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February 19, 2009

Orioles: Hill on hill early

richhillkapustin.jpgNewly acquired pitcher Rich Hill (right) was out on the practice mound at 8:30 a.m. today, getting in some extra work with pitching coach Rick Kranitz and bullpen coach Alan Dunn. The Orioles are hoping that reuniting Hill with two coaches he has worked with earlier in his career will help him get past some serious control issues.

Hill told Jeff Zrebiec he already feels like he's made progress because of the relationship, and that the bullpen session was very encouraging. Kranitz has spent a lot of personal time around him, also, trying to keep him relaxed and loose.

Though Hill claims his control problems are rooted in a back injury that dogged him last year, it seems apparent that there are some mechanical issues Kranitz and Dunn are trying to correct. If they succeed, he could be a key addition to the pitching staff and open the season as the No. 3 starter.

Sun photo by Doug Kapustin

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 1:49 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Just baseball


I honestly think this could be the best of all McPhail's trades. I love Adam Jones, but he will probably never be a superstar. Hill, on the other hand, could develop into a legit #2 starter if he can harness his control. Yeah, he's old to be a prospect, but he was great with the Cubs in 2007. Don't be surprised if he wins 12-14 games with an ERA around 3.75.

Well, you have to figure, if he was trying to accommodate for the back injury last year, he probably changed how he threw the ball all last year. If that's part of the case, then yeah, it'll take a bit to get adjusted back. Biggest thing is confidence though.

That's very encouraging. I hope to see him succeed as well as the rest of the Orioles.

"It seems apparent that there are some mechanical issues Kranitz and Dunn are trying to correct". Translation: Yes, it is very apparent because Trembly clears the lower field behind the bullpen when Hill warms up.

I'm stoked to see Hill play in an Orioles uniform

From personal experience, a back injury can screw up your muscle memory. It can even change the way you walk and you'll never know it until a really good PT works with you.

Is the injury healed? and has he had PT for it? If he's healthy, and the time is taken to re-learn his old throwing motion the O's could have scored a steal.

I can see it now.

Newspapers all over the country falling all over themselves to report the unbelievable story of the O's winning the AL East on the backs of a strong no-name pitching staff fans lovingly refer to as:

"The Scrap Heap"

-- It doesn't hurt to dream, does it?? --

Kindly Mr. Pete if you could please respond to an off topic question , - do you think that being relegated (presumably) to DH will effect Luke Scott in a negative way since I've read that he expects to be starting in the outfield . Thanks ahead of time if you get the chance to reply !

It would be very nice if Rich Hill turned out to be (minus the "winner of the Uncongeniality Award" attitude) Erik Bedard The if only Erik The Original has a good season, opts for free agency and can rejoin the rotation in 2010, that would be beyond awesome. I saw Bedard pitch years ago when he was in the minors at Bowie, didn't know him from the proverbial hole in the ground, and saw that curveball "just fall off the table," and I can still remember, moving forward to the edge of my seat, saying, "Who is THIS guy?" I've been an O's fan for 30 years and have seen some tremendous pitchers and stellar pitching performances, but I have never seen a pitcher who was more dominant in an O's uniform than Bedard in that stretch in 2007 when he reeled off something like 10 straight wins. LIGHTS. OUT. I'd love to have him back, even if he does need to learn how to properly "make friends and play with others."

This could end up being the steal of this offseason, league wide. I'm terribly excited about the future of this franchise.

Kind of sounds like a left-handed Daniel Cabrera

Ah, the rites of Spring! Everyone is encouraged. Great! But wait until July. Yes, the O's will score runs, have some promising young studs, but will have an absolutely horrible pitching staff.

And if they can't correct his control in spring training ........NOT TO WORRY .....he will still be in the starting rotation .......OR the powers that be have said !!! Pete, what do you think of this pronouncement... &..... What about someone like Pauley ? ... Should he not have the same deal ?? Seems a little much to me.

Pete's reply: I would think Pauley actually as good a chance as Hill, but Hill has had one good major league season fairly recently, which counts for something.

I realize it might be too late, but are there any photos of Luke Scott's grizzly man facial hair??

Pete's reply: Yes, if I get a chance later today, I'll throw one up.

