J.J. more than OK in return

J.J. more than OK in return
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre threw two interceptions last night. Save it for the playoffs, Brett. Nice outing by Jim Johnson last night in his first major league action since April 30. Hard to believe it's been that long. Manager Buck Showalter found an opportune time to take Johnson for a test-drive, in the ninth inning with the Orioles holding a 5-0 lead. The first batter reached on an infield hit, but Johnson didn't allow another baserunner. Most impressive to me, his fastball was...
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Bell's crushing the splits (updated)

Bell's crushing the splits (updated)
Josh Bell has always hit better from the left side of the plate. The splits are so uneven that many fans have suggested that he give up switch-hitting. Team officials have chosen to wait, but they're aware of the discrepancy. So explain how Bell's three major league home runs have come against left-handers. Bell just took Scott Kazmir deep with Cesar Izturis on base, giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning. He went to the opposite field with an 0-2 count. Kazmir has lost six of...
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While waiting on Jones (still not playing)

While waiting on Jones (still not playing)
Still no Adam Jones in the lineup. This is the fourth straight game without him. Julio Lugo 2B Nick Markakis RF Ty Wigginton 1B Luke Scott DH Jake Fox LF Felix Pie CF Crag Tatum C Cesar Izturis SS Josh Bell 3B Kevin Millwood RHP Here's the Angels lineup: Bobby Abreu LF Howie Kendrick 2B Alberto Callaspo 3B Torii Hunter RF Hideki Matsui DH Mike Napoli 1B Erick Aybar SS Bobby Wilson C Peter Bourjos CF Scott Kazmir LHP
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Machado Man

Machado Man
If you're going to get your first professional hit, make it a home run. Don't fool around. First-round pick Manny Machado was 0-for-5 as a pro before launching a two-run homer in the sixth inning today for the Gulf Coast League Orioles. He had flied out to center field twice this morning after going 0-for-3 yesterday in his debut. He grounded to the pitcher in his last at-bat today. If you're going to start out 1-for-7 as a pro, make that one hit a home run. Machado will work out with...
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For Roberts, it's hip to be sore

For Roberts, it's hip to be sore
I couldn't fall asleep last night, so I tried counting Brian Roberts' injuries. Man, it's been a tough year for the Orioles' second baseman and leadoff hitter. I'm afraid to ask what's next. Roberts is day-to-day with a strained left hip. He told reporters that it began bothering him about a week ago and has gotten worse. It's doubtful that he'll play tonight, so look for Julio Lugo at second base against Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir. Roberts showed up at spring training with a...
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Roberts joins injured list (updated)

Roberts joins injured list (updated)
Brian Roberts was forced out of tonight's game with a strained left hip. Let's hope his day-to-day is shorter than Adam Jones' day-to-day. Josh Bell entered the game in the fourth and batted for Roberts in the sixth. He singled leading off the inning and scored with two outs on Luke Scott's infield hit, giving the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Bell was supposed to get the night off. He's been in a terrible slump since his two-homer game, striking out seven times in 14 at-bats. Julio Lugo, a...
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Quick check of the farm

Quick check of the farm
Lou Montanez hit his second home run tonight for Triple-A Norfolk. Tim Bascom held Charlotte to one run and five hits over seven innings. He threw 89 pitches, 59 for strikes. Ryan Adams is 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored for Double-A Bowie, raising his average to .305. Left Fielder Tyler Henson was 2-for-2 with a double and RBI before coming out of the game, causing a lot of position shuffling. Adams moved from second to third. Brandon Waring moved from third to first. Joe...
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Waiting on Jones (updated twice)

Waiting on Jones (updated twice)
The Orioles haven't posted their lineup because they're waiting to find out whether Adam Jones is healthy enough to play. Update: Jones remains out of the lineup. Mark Viviano reports that Felix Pie will start in center field, with Corey Patterson in left. Julio Lugo is starting at third base. Also, Jim Johnson threw off a mound and is available tonight. Update II: Pie is now starting in left, with Patterson going to center. Manager Buck Showalter just switched them. Man, that's a lot of...
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A few random notes (plus one more)

A few random notes (plus one more)
In case you forgot, reliever Jim Johnson was 1-1 with one save and a 6.52 ERA in 10 games with the Orioles before going on the disabled list and spending most of his days and nights in Sarasota. Johnson threw two innings on Tuesday for Double-A Bowie, so he should be available tonight if the Orioles need him. They wouldn't activate him this soon if he wasn't ready. The question is, how will they use him? Will he be eased back into major league competition or called upon late in a close...
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Machado's debut (updated)

Machado's debut (updated)
Orioles first-round pick Manny Machado played his first professional game today for the Gulf Coast League Orioles, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout as the designated hitter in a 1-0 victory over the Rays. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter before his fourth at-bat. Update: In case you missed it, Machado will work out with the Aberdeen IronBirds on Sunday and most likely play his first NY-Penn League game the following night. Ninth-round pick Parker Bridwell pitched the first inning, walking one,...
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Bordy breaks down Machado

