 in his career -- 10 of those have been Yankees, plus two more during the spring this season. The only American League pitcher with more hit batters this season is a Yankee, A.J. Burnett. That didn't escape Guthrie's attention.

"He understands that he has a great pitcher over there in A.J. that has hit more guys than I have," Guthrie told the Baltimore Sun 's Jeff Zrebiec . "I watch and appreciate the aggressive nature that A.J. takes in throwing to both sides of the plate and I think I'm a similar pitchers. One of the occupational hazards when you do that is you are occasionally going to hit some guys, but you can't let that affect what you do. Hitting guys intentionally is something totally different, but pitching inside has to be part of what I do to be effective."

For the record, not even Jeter felt Guthrie intentionally hit him. Maybe Girardi is just learning from the Tony La Russa book of mountain-making out of molehills.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com