Andy MacPhail talks about Billy Rowell

Andy MacPhail talks about Billy Rowell
Since he hit .328 in 2006 between Bluefield and Aberdeen, the career of Billy Rowell has been on a downward spiral. While he's still very young, and the O's management remains solidly behind him, Rowell has put together back-to-back mediocre years at Frederick. Rowell w-Fred, 2008: .248-7-50....315 OBP.....368 slug......104 K's Rowell w-Fred, 2009 .225-9-39....284 OBP......336 slug.......122 K's
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Talking Baysox pitching with Brad Komminsk

Talking Baysox pitching with Brad Komminsk
Today we continue our review of the 2009 Bowie Baysox season with a look at some of the Bowie pitchers and how they fared during this past season. All stats in bold are from Bowie only and all the quotes in this article are from Baysox manager Brad Komminsk.
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Moreland had a big year in 2009

Moreland had a big year in 2009
There is a pitcher in the O's minor leagues who had a sparkling record, a 2.74 ERA and a 6.8 to 1.0 strikeout to walks ratio in 2009, yet he is seldom talked about and for sure went under the radar this past year. This is nothing new for right hander Kenny Moreland. If you spend a few minutes talking to the 23-year-old Moreland you can sense he's rather grounded and would much rather pile up outs than accolades.
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All I want for Christmas is a winning season

All I want for Christmas is a winning season
Come on, Santa. Twelve straight losing seasons is enough. I'll leave extra cookies. You know O's fans have been good all these years. Well, for the most part. They've certainly been better than those Yankee and Red Sox fans that parade into the Yard every year. Maybe Santa won't be able to leave a winning season under the tree. How would you wrap that anyway. Still, the O's seem to be sticking to the plan this winter and have made some nice pickups.
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Rowell's big chance

Rowell's big chance
Last weekend in this space, I presented quotes from Andy MacPhail about Billy Rowell and the likelihood that Rowell will play at Double-A Bowie in 2010. This despite the fact that most of Rowell's stats and his performance decreased in 2009 even though it was his second year with the Frederick Keys. Rowell has become a bit of an issue for the club. A player with big power potential taken in round one in 2006 that has yet to deliver.
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Pondering the offense

Pondering the offense
Here's a question that could well produce a variety of opinions. Is the Orioles offense better now than it was last season? The only bat added was that of Garrett Atkins. The O's have not been able to add a proven year-to-year, big-time run producer. The O's know Atkins hit just .226 last season. But they also know that from 2006 through 2008 he averaged .305 with 25 homers and 110 RBI to go along with 38 doubles per season.
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Pondering how to use the bullpen

Pondering how to use the bullpen
It is an area where Dave Trembley caught some criticism during last season - use of the bullpen. It may also be the most difficult thing for a manager to manage. All you have to do is keep everyone as fresh as you can, try to keep them in their roles, not warm them up too much without getting them in and have the right pitcher face the right batter (matchups) at the exact right time - and then get him out.
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Not Holliday time for O's

Not Holliday time for O's
You were probably skeptical, as I was, when you heard a report that the Orioles had offered Matt Holliday an eight-year, $130 million deal. How could this get reported in a reputable outlet by a very experienced reporter and not be accurate? That I'm not sure, but give Andy MacPhail credit for quickly returning Roch's call to provide the truth even though it would disappoint some fans. The O's aren't in on Holliday. Certainly not at those terms.
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Starting a New Year pondering starting pitching

Starting a New Year pondering starting pitching
There are many factors which will determine if the O's can make a solid improvement in 2010. Chief among them is what happens on the mound. It all starts with the starting pitching. The O's rotation for 2010 projects to be, not necessarily in this order, Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.
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For the love of the game

For the love of the game
The movie "the rookie" was on TV last night. It reminds us all that baseball produces great stories. It's about Jim Morris, the pitcher that made the Tampa Bay club as a 35-year-old rookie in 1999. The game of baseball can be so great. So can the people that play it. Of course there are plenty of times when those people that play and run the sport show their flaws. Many of us have had a life-long love affair with the sport. Some can pinpoint the exact moment when it all began.
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Jays join O's and Rays in pursuit of NY & Boston

