Posted on: July 15, 2010 4:58 pm

O's catcher Wieters to DL

Apparently the All-Star break wasn't sufficient to get Baltimore starting catcher Matt Wieters back into playing condition, and the Orioles on Thursday placed him on the 15-day disabled list. Wieters hasn't played since July 9 due to a hamstring strain.

The fifth pick overall in the 2007 season, Wieters is in his second season in the majors. He batted .288 last season and is at .245 this year.

The Orioles didn't immediately announce a replacement for Wieters on the roster. The Baltimore Sun said backup Craig Tatum would probably keep filling in for Wieters with Jake Fox as his backup, and the Orioles will call up a position player.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 15, 2010 11:33 am

Dodgers put Sherrill on waivers

George Sherrill Unable to option him out and unable to stomach keeping him their bullpen, the Dodgers have placed left-handed reliever George Sherrill on outright waivers, a source told Dodgers.com.

It has been a stunning fall from grace for the 33-year-old, who had a 1.70 ERA last season, splitting time between leagues after being traded from Baltimore to Los Angeles at the trade deadline. He had 31 saves as the Orioles' closer in 2008 and already had 20 before the deadline in 2009. After going to the Dodgers, he allowed just two earned runs in 30 appearances.

This season he has a 7.32 ERA and has been demoted from setup to a situational role. He has struggled with back issues and just hasn't been able to find his form.

Sherrill now will go through waivers, but any team claiming him would be responsible for about $2.43 million in salary for the rest of the year. There are some teams that could use a bullpen arm, but with that price tag and the problems he's been having, it's not likely anyone will bite.

If he clears waivers, it will be Sherrill's choice to accept a minor-league assignment or refuse it, forfeiting his salary and becoming a free agent (unless the team relents and agrees to keep him on the active roster). In these situations, it's common for the team and player to agree that he will accept the minor-league assignment prior to the waiver move.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 14, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2010 11:14 am

Nine questions for second half

The first half is in the books, and the NL has home-field advantage in the World Series. Now, all that's left is finding out who changes zip codes at the trade deadline and which teams are left standing in October.

Below are nine questions for the second half to answer ...

Are the Padres for real?

The Padres are currently in first place with a 51-37 record, two games ahead of the Dodgers. However, they're doing so on luck, ranking 22nd in runs scored and with a MLB-leading 3.27 ERA. Their 3.81 xFIP suggest there's plenty of regression to be had, and while that xFIP also tops the league, it's the third biggest disparity in the bigs. And San Diego cannot afford regression in its strength. To stay on top, additional help needs to be brought in. Other questions include the surging White Sox, the sexy-sleeper-who-wasn't-supposed-to-be-this-good Reds and the Mets, who will be bolstered by the addition of Carlos Beltran.

Who will be the biggest name traded at the deadline?

There's always a surprise in store, but the early favorite is Florida's Dan Uggla. The Marlins are sliding out of the pennant race and have a second-baseman making $8 million for the penny-pinchers. Uggla will be a nice commodity as he remains under team control for 2011 is having yet another strong season. The Rockies are closely linked to Uggla, but he could end up on any team -- including suitors who may be eyeing him for third base. Don't rule out Adam Dunn being shipped; the White Sox would love to add him to the fold.

Can the Red Sox and Phillies stay afloat?

Boston and Philadelphia have been rocked by injuries, and while plenty of players have stepped in admirably, one can only get by for so long with replacement parts before feeling the sting. One benefit to players going down with injuries is that both teams will eventually be bolstered by returns, but until then, one of three things will happen: 1) Most players will play over their head, 2) Everyone will begin playing to their true level and 3) Trades to bring in complementary pieces will happen. Going with No. 1 is the most foolhardy thing one could do.

Who will be the next impact player from the minor leagues?

There's been a ton of graduations from Triple-A to the majors lately, and that doesn't figure to change in the second half. Domonic Brown could give the Phillies some offense, while Desmond Jennings could do the same for the Rays. How about Aroldis Chapman coming out of the bullpen breathing fire for the Reds or Jeremy Hellickson strengthening the Rays rotation? Could Brett Wallace help usher in a new era in Toronto alongside new shortstop Yunel Escobar? Or will the promotion of Chris Sale to Triple-A serve as a harbinger for a major-league promotion to help the White Sox stay atop the AL Central?

Are the Orioles this bad?

While the O's were overrated entering the year, no one could have expected a 29-59 record at the All-Star break. Now that they have gotten rid of the chaff (goodbye, Garrett Atkins) and are on the verge of getting Felix Pie back, they should play significantly better to the point where it's questionable if they end up with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011's amateur draft. (Key word: Should.) Cleveland and Pittsburgh have better chances of playing worse than Baltimore. It's hard to imagine the O's remaining pathetic, but in a division where the No. 4 team has a 44-45 record, the going will be tough. Another storyline to follow with the Orioles is who the new manager will be -- all indications point to Buck Showalter.

Will Bryce Harper sign with the Nationals?

The signing deadline for prospects is August 16, and many signings will take place around that time. It's hard to imagine Harper turning down an opportunity to get into pro ball right away -- after all, every move of his to date has been with that goal in mind. For Washington's part, there's been a ton of good feelings surrounding the team lately. By failing to sign another young phenom, the Nats' armor would be dented. The move makes too much sense for both sides. The Pirates should ink Jameson Taillon, but can the Dodgers prove everyone wrong that the selection of Zach Lee wasn't motivated by finances? Lee is considered virtually unsignable, and the Dodgers have money woes. Probably not, but it will be just as intriguing a storyline as Harper's decision.

