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Having just one bullpen lefty should not be a problem

I am not concerned in the least that the Orioles will begin the season with just one left-hander in the bullpen. First of all, pitchers like Mark Hendrickson, Clay Rapada, Troy Patton and Chris George all may start on the Triple-A staff and will be a phone call away if needed. Also, there is this big reason not to be concerned: The stat sheet says

New season, new radio show

It's become a pretty important part of sports-talk on radio. That's the call-in show where fans and listeners can vent, analyze the game and react right after the game ends. Well, this year, after Orioles' games, you will have your chance to do just that and I will be the voice at the other end of the phone line. I am thrilled to officially announce

The interesting story of O's minor leaguer Jose Nivar

He began the Gulf Coast League season in 2010 as a right fielder with a very strong arm for the Orioles entry in that league. He ended the year as a pitcher. Jose Nivar, like a lot of youngsters from the Dominican, apparently has a pretty powerful right arm. He was signed by Carlos Bernhardt on Sept. 7, 2006, and the next three seasons played

New season brings new baseball show to MASN

With the start of a new baseball season, MASN is expanding its coverage of the Orioles and Nationals. The network that brings you 324 game telecasts of two teams in six states now adds "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report," a new 90-minute show each weekday at 5 p.m. The show makes its debut Thursday after the Nationals game and the "Nats Xtra" postgame telecast. Veteran broadcaster

Hoes takes time to work on his defense and the mental part of the game

Over the last couple of years I have had the chance to interview many Orioles minor leaguers. Few have been as impressive as LJ Hoes. He's an articulate young man of 21 who has an ability to analyze his play and understand where he needs to improve. He seems very coachable and passionate about the game. This week, I asked him where he learned to

Hoes relieved after his liner drilled Matusz

For those watching at the time, it had to be an intriguing matchup. LJ Hoes was in the batter's box and Brian Matusz on the mound. But then Hoes took a swing and one of the O's top prospects hit a liner that drilled one of the O's top pitchers in the left arm. For Hoes, it was a scary moment. He didn't want his

Two predictions for the O's win total in 2011

I am going to cut to the chase here today. My goal and also prediction for the Orioles for this year is for a season of 82 and 80. That would put to rest the streak of 13 consecutive losing seasons and provide the club with it's most wins since the 1997 group went 98-64, a wire-to-wire first place finish. That would represent a very

Some possible trouble for former O's farmhand

Vito Frabizio, who in 2009 appeared to be an up-and-coming young pitcher in the Orioles farm system, could be in some trouble. According to this story that Keith Law linked to his Twitter account today, Frabizio was arrested in the New York area for his part in a bank robbery. The right-hander went 4-4 with a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts for Rookie League Bluefield

ESPN's Tim Kurkjian talks about Zach Britton

Tim Kurkjian of ESPN has covered baseball long enough to know when the scouts are buzzing about a player, he should take note of said player. A few weeks back in Florida he ran into a scout. "Have you seen Zach Britton pitch yet?" the scout said to Kurkjian. "If you haven't, go see him." Kurkjian, a one-time O's beat writer for the Baltimore Sun,

Pat Egan talks about returning to the Orioles

When Pat Egan reported to Milwaukee Brewers camp in Tempe, Ariz., Thursday morning, he said he had a feeling it could be his last day with that organization. "I came in this morning and took a look at the travel roster and I wasn't on it and also I haven't thrown in a couple of days. I kind of had an eerie feeling that something

I'll bet O's fans approve of Showalter's comments

As if Buck Showalter hasn't already done enough to get Orioles fans energized and excited for the new season, now there is this: Although, the headline on ESPN.com may be a bit misleading. Showalter didn't exactly "rip" Derek Jeter. "The first time we went to Yankee Stadium, I screamed at Derek Jeter from the dugout. Our guys are thinking, 'Wow, he's screaming at Derek Jeter.'