If Pie pans out, the offense looks pretty solid. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Hill, Patton, and Penn can fill out the rotation by the end of the year. .500 ball would be a big jump and show movement in the right direction. Anyone know if there is any can't miss pitching prospects in the top 10 of the amateur draft this year?

Hey Pete... Great updates from Florida... Keep up the good work. I know the O's are a little weak in the infield prospect department. Any chance they would pick-up Andy Marte who was just placed on waivers by the Indians?? I don't know if he is out of options (I assume he is since he is going through waivers) but I know he had a lot of promise and was a top 3rd base prospect at one time. Just a thought...

Pete's reply: We were talking about that yesterday, but don't really know.

Shudder to think that one of the Oriole pitchers was once a fantasy stud. Do it again, Rich! Go O's!

I maintain that Rich Hill was the best pickup of the off-season. From everything I've read, this guy has #1-type stuff when he's getting the ball over the plate. If Kranitz can get him straightened out, this could turn out to be one of the best acquisitions in Oriole history!!!

Pete, If he gets his mechanics and his control down, he is the number two starter. Who else on the team has ever had a year like he had in 2007? It seems you would rather have a lefty in between Guthrie and Uehara. Then a lefty between Uehara and whoever wins number the number five spot. Just my opinion. You never know two other lefties could be in the rotation so you probably would not want lefty lefty lefty at 3, 4 and 5. Just a thought. With all the players competing for the three rotation spots, it will be interesting to say the least. Really hard to figure the rotation until you see them pitch into the last 10 days of exhibition, when they get longer outings. I am sure you will see a lot of starters this year because of not wanting to rush the young arms and the unknowns of this staff. Hendrickson, Baez, Waters, Liz, Penn, Waters, Alberz, Hennessey, Pauley, Bass and Hill are the ones I see competing for three spots. We really we do not know about Uehara, You cannot look at him as an automatic because he has never thrown in the big leagues, and he is listed as number two. The fact is there are so many unknowns that is why 37 guys were brought in, minus out the 6 future guys (Bergessen, Hernandez, Matusz, Tillman, Perez and Patton) that were invited to camp so the coaches can keep an eye on them and get a early look, you still have 31 guys looking at 12 spots, so it is going to be an interesting camp.

Pete: Have you ever seen a spring training filled with this many pitchers competing for spots?

Pete's reply: The short answer is no, and I don't know anybody else who has seen this before either.

I hope Hill makes a complete comeback, too, but fans leaving comments ought to try to get it back to reality. Our big, big goal for 2009 should be to get to .500, or at least to still have a shot at .500 with two weeks left in the season.

Hill could be Bob Gibson and we'd still have a steep hill to climb (pun intended) just to win more than we lose.

Gotta crawl before you can walk (insert your own cliche here.)

All I hear from fans is how bad the Orioles rotation is this year and how we should have made more moves in the offseason. You do realize these 3 spots in the rotation were occupied by Cabrera, Liz, Olson, etc for last season. They all had ERA's above 5 or 6 and we got 60 losses out of those 3 rotation slots. It's not like whoever ends up with those spots can do much worse. The rotation last year was Guthrie + a bunch of bad pitchers, now it's just Guthrie + a bunch of bad pitchers who cost less and have more upside.

A very big "IF". We have repeatedly see this happen to young pitchers and seldom do they over come it. Let hope that the O's staff and Hill can pull it off.

Pete, do you think the O's would gave any consideration to bringing Kris Benson in for a try?

Pete's reply: No.

37 pitchers in camp does not = optimism!

Mark my word, we'll be sitting here next year reading one columnist after another saying 'MP is putting the pieces together, not that it will mean more wins this year'.

Hill is a nice pick up as a 'project'.... not as a potential #3 in one's rotation!

Another guy with much hype is Pie. Nice pickup as a project, but as the O's semi regular LF? I keep hearing of his speed, but will someone (anyone) look at his stolen base caught ratio... It's terrible!

Happy about the signings of NM and BR. We just need to stop with all the hype least until someone can stop saying 'not that it will add up to more wins this year'!

Ah, the optimism of spring training.... The September swoon seems so far away!

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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