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January 31, 2011

Hendrickson re-signs with Orioles (minor league deal)

Mark Hendrickson had other opportunities available, but the veteran reliever’s main wish all along was to return to the Orioles. The two sides made that happen today by agreeing to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training.

Hendrickson’s choices came down to the Orioles and Colorado Rockies. But his familiarity with the organization, its players and the region won out.

“This is probably the best group of guys I have played with in my career, and my wife says this is the best group of wives and girlfriends she has been involved with in all the years we have been associated with this game,” Hendrickson said. “That says a lot about the people this organization has in it.”

If Hendrickson makes the club, it will mark his third straight season in Baltimore. If he is on the team all year, he will make $900,000. It is a split contract if he plays in the minors.

The veteran lefty has gone 7-11 with a 4.74 ERA over the past two seasons, making 93 of his 105 appearances in relief.

Hendrickson, 36, will compete for one or two available spots in the revamped bullpen. With lefty setup man Michael Gonzalez having had arm issues in 2010, the Orioles were looking to add more bullpen depth from the left side. If manager Buck Showalter decides to keep two lefties, Hendrickson, fellow nonroster invitee Clay Rapada, Troy Patton and Pedro Viola will duel to make the Opening Day roster.

A well-respected presence in the Orioles’ clubhouse the past two seasons whose leadership has been applauded by several of the organization’s young pitchers, Hendrickson also could fit the long-man role. He has made 166 starts during his big league career, which spans five teams and parts of nine seasons.

The 6-foot-9 graduate of Washington State started his career as a professional basketball player and participated in 114 NBA games from 1996 to 2000 before signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. He is one of 12 athletes to play in both the NBA and major league baseball.

Hendrickson and his wife, who live year round in York, Pa., welcomed their first child in December. The big lefty had cited both the proximity to his family and the familiarity with the organization as reasons he wanted to return to the Orioles for another season.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 1:18 PM | | Comments (21)


Seems like the Orioles have sent a clear message to Hendrickson the past two years - under no circumstances do we want you at our FanFest.

Seriously, this is not a sexy signing, but adds depth at ST competition. Not sure he's a great situational lefty - left-handers batted .317 against him last season. But I don't mind the signing.

Also, the word is now out - the O's have a great group of wives and girlfriends.

Tell Vlad.

A good move, the O's have addressed areas of need, they have taken a couple of risks but if they payoff its worth it. Now what I think the O's need to do is work hard to get Vlad at their price. If the O's can bring Vlad into the fold I think any O's fan or would be fan can say they have done just about as well as they could have this offeseason. Don't fool yourself into thinking they should have been in on the biggest free agents/ traded players because those guys weren't coming here. But they have done pretty good considering. I'm actually looking forward to going to a few games. Its safe to say this bunch should provide a little more excitement than what we have seen in a while

Okay, changes always come in 3's, right? So first we sign Justin D, now Hendrickson, so is Vlad next???? Are we getting closer? Has Vlad's agent gone silent? Usually it's when everyone, team/agent/player, go silent, that something is about to happen...please SOMETHING happen, at this point, it doesn't matter if Vlad signs with the Bad News Bears, we just want CLOSURE!!!!

Absolutely nothing wrong with Hendrickson getting a minor league deal with us. He wants to be here and even though his best days may be behind him, his veteran presence will definitely not hurt the clubhouse. That being said, I hope another bullpen-designated pitcher really steps it up in Sarasota and pushes the competition as to who makes the club and who gets cut.

Things are looking good. Add Vlad, and we can possibly start using the word "depth" in the organizationart,nedscsi.
Hey- that'll be my slogan: "ADD VLAD!"

Mark pitched for the York, Pa. Township Baseball team up here in the semi pro Susquehanna League during his professional basketball offseasons. He is a class act and I hope he has something left in the tank to help the Orioles. He was hit pretty hard at times last year so he will have to perform well in Spring Training in order to make the team.

Welcome back Mark. Congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your first child.