Jays join O's and Rays in pursuit of NY & Boston
The team that once signed B.J. Ryan to a five-year, 47-million dollar deal and then later released him, is going back to the future. The Toronto Blue Jays, who once built championship teams partially due to shrewd drafting, will now put added emphasis on the First-Year Player Draft. It seems the Jays now realize like the Orioles and Rays that you can't outspend the Yankees and Red Sox but maybe you can outsmart them on occasion.
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Not so fast on the Erbe to the bullpen talk

Not so fast on the Erbe to the bullpen talk
O's minor league hurler Brandon Erbe was recently named by Baseball America as the O's 7th-best prospect. After going 5-3, 2.34 in 14 Double-A starts in 2009, with Eastern League batters hitting just .170 vs. him, it looks like Erbe could be a future stalwart in the O's Major League rotation. The only problem with that thinking is some project Erbe's future to be in the bullpen.
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Pondering the pitching roles for Hernandez and Berken

Pondering the pitching roles for Hernandez and Berken
Last season David Hernandez and Jason Berken combined to start 43 games for the Orioles. But will that pair start any games for the Birds in 2010? Will they be moved to bullpen roles? It is a key question to be answered, probably not until at least deep into spring training. First the O's have to make sure the projected starting five of Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman are all healthy and ready to go come opening day.
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Tough time for a real good guy

Tough time for a real good guy
It has been a tough few months for now former Orioles pitcher Bob McCrory. After pitching in good health most of the 2009 season between Norfolk and Baltimore, he felt some pain while pitching for the O's in September and underwent labrum surgery October 2nd at Johns Hopkins hospital. Several weeks later the O's out-righted him to Triple-A and he was removed from the 40-man roster. He became a minor league free agent.
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How former Twin Denny Hocking joined the O's organization

How former Twin Denny Hocking joined the O's organization
A friendship with a member of the O's public relations department and a Little League coaching dispute have combined to lead former Twin Denny Hocking to the Orioles organization. Hocking will be a first-year pro coach when he serves this coming season as Frederick Keys' field coach. Hocking, who played in the Majors from 1993 to 2005, has known Jeff Lantz, the O's media relations manager, for a long time.
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Stockstill talks about Bordick's new role

Stockstill talks about Bordick's new role
Mike Bordick played six seasons for the Orioles and had a reputation as a smart and very solid defender at shortstop. But it's the smarts he also used with his bat that he'll use in his new role as O's minor league offensive coordinater. Bordick, a career .260 Major League hitter with 1,500 career hits, served as roving infield instructor for the Toronto Blue Jays last season.
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Minor League notes

Minor League notes
The Orioles began the offseason with 22 of their own players that qualified as minor league free agents. While the club has not officially announced any signings yet, the O's have re-signed five of those players: pitchers Josh Perrault, Ross Wolf, Chris George and Alfredo Simon and third baseman Scott Moore. Perrault is a 27-year-old right-hander the O's selected in the 2008 Rule 5 minor league draft from the Nationals' organization. In 2009, between Bowie and Norfolk, he went 1-4, 2.13...
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Staying put for Reimold

Staying put for Reimold
I don't understand why some fans want to move Nolan Reimold to first base. I know the O's have an opening at that position. But they still might acquire someone to play there - plus they have three first basemen on the 40-man roster in Brandon Snyder, Rhyne Hughes and Michael Aubrey. If the O's had any designs at all to put Reimold at first base, we would have heard more about it by now.
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It's Complicated

It's Complicated
That might be the title of a Meryl Streep movie. It could also be a phrase used when talking about Mark McGwire and his admission that he used steroids. McGwire should score some points with fans and media for admitting his mistake. He should lose some points for the fact that it took him this long. But he has at least admitted using steroids. Anyone expecting to hear a similar confession from Barry Bonds and/or Roger Clemens, who many assume also used steroids?
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Hernandez preps for 2010 season

Hernandez preps for 2010 season
After making 19 starts for the Orioles on the mound last year, right hander David Hernandez is quite aware that he is not assured a rotation spot in 2010. But right now he has other important issues to deal with. When I spoke with David by phone Wednesday afternoon, he was speaking from his new house in Elk Grove, California. He and his wife Rachel were awaiting the birth of their first child, a son, that could come at any time. For now, at least for Hernandez, thoughts of the 2010 season...
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