Orioles news and notes
An MLB spokesman confirmed last night that the league is reviewing reliever Michael Gonzalez’s plunking of the Yankees’ Chris Dickerson in the helmet on Wednesday night for a possible suspension. That’s standard policy when a player is ejected. However, the ejection doesn’t mean that Gonzalez will face an automatic suspension either. Gonzalez, who apologized to Dickerson before last night’s game, has said that he will appeal any disciplinary action by the league, calling home plate umpire Dan Bellino’s ejection “uncalled for.”
While we are on the topic of hitting batters, several of the Oriole hitters figured it was just a matter of time for one of them to get hit by a Yankee pitcher, which happened last night when CC Sabathia smoked Nick Markakis in the back with a 95 miles per hour fastball with two outs and nobody on in the first inning. Not only did Gonzalez hit Dickerson Wednesday night, but Brad Bergesen hit Robinson Cano in the first inning last night. I didn’t think Bergesen’s was intentional as he clearly couldn’t find the plate, walking two batters, hitting one and throwing a wild pitch in the inning. I’m not sure if Sabathia felt otherwise or he was retaliating over the Dickerson incident or even Josh Rupe hitting Russell Martin in the back in a game earlier this season. Either way, Markakis took it like a man. Asked if he felt Sabathia hit him intentionally, Markakis said, “Yes, but that’s part of the game. We hit a couple of their guys and it was bound to come, but you wear it and you move on.” I rephrased the question several times to Markakis, hoping to get a similar response to the one that Yankees manager Joe Girardi gives when he complains that the Oriole pitchers are always talking liberties with Yankee hitters, but I was unsuccessful.
In my mind, here is the most worrisome stat about Orioles starter Brad Bergesen: In 25 appearances against American League East clubs, Bergesen is 5-14 with a 5.64 ERA. He’s also allowed 162 hits and 48 walks in 140 1/3 innings to divisional foes.
Maybe they’ll surprise us, but with apologies to my friends at MASN, I can’t imagine the Orioles-Washington Nationals series this weekend will be must-see TV. The Nationals haven’t scored in 19 innings and have been shut out seven times this season. The Orioles have scored just three runs in their last 26 innings, and just five runs in their last three home games spanning 36 innings."Were you there when ... ? Oh nevermind
This is kind of an obvious conclusion, but today’s promotion of outfielder Nolan Reimold tells me that the Orioles plan on giving Luke Scott a good chunk of the starts at first base in Derrek Lee’s absence. As for second baseman Ryan Adams having his contract selected, the Orioles clearly needed another middle infielder with both Brian Roberts and Cesar Izturis on the disabled list. Why not Adams? He has been one of the Tides’ best hitters and the Orioles’ offense is clearly in need of a boost. I know there are some defensive concerns, but the last two nights, it has been pretty clear that Robert Andino is nowhere near as comfortable at second base than he is at shortstop. I don’t think the Orioles will be sacrificing too much defense by playing Adams at second rather than Andino.
And one more comment about Adams: I’ve asked some scouts about him and one comparison that has come up is with the Houston Astros’ Jeff Keppinger who hasn’t played yet this season after having foot surgery. Keppinger is a .281 career hitter over parts of six big league seasons. He can play all the infield positions and a little outfield, but more than Keppinger’s versatility, it’s his bat that keeps him in the big leagues.
In the last three days, the Orioles have put Derrek Lee, Brian Roberts and Cesar Izturis on the disabled list, recalled Brandon Snyder, Chris Jakubauskas, Troy Patton and Reimold, purchased the contract of Adams, and then demoted Jakubauskas and Patton following one active day with the club. They’re not done with the roster maneuvering either. Alfredo Simon will be activated from the restricted list on Sunday and they’ll need to create both 25-man and 40-man roster space for him. Craig Tatum is expected to be activated from the minor league disabled list today, and I don’t think it’s long before he gets recalled to the big leagues. Brian Matusz will pitch at Double-A Bowie Saturday and then could return to the Orioles’ rotation during the West Coast trip, which starts a week from today. Roberts is technically eligible to come off the seven-day DL on Tuesday, though it’s too early to speculate if he’ll be able to do that.
As I’ve written several times, I hate to speculate too much on potential roster cuts, but I’d have to think that Bergesen or Chris Tillman are in the most jeopardy with Simon’s return Sunday. Because of Monday’s off day and Matusz’s return, the Orioles could go with the four starters and use the extra bullpen arm until Matusz is ready to return next Thursday or Friday. Tillman will start Sunday though I assume the club could hold off an announcement until after the game if he’s the odd man out.