Can anyone hit 40 home runs?

Currently, Jose Bautista leads the majors in homers with 24. He's on pace to end up with 44, but regression to the mean figures to hit Bautista severely in the second half. Josh Hamilton, Adam Dunn, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto all rank second with 22, and all have excellent chances of cracking 40 -- but it's far from certain. And if Albert Pujols can get hot -- he's on pace for just his third season with an OPS under 1.000 out of 10 -- watch out. The best chance of anyone? Dunn, if he goes to the White Sox or another park kind to big boppers.

Can the Year of the Pitcher continue?

There have been two no-hitters and two official perfect games (one unofficial) so far on the year. It's an unheard of mark, and will be fascinating to see if the trend can continue. There are plenty of quality pitchers on the mound and hitters have looked overmatched all year long. Which is why baseball could very well see someone not hit 40 home runs in a season. Keep your eye on this list -- one of those may be celebrating on a mound near you.

Pay attention to Josh Johnson of the Marlins as well, who has a scant 1.70 ERA and would be the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005 (1.87) to have an ERA below 2.00 if he keeps this up.

Who will win the playoff races?

The AL East has quite the three-way battle brewing between the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox. Two are certain to get into the playoffs thanks to the wild card. One will be playing golf in October. While the Red Sox are currently in third place, more advanced standings suggest Boston should be in second place, while the Yankees are just a few key injuries away from their older and productive stars from tumbling off a cliff. The White Sox, Tigers and Twins are locked in their own-three way battle. And don't count the Angels out of the West just yet.

Over in the NL, Atlanta has a nice lead, but the Mets and Phillies refuse to die, the Central has what promises to be an entertaining seesaw battle between the Cardinals and Reds, and the NL West is anyone's game -- well, except for the Diamondbacks. Will a Game 163 be played again this year? With so many tight races, the odds are strong.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 11, 2010 4:56 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 4:56 pm

Showalter won't start second half at O's helm

Juan Samuel Despite speculation that the Orioles will announce a new manager during the All-Star break, a source tells the Baltimore Sun that interim manager Juan Samuel will still be managing the team when it starts the second half.

ESPN analyst and former Yankees and Rangers manager Buck Showalter has interviewed with the Orioles twice and is the leading candidate to permanently replace Dave Trembley, but Showalter had not been offered the job as of Sunday.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Tags: Orioles
Posted on: July 8, 2010 4:46 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:56 am

Who's on first? In Denver, lots of people

Chris Iannetta Todd Helton is 36 years old, looking at his second back-injury shortened season in three years, and a year away from free agency. So as much of a blow his latest trip to the DL is to the Rockies, it's also an opportunity to begin considering Life After Helton.

Since Helton has been out of action, Brad Eldred, called up from Triple-A, and Jason Giambi have started at first. But manager Jim Tracy said as many as five people could play first in Helton's absence. Catcher Chris Iannetta (pictured, after his walk-off home run Wednesday night) played some first base in college at North Carolina, and outfielder Brad Hawpe will be taking grounders at first as well. Melvin Mora also has appeared five times at first for the Rockies this year.

But the Rockies are playing well and in position to contend for the National League West, especially if the Padres' lack of offense catches up with them. Should Colorado be looking for a more significant addition? Giambi and Mora are long in the tooth, Hawpe is falling apart physically, Iannetta is batting .217 and needed behind the plate, and Eldred hasn't shown he can be a factor at the major league level yet.

If the Rockies think Helton's health is going to continue to be a factor, they might want to consider trading for someone like Baltimore's versatile Ty Wigginton or Arizona's Kelly Johnson, who would give them some options without breaking the bank.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 6, 2010 4:18 pm

Orioles place Millwood on DL

As expected , the Orioles have placed Kevin Millwood on the disabled list to make room for outfielder Felix Pie.

Millwood lasted just an inning in Monday's loss to the Tigers and has been diagnosed with a strained right forearm (flexor mass).

Millwood is 2-8 with a 5.77 ERA.

Pie has been on the disabled list since April 16 with a strained upper back muscle.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 5, 2010 10:18 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 10:22 pm

Showalter hasn't been offered O's job yet

In the world's longest, least-interesting romance, Buck Showalter tells the Baltimore Sun 's Jeff Zrebiec he has spoken with the team a second time, but has yet to be offered the job.

"I have not been offered anything, that's for sure," Showalter said.

Instead, he's waiting by his phone hoping Andy MacPhail calls and second-guessing ordering dessert. If MacPhail calls, Showalter will totally put out.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 5, 2010 9:59 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 4:15 pm

Orioles consider putting Millwood on the DL

Kevin Millwood The Orioles are considering putting Kevin Millwood not he disabled list, the Baltimore Sun 's Dan Connolly reports .

Millwood was pulled after allowed five runs in the first inning in Monday's 12-9 loss to the Tigers.

"There is some concern there," interim manager Juan Samuel said. "[Pitching coach Rick Kranitz] has noticed that his ball was just not coming out of his hand today [with authority] and his velocity was a little bit down. And knowing Kevin, he is not going to tell you what's wrong and what's not. He is one of those guys that's going to take the ball anytime you give it to him."

Only four of Millwood's 45 pitches were faster than 90 mph.

"We are trying to figure out which way we are going to go with him," Samuel said.

The Orioles will activate Felix Pie on Tuesday and need to make a move.

In a related item, MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli tweets that Millwood is now "off the block," which comes as a great disappointment to exactly zero teams hoping to pick up a damaged pitcher with a $12 million salary.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
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