No need to fret over Reynolds' strikeouts in 2011

One player that I predict will be much-discussed by fans this year is O's third baseman Mark Reynolds. If he gets off to a slow start with the strikeouts mounting, I can see fans getting frustrated. Not Garrett Atkins type frustrated, but still agitated. There is no doubt in my mind that Reynolds' high number of strikeouts is going to bother some fans. There is

In search of a 20-game winner

I am not necessarily looking to confuse my readers, but now that I wrote in yesterday's blog that a starting pitcher's win total is no way to tell us if that pitcher is any good, let's talk about wins. I'm wondering where all the 20-game winners have gone? The Orioles haven't had one since Mike Boddicker went 20-11 in 1984. From 1968 through 1980, the

What stats should we use to rate a starting pitcher?

When I was hosting a radio sports show about a week ago on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, a caller came on to say how mediocre he thought Jeremy Guthrie was and that his lack of wins proved that fact. Guthrie went 11-14 with an ERA of 3.83 over 32 starts in 2010. My argument was then, and often is about starting pitchers, that the

Offense is nice, but pitching and defense rule the day

Some fans may have been surprised this week when manager Buck Showalter was asked about Jake Fox. A reporter wanted to know if someone with seven homers (Fox) could still possibly not make this team come Opening Day. "Yes," Showalter replied. I would guess he said that for a couple of reasons. One, he knows there are still almost two weeks of games left and

Orioles lineups present and past

When watching the MLB Network's "30 Clubs in 30 days" show this week on the Orioles, they listed the club's potential starting lineup. 2B - Brian Roberts RF - Nick Markakis 1B - Derrek Lee DH - Vladimir Guerrero LF - Luke Scott CF - Adam Jones 3B - Mark Reynolds C - Matt Wieters SS - J.J. Hardy This lineup makes a lot of

A special NCAA tourney memory

Non-baseball entry alert! I promise I will get back to baseball talk with another entry in a few hours, but I want to start off today with a memory from an NCAA tourney 20 years ago. If it matters, it involves a kid from Maryland and Cole Field House. Hope you take the time to read on. If you're not interested and only want a

MLB Network talks Orioles

The Orioles were the featured team last night on MLB Network's 30 in 30 club previews. Analysts John Hart and Dan Plesac had several positive comments about the club and its outlook for 2011. "There should be a lot of excitement with the finish they had with Buck Showalter," Hart said. "There used to be a time when the Oriole Way really meant something. I

Draft could be focus in baseball labor talks

No one is talking about any strikes or lockouts in Major League Baseball, but the collective bargaining agreement in the sport does expire after this coming season in December. The sides have already had labor talks in Florida and they are expected to resume soon in Arizona. Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan expects discussion about the First-Year Player Draft and the possible changes to it

Joe Mahoney: It was a good first impression

After producing seven hits in 17 at-bats for a .412 batting average in his first major league spring training camp, Orioles' first base prospect Joe Mahoney seems to have made the most of his initial chance to play for the Birds. "It was a great experience. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot," Mahoney said last night. "I was fortunate enough to

Zach Britton: Can he make this team now?

Heading into spring training, I had assumed that Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Jake Arrieta were pretty much locks to make the starting rotation and that, if healthy, Justin Duchscherer would join them. That would allow for Rick VandenHurk to compete for a bullpen role and Chris Tillman and Zach Britton to begin the year at Triple-A. Well, those plans could be changing.

Some weekend quick takes

A few impressions and opinions on the happenings at Orioles camp in Sarasota. *The injury news about Brian Roberts and Derrek Lee reminds us of the biggest issue facing this team this year. It's not how much Vladimir Guerrero has left, the progress of the young rotation or the development of Matt Wieters. It's the health of this team. They can't afford to lose many

When it comes to drafting high school or college, do O's have a preference?

