Posted on: August 26, 2010 12:29 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 12:57 pm

Buehrle accuses Pie of stealing signals

Felix Pie
It's probably a good thing Orioles outfielder Felix Pie isn't going to face White Sox starter Mark Buehrle again this season, because Buehrle has a beef.

Buehrle gave Pie an earful as the outfielder ran off the field in the sixth inning Wednesday night. Those who overheard say the pitcher was accusing Pie of stealing signs and relaying them to batters, and warning him that there would be consequences for Orioles batters if he didn't knock it off.

Buehrle told a Chicago Tribune reporter simply that "I let him know how I felt," and Pie told the Baltimore Sun "I don't know what he says. I don't play that game."

Stealing the catcher's signs is one of those things that happens in baseball with some frequency, but you'd better not get caught doing it unless you want a fastball in the square of your back.

As the Sun pointed out, the outburst might have had something to do with frustration over Pie's success against the Sox -- he's 5-for-7 with a walk in the first two games of the series. Ironically, the one person his alleged sign-stealing doesn't benefit is Pie.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2010 9:51 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2010 9:52 pm

O's won't deal Scott, Wigginton

Luke Scott The Orioles won't be trading Luke Scott (pictured) or Ty Wigginton, as the two did not clear trade waivers as the Baltimore Sun 's Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec report .

Scott, under team control through 2012, is one of the team's best power-hitters and it is unsurprising the team has opted to keep him in the fold. He has 22 home runs in 396 plate appearances, currently enjoying one of the best seasons of his career as a 32-year-old. Even though Baltimore has the AL's worst record and is just one off being the worst team in the majors, there is plenty of talent -- both young and old -- on the team.

Wigginton, on the other hand, is an impending free agent and despite being an All-Star, hasn't contributed much with the bat lately, causing him to be overrated. There's really no cause for the Orioles to hang onto Wigginton and they missed a prime opportunity to get value for the utility infielder.

Andy MacPhail, the president of baseball operations, doesn't envision B-more making any deals before the postseason roster deadline of August 31, which makes no sense. A rebuilding club that needs young blood to compete in an ultra-competitive AL East and zero hope of contention in 2010 should be making moves looking towards the future. While the O's have made great strides in talent procurement under MacPhail, the team's stagnant approach to dealing commodities that are not relevant to their future is baffling.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2010 1:46 pm

O's nearly finished with waiver process

Don't look for the Orioles to trade off any of their veteran players, the Baltimore Sun reports .

Citing a source, the newspaper says the team is almost done with the waivers process:According to a team source, it’s looking unlikely that they’ll make any trades. A couple of their more movable commodities, including Luke Scott, were claimed and have since been pulled off waivers. It’s still not impossible that they’ll do something minor by the end of the month, but it looks like the guys that have been talked about the most – Scott, Ty Wigginton, Jeremy Guthrie – will finish the season as Orioles. Wigginton, a popular name leading up the non-waiver trade deadline, is the only one of the three that may have really had an impact on a race. Several teams, including the Braves and Cardinals, could use a third baseman, but it's unlikely Wigginton would get to them on waivers.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 6:15 pm

Season likely over for O's Berken

For the first time since Buck Showalter has taken over, the Orioles have some bad news. Reliever Jason Berken is likely to miss the rest of the season with a tear in his right labrum and rotator cuff inflammation.

It's not all bad in Oriole-land, though -- Berken tells the Baltimore Sun 's Jeff Zrebiec that he's been told he doesn't need surgery.

"There's some time now for some good rest, I'll be shut down for a little while," Berken said. "If that calms everything down, at some point, I'll star the rehab process."

The Orioles put him on the disabled list and called up Rick VandenHurk.

Berken is 3-3 with a 3.03 ERA in his first year as a reliever. Berken has struck out 45 batters in 62 1/3 innings.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 13, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: August 13, 2010 12:35 pm

Orioles may move to six-man rotation

Kevin Millwood The Orioles may move to a six-man rotation in September, reports the Baltimore Sun .

Baltimore, suddenly surging under new manager Buck Showalter, has several young pitchers in the minors that need to be evaluated for 2011. Those include Zach Britton, Chris Tillman and recent Marlins import Rick VandenHurk. One possible answer is a six-man rotation.

"It’s something that we have kicked around a little bit depending on what the needs of the guys are,” Showalter said. “I don’t think we’re at that point. We’ll try to let them finish off the year and when we get to September, we’ll see what’s best for everybody.”