Love what we're doing here; almost all of the pieces are in place.

Going to throw out a hypothetical, with some big "ifs" and 20/20 hindsight vision, to see what people think. I happen to think we're close to contending for a playoff spot, which I wouldn't have said two months ago. So what IF:

* The O's sign Vlad to be their regular DH, pushing Scott to LF and Pie/Reimold to the bench?

* The O's had dealt for Zach Grienke to bolster their rotation? Looking at what the Brewers put together, it likely would have taken a package like this from us: Arrieta, Pie, Berken or Tillman, and Ryan Adams.

Arrieta's spot in the rotation would be taken by Greinke, obviously. The Brewers received Yuniesky Betancourt in the deal, so maybe we could have gotten back a RH relief pitcher to replace Berken. But based on MIL's package (Escobar, Cain, Ordorizzi and Jeffers), this is roughly what it would have cost.

Worth it? This isn't meant to be critical of MacPhail and pals - I like what we're doing. Just interesting to think about.

Anyone know if the Orioles have considered signing that DH who played with Texas last year? Big guy, funny hair, and runs with a gimp. I think his name was Vlad something.

A stand up guy. I hope he makes the club. A little more offense might take the pressure off guys like Mark from trying to be perfect or too fine in protecting a lead with no chance of the guys making a comeback in 2010.

Nice way to add some depth. Although I like Hendrickson, I will say the guys with more potential hold up their ends of the bargain and Hendrickson spends the majority of the year in AAA.

He is a good guy though so if any deserves a chance to crack the roster, it is him. Nothing wrong at all with giving good guys a chance to make the team on a minor league deal.

I've loved the offseason so far, but this is just dumb. No matter where you put him, he's not effective. He was good on Tampa Bay when he pitched against the Orioles, and that's it. Ideally, you would like a lefty reliever to get lefties out. Hendrickson can't. So that rules out lefty specialist.

As for long reliever? Why put someone who will give up a ton of hits and runs in a spot that can be occupied by a younger player with some upside like Tillman, VandenHurk, or Berken? We all know Hendrickson will make the roster, so don't say that his signing adds competition, either.

Going after Beimel was a good move, but since that fell through, why not try for Mahay? We have a plethora of guys who can fill the long-reliever spot at least as well as Hendrickson, and a guy like Mahay would give us a guy who can actually get lefties out, as opposed to one who never has. No sense.

Now go get Vlad, and I'll be less upset.

Hallelujah Hendrickson's back! With the loss of Mickolio and (a while back) Loewen and a bunch of other tall pitchers, I was concerned that the Orioles were getting too short. Things are looking up.

Please don't even consider trading Jake.Too much upside.

Why does it just seem wrong for Hendrickson to make just 900,000 K in salary. His years of service, doesn't spend an incredible amount of time on the DL. He starts and makes relief appearances. If McPhail knows that a player wants to stay in the area, he will do everything he can to pimp him at the negotiation table.

Nice move. It is like having a 41st roster spot. I hope that he makes it this year.

any updates about alfredo simon? were there balistics tests done on that gun? did they match?

Glad to hear that guys like Hendrickson and Scott want to stay with the O's. I think it says a lot about what they think of the team's future.

dspedden...Hendrickson ought to be happy to have a "chance" to earn a job. $900K is fairly generous for a situational lefty who usually fails at those situations and has numbers that bring up the questions, "why not sign a better right handed pitcher and who cares if he's not a lefty?" Momma's make your kid learn how to throw lefty, there's always a chance.

By the way, DS, this isn't a guarantee...he does have to make the team. I'm seeing many posts here say this is a good guy. I wish him well, I just hope he's found something they can't hit over the winter.

The Duchscherer and Hendrickson signings are good insurance in case the young pitchers aren't quite ready. Whatever pitchers have outstanding spring trainings make the 25 man roster. Signing Vlads would hurt what limited team speed there is. Pie and Reimold should be ready, anyhow. Play Ball!!!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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