When it comes to the June draft, do the Orioles have a preference when it comes to drafting a high school or a college player? Some teams have been said to have preferences, but O's scouting director Joe Jordan said the Orioles do not. "For me, I don't care. It's the best player, what fits the best for that round. That's really how we look

Third-round pick Klein out to show his stuff in 2011

Coming off some dominating performances late last year and after a winter of workouts near his Orange County, Calif., home, O's minor league pitcher Dan Klein is now ready for his first full professional season. Klein, the O's second pick in last June's draft, which came in round three, reported to minor league camp at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota, Fla., on Sunday Some O's

Yeah, Zach Britton was pretty good vs. Yankees

When we all got to see Zach Britton pitch so well on the MASN telecast Monday night, many O's fans may have been thinking the same thing: I hope this is a glimpse at a future when young pitcher after young Orioles pitcher takes the mound and shuts down another American League East opponent. Despite the fact it was just an exhibition game, you probably

Check out this interview with Dave Trembley

When Dave Trembley was dismissed as Orioles' manager last year, a good man lost his job. I think O's fans realize that Trembley is a good guy who put everything he had into a very difficult job. I wish the guy nothing but the best in his new role with the Atlanta Braves and hope our paths cross at some point during the coming season.

After mechanical adjustment, Steve Johnson is excited for the new season

For pitcher Steve Johnson, it had to be frustrating and confusing and a little difficult to deal with. First, he was traded to the Orioles, his hometown team as a kid from Baltimore, and that was exciting. Then, after the trade with the Dodgers, he pitched to a 2.84 ERA over seven starts with Double-A Bowie late in the 2009 season. Then he comes out

Are the fans too hard on Jones?

As we get set for our second MASNsports.com chat with fans tonight at 6 p.m at Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium, I am reminded of part of the conversation there the last time. We had a question or comment from someone about Adam Jones. It probably sounded a little to the fans there like I was coming to Jones' defense, but I said that night,

Higher expectations: Brian Matusz or Manny Machado?

Here is an interesting question to ponder and debate. Do Orioles fans have higher expectations this season for Brian Matusz or Manny Machado? Matusz will, of course, pitch in the major leagues while Machado is set to begin his first full year in the O's minors. A lot is expected from both. Each are among the biggest stars currently in this organization. Matusz showed perhaps

After hand and hamstring injuries, Townsend could be poised for big year

If you wanted to pick an Orioles' minor leaguer that could put up some real solid numbers this year, you could probably do a lot worse than Tyler Townsend. The 22-year-old first baseman, the O's third-round pick out of Florida International in 2009, hit very well last year - when he could get on the field. The lefty hitter was limited to 52 games because

It's the bullpen for O's third-round pick Dan Klein

If you were under the impression, as I was, that O's pitching prospect Dan Klein would be used as a starting pitcher this year, that is not the case. The decision has been made to use Klein, the O's third-round pick in the draft last June, out of the bullpen this season in the minor leagues. The biggest factor seems to be the fact that

Jim Callis and Joe Jordan on high school vs. college in the draft (with update)

It's a topic that followers of the first year player draft in baseball have debated for years: Should a club draft more high school players that may have a higher ceiling with their talent or more college players that they have scouted more and are closer to the majors? In the recent listing by Baseball America of its top 100 prospects in the game, there

Ken Rosenthal takes a shot or two at the Orioles

Well, it wasn't Keith Law this time. A frequent critic of the Orioles over the years, Ken Rosenthal takes a few pokes at the team in a column today. The former Baltimore Sun reporter and columnist, who now works for Fox Sports and MLB Network, makes some valid points and remains, in my opinion, one of the top writers/analysts that covers the game. However, Rosenthal

Passing along rehab advice: Spoone has been where Erbe is going

As Brandon Erbe continues to progress from his surgery last August to repair a torn labrum, he can turn to Chorye Spoone for advice. A fellow Maryland native, Spoone had shoulder surgery in September 2008 and has pretty much made a full recovery after pitching 132 innings last summer for Double-A Bowie. "I told him there will be days when you feel like something is

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