Does anyone know what happened to Ronny Paulino?
What about his car?
Paulino was the Orioles' backup catcher on opening day, but they optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk on July 15 to make room for catcher Taylor Teagarden, who was coming off the 60-day disabled list. And the rest is history of sorts.
The Orioles re-signed Teagarden this winter, and he's going to be their backup catcher if he stays healthy. Not much drama behind the plate.
Teagarden began the season on the disabled list with a strained back. In spring training, we foolishly thought his knee was going to be the only concern, but it got to the point where we wondered if he'd ever make it to Camden Yards.
As it turned out, Teagarden started 15 games behind the plate and the Orioles went 10-5. He had as many RBIs as hits with nine.
He was clutch - hitting a walk-off home run against the Tigers in the 13th inning in his Orioles debut (and becoming the first player in franchise history to do so, according to Elias), producing a game-winning RBI double in the 10th inning at Tampa on Aug. 5, stroking a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning against the Rays on Sept. 13 and delivering a pinch-hit, game-winning single in the 18th inning in Seattle on Sept. 18. That was his fourth go-ahead or game-winning hit in the seventh inning or later.
Yes, the backup job belongs to him if he stays healthy.
"Even coming into spring, I had a couple knee issues," he said. "I had a couple surgeries coming into spring. I was trying to push the fast-forward button, making sure I was catching up and able to do everything I wanted to. This year, I've had a very productive offseason. I'm just excited coming in and being 100 percent and firing on all cylinders coming into spring right away."
The Orioles agreed to terms with Teagarden on Nov. 30 to avoid arbitration.
"I was confident that I'd be back here," he said. "I thought I developed a good relationship with the coaches and the team. It's not as cut and dried as everyone thinks, but I really thought that I had a good place here with the team and I'm excited to be back, for sure.
"It's another chance to play in the big leagues and I'm excited. I understand the landscape of the team and what Matt Wieters' role is with the organization. It's always a blessing to be in the big leagues and my job is to just play the best that I can whenever that opportunity is. I'm happy to be playing here with Matt Wieters and to be playing on a winning team."
Teagarden accepts his backup role. Sure, he'd like to be the starter, but he's realistic.
"Ultimately, you want to be an everyday guy and be an All-Star and all those things, but sometimes the chances aren't as often as you think," he said. "It's tough. So many teams have No. 1 catchers. That's kind of the mold teams would like, to have a No. 1 catcher and a No. 2 catcher who plays 40 games, somewhere in that ballpark, but a lot of teams are built differently. A lot of teams split time. As for right now, I'm happy to be part of a winning team and we'll see what happens in the future."
Notes: Executive vice president Dan Duquette is supposed to speak today with Mark Hendrickson's agent, one of the final steps before the club invites the veteran left-hander to camp.
In case you missed it, the White Sox signed former Oriole Matt Lindstrom to a one-year contract over the weekend. And I'll say it again: This team doesn't need another one-inning reliever.
Here's a leftover quote from manager Buck Showalter concerning the Orioles' relative lack of activity this winter:
"I like where we are. I know a lot of people around baseball may think that's eyewash. I'm fine. Let them do it again. Let them think we didn't do anything. It's OK. I'm OK with that mentality. I think we did a lot by saying no to some stupid deals."
Pitcher Steve Johnson sent this tweet following the Ravens' victory over the Patriots in the AFC championship game:
"4 touchdowns tonight for our only scores and the win... Coincidence? I think not. #Earl"