Bordy breaks down Machado
Former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick just spent three days with first-round pick Manny Machado, though two of them were abbreviated because of the Florida rain. The weather didn't dampen Bordick's enthusiasm for the kid. "I think the first impressions were great," Bordick told me in a phone conversation last night. "He's got a good attitude. He's excited about being there. I think those first impressions have a big impact on how you approach these guys. "It looked like he's anxious...
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Gabino optioned

Gabino optioned
The Orioles announced after tonight's loss that they've optioned Armando Gabino to Triple-A Norfolk. A corresponding roster move will be announced tomorrow. Jim Johnson will be activated from the disabled list. No big mystery here. Look for Jason Berken to be transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Johnson on the 40-man roster. Gabino served up Alex Rios' two-run homer tonight. Nice parting gift. Gabino allowed seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings over five appearances...
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The one ineffective Jake (updated)

The one ineffective Jake (updated)
I wouldn't look for a quality start from Jake Arrieta tonight. He's allowed three runs, which still makes it possible, but he's also thrown a ton of pitches. Arrieta threw 350 in the first inning - or maybe it was 35. He was up to 70 after the third, and the White Sox held a 3-0 lead. Arrieta allowed five hits and walked three batters. He also was charged with one bad mustache. Instant update: Arrieta gave up another run with two outs in the fourth inning. He gets ahead in the count,...
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Not close to naming closer (updated)

Not close to naming closer (updated)
Orioles manager Buck Showalter still won't allow himself to be pressed into naming a closer, no matter how hard the media tries. Asked about Koji Uehara's role and whether the right-hander has emerged as the closer, Showalter said he'll continue to do "what's best for the Orioles." That might be Uehara one night and someone else the next. He mentioned how Alfredo Simon is still capable. He knows that Michael Gonzalez has closed games in the past. "But Koji, he's got a hot hand right...
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Jones scratched

Jones scratched
Here's the new lineup: Brian Roberts 2B Corey Patterson LF Nick Markakis RF Luke Scott DH Ty Wigginton 1B Felix Pie CF Matt Wieters C Cesar Izturis SS Josh Bell 3B Jake Arrieta RHP
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Jones in lineup - for now

Jones in lineup - for now
Manager Buck Showalter suggest that we jot down the lineup in pencil, in case Adam Jones is a late scratch. For the Orioles: Brian Roberts 2B Nick Markakis RF Ty Wigginton 3B Luke Scott 1B Adam Jones CF Felix Pie LF Matt Wieters C Corey Patterson DH Cesar Izturis SS Jake Arrieta RHP For the White Sox: Juan Pierre LF Omar Vizquel 3B Alex Rios CF Paul Konerko 1B Carlos Quentin RF A.J. Pierzynski C Alexei Ramirez SS Mark Teahen DH Gordon Beckham 2B Edwin Jackson RHP
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A few notes

A few notes
A victory tonight in Chicago would give the Orioles their fourth series win in seven series since Buck Showalter took over as manager on Aug. 3. The Orioles won just four of their first 34 series this year. The Orioles are 1-9 in games that decide the winner of a three-game series, including 0-4 on the road. Their only win came May 13 against Seattle. Jake Arrieta has posted a 3.29 ERA in two starts on five days rest, as opposed to a 5.00 ERA in 10 starts on four days rest. He's pitching on...
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A call to arms

A call to arms
The Orioles gained a game on the Yankees last night. You can look it up. Take full advantage of them while A-Rod is gone. Brian Matusz doesn't look like a young pitcher needs to be shut down in September. He's allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his last five starts and has posted a 2.32 ERA this month. I'm still wondering how the rotation will look over the final weeks of the season. The Orioles don't seem eager to add an extra starter, especially with two veterans who prefer...
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Closing argument for Koji

Closing argument for Koji
Koji Uehara hasn't been named the closer, but he worked the ninth inning again in a save situation. It was as hairy as his sideburns. Uehara got the first two outs before giving up back-to-back hits, including Carlos Quentin's triple that drove Corey Patterson into the fence and reduced the lead to 4-2. Uehara struck out A.J. Pierzynski to end the game and notch his second North American save, but he's not the closer. That's a dirty word in this town. He's just the latest guy to pitch...
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Two big hits (updated)

Two big hits (updated)
Matt Wieters was mired in a 7-for-38 slump when he lined a double to left field in the fifth inning that scored Felix Pie for 1-0 lead. Wieters moved to third base with one out and looked like he might be stranded, but Corey Patterson singled to left with two down to increase the lead to 2-0. Two big hits. Patterson was 6-for-16 lifetime against White Sox starter Mark Buehrle before tonight. Buehrle walked Brian Roberts intentionally after falling behind, 2-0, to bring Patterson to the...
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