However, as Jeff Zrebiec says, veteran pitchers Kevin Millwood (pictured) and Jeremy Guthrie want to pitch on schedule. Moving to a six-man rotation would upset them. Further complicating things is the fact that the O's have an off-day every week for the next five weeks, reducing the need for a six-man rotation and even a five-man.

There remains room to incorporate Tillman, Britton and VandenHurk, though. For one, the team could shut down Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta, two young pitchers who are creeping up on pitching more innings than they should. Britton is in a similar position, so he may not even be a consideration. That leaves Tillman, who definitely needs some additional starts in the majors to prepare for a potential ascension in 2011. VandenHurk, as noted previously, is a newcomer to the organization. Evaluation at a major-league level would give the Orioles a far better understanding what he can do for the squad in 2011.

The Orioles are going nowhere, so their main focus shouldn't be on Millwood or Guthrie. For one, Millwood is an impending free agent while Guthrie doesn't have the cachet to demand taking the ball every fifth day. Baltimore needs to build for the future -- and the future includes a bevy of young starters who deserve looks in the majors.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 11, 2010 9:55 am

'Real fun to be an Oriole'

Yes, that's an actual quote from an actual Oriole. Baltimore has turned into nonstop beach party upon the arrival of The Anointed One, Buck Showalter, whose mere presence somehow has turned the lowly O's (oops, sorry, we're not supposed to call them lowly anymore) into an instant juggernaut.

OK, maybe "juggernaut" is overstating it, but the Orioles, who couldn't even get out of their own way most of the year, are 7-1 under Showalter and enjoying the rare feeling of having a chance to win every day.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a relief,” Luke Scott, who drove in four runs in Tuesday's 14-8 win over Cleveland, told the Baltimore Sun. “It just makes the game fun for us whenever we pound out some hits, score a lot of runs. It just does the dugout good."

The starting pitchers have been the main reason for the surge, stepping up with seven straight quality starts, but the Sun points out that Baltimore has suddenly been hitting at a ridiculous rate with runners in scoring position. The Orioles are baseball's worst team in that category (.232), but in eight games under Showalter they're 29-for-70 (.414).

These are obviously all small sample sizes, and don't represent any foundational change, but it's a good reminder that the human element does exist in baseball. Chemistry, shakeup, a new attitude, whatever you want to call it -- the fact is that even elite players can be inspired to try harder.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: Orioles
Posted on: August 10, 2010 9:37 pm

Orioles to spread save opportunities around

Alfredo Simon isn't exactly out as the Orioles' closer, but he's not going to be the only one finishing out games for Buck Showalter.

Simon has 17 saves, but has blown three of his last 10 save opportunities and allowed runs in six of his last 10 outings.

"I'm sure Simon will get some more opportunities along the way, but I feel like we have some other people capable of doing it other than him," Showalter told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun . "We'll see what each night dictates."

Michael Gonzalez and Koji Uehara could get some of those opportunities.

"Some guys down there have shown that they are capable of getting big outs for us," Showalter said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 9, 2010 5:38 pm

Reimold showing progress in minors

Nolan Reimold Nolan Reimold was expected to be Baltimore's starting left fielder after a strong 2009 campaign put him on the map.

Instead, he was demoted to Triple-A in late May after hitting .205/.302/.337 in 96 plate appearances. His struggles have continued in Triple-A, to the tune of .238/.336/.381 in 307 PAs, showing none of the qualities aside from a strong batting eye that made him such an intriguing part of Baltimore's future.

Reimold may be turning things around, having a scorching August thus far, but it may be too little, too late.

"[He’s made] some progress," president of baseball operation's Andy MacPhail told the Baltimore Sun . "Still not where he was, but some progress. Right now, the outfield is just not an area of need. You just want to make sure when you bring people up, there is a reasonable numbers at-bats available.”

Reimold displaced Felix Pie as the starting left-fielder with a .279/.365/.466 mark in 411 plate appearances, knocking 15 home runs.

However, the return of Pie from the disabled list and his continued strong play along with Corey Patterson's renaissane has not given Reimold an opportunity in left. Center and right are entrenched by Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.

Reimold has begun playing first in the hopes that the road back to the majors will be easier. And indeed it might be, as Ty Wigginton, Michael Aubrey and Julio Lugo are not exactly long-term building blocks for the organization. If Reimold can keep up his strong play in August, he may find himself starting for Baltimore in September as the club evaluates its 2011 squad.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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