The field was too slick for Jeremy Guthrie to get in a routine pregame side session Friday, so he spent 15 minutes throwing the ball inside the tunnel at Camden Yards. Guthrie was throwing directly outside the home clubhouse, which inspired an odd scene.
Several people walked past his makeshift warmup session, and at one point, Guthrie even asked a reporter to step into the imaginary batter’s box for a few pitches.
And here’s what that reporter saw from the left-handed hitter’s pespective: A few fastballs, most of them along the inside part of the plate, and a slider that swept dangerously close to his leg. After that, there was nothing left to do but get back to work.
A strange scene played out in Baltimore’s home clubhouse on Thursday, moments after the Orioles had completed a 7-3 win over Kansas City. Several writers began seeking comment from closer George Sherrill, who had reportedly been traded to the Dodgers.
Sherrill was unaware of any development, and he left the clubhouse without resolution. On his way out the door, the veteran southpaw was asked by teammate Nick Markakis if he’d see him tomorrow. “Let’s hope,” said Sherrill, who then continued walking out the door.
One Baltimore official said that the deal isn’t quite done yet, but prospects Josh Bell and Steve Johnson are being named as the principal return. The Orioles are known to covet Bell, and Johnson has a tie to the organization through his father Dave, a Baltimore broadcaster.
Two of Baltimore’s veterans — shortstop Cesar Izturis and reliever Danys Baez — were gifted with their Gold card on Wednesday in recognition of eight years of big-league service. Both Baez and Izturis will be able to go to games (and bring a guest) for free for the rest of their lives. Both Baez and Izturis figure to have many years left in the game.
Veteran backstop Gregg Zaun caught Chris Tillman’s Major League debut on Wednesday night and came away impressed with his potential. Zaun, a 13-year veteran of the big leagues, provided a scouting report that makes Tillman sound like a potential long-term ace.
“I saw flashes of what I’ve heard,” said Zaun. “Real good fastball and at times an extremely sharp breaking ball, what some people might call a yakker. He’s got a good one. It’s there. And he’s got a tremendous changeup. But his offspeed stuff was in and out, and it was hard to get into a rhythm because he was in and out of the zone with all three of his pitches. “
Adam Jones homered in the first inning on
Wednesday, marking the third straight day that he’s launched
a round-tripper in his first at-bat. Baltimore’s center
fielder now has 17 home runs this season, which puts him
behind Luke Scott for second place on the
Rich Hill admitted Wednesday that he’s been pitching with a tear in the labrum of his pitching shoulder for the entire season, and in fact his entire Baltimore tenure. Hill said that the tear was originally found in an arthrogram administered by his former team, the Cubs.
Hill, who missed time in Spring Training due to tendinitis in his left elbow, is unsure how to proceed with his injury. The southpaw said he will undergo another arthrogram before deciding to go on a strengthening program or to surgically repair his damaged shoulder.
The Orioles acquired Hill during the offseason for a nominal cash transaction, and now they’ll allow him to plot his own medical course of action. The southpaw got an extended audition in Baltimore’s rotation, and now he’ll have to figure out how to best return to the Majors.
The Orioles are apparently set to promote top pitching prospect Chris Tillman to make his Major League debut on Wednesday, a move that allows Baltimore to give its other starters an extra day between rotation turns. Manager Dave Trembley said Saturday that Rich Hill will start Monday and Jason Berken on Tuesday before a mystery pitcher throws on Wednesday.
Trembley, who had said earlier in the week that Tillman’s promotion was imminent but with a uncertainty as to which specific day, said Saturday that Wednesday’s pitcher shouldn’t be a surprise. A roster move will be required, he said, and wouldn’t divulge much more info.
Trembley said he has no plans to go with a six-man rotation and that Wednesday’s start wouldn’t be a one-time audition, which likely means that Tillman’s presence will force someone else out of the rotation. In this case, it likely means Berken or Hill.
The Orioles endorsed Jason Berken to make Monday’s start against the Royals but cryptically stopped short of naming Rich Hill to start on Tuesday. Baltimore is considering the promotion of pitching prospect Chris Tillman, which would change the existing pitching equation. Still, at this point, they’re not prepared to say when he’ll join the team.
“You know, Tillman is going to get here,” said manager Dave Trembley. ”It’s just a matter of when. I can’t tell you right know the exact date when he’s going to be here.”
Andy MacPhail, Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, was just as cagey regarding Tillman’s potential promotion. MacPhail refused to lean either way, and when asked if a recent adverse start by Tillman would affect the timetable, he shook his head.
“I don’t think [it's fair] a kid that has pitched well virtually for the entire time that we got him to penalize him for a bad outing,” said MacPhail. ”To put that much emphasis on one outing, I don’t think would be fair to anybody.”
Fort Lauderdale is now officially the past, and Sarasota appears to be the future.
The Orioles learned Wednesday afternoon that the city of Sarasota voted 3-2 to pass an indemnification issue that stood as the last obstacle between Baltimore finding a new Spring Training home. Sarasota County still has to vote on three issues later today — including the same indemnification issue — but isn’t expected to vote against its own proposal.
So if you’re scoring at home — or alternately making plans for next year’s Spring Training — you can be safe in assuming the Orioles will call Ed Smith Stadium their new home. Baltimore reached an agreement Tuesday on a 30-year lease with Sarasota County that calls for more than $30 million in funds to be provided for the renovation of Ed Smith Stadium.
The Orioles will see a pair of hard-throwing relievers move closer to a full recovery in the next week, as both Dennis Sarfate and Chris Ray work their way back from injury. Ray will pitch for times for Double-A Bowie, and Sarfate will throw four times for Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles will evaluate both of them at that point, which figures to be shortly after August starts.
“Each guy has got four rehab assignments, and at the end of those four, we’ll re-evaluate,” said manager Dave Trembley. “Hopefully, they’ll both be ready to come join us at that time.”