Stockstill sizes up Jose Duran

Stockstill sizes up Jose Duran
If it's a long shot for a Rule 5 Draft pick to stick with the Major League team that selects him, then the odds must really be against a player taken in the Minor League phase of the draft ever making it. That didn't keep the Orioles from taking RHP Jose Duran from the Houston organization in today's Triple-A phase of the draft.
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Good news on Bergesen

Good news on Bergesen
O's pitcher Brad Bergesen is no longer worried about his left leg injury. In fact, he now pronounces himself completely healed as he gets ready for the 2010 season. "Everything is good. It finally feels 100 percent. It took awhile, about three months it turned out, until I felt this way. I've been working out now doing my normal routine for five weeks and everything feels good. Can't wait for spring training.
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In MacPhail fans can trust

In MacPhail fans can trust
There is probably a reason you don't hear much criticism of Andy MacPhail in the Baltimore media. He hasn't done much to criticize. No, I'm not drinking any cool aid or spouting any homer comments, just an honest opinion. MacPhail's pickup of Kevin Millwood this week could turn out to be big during the 2010 season and if Millwood is the positive influence on the young pitchers some say he will be, the O's could reap benefits long after Millwood is gone from the team.
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More beef for Tillman

More beef for Tillman
It's not like he plans to begin a steady diet of double cheeseburgers, but O's right hander Chris Tillman, at the urging of club officials, would like to add a few pounds for the 2010 season.
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Not lacking in their rotation

Not lacking in their rotation
Should we worry that John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are a combined 24-5 in their careers vs. the Orioles? If and when the Red Sox complete the deal for Lackey, they will have the most formidable top three starters in the game. Who is the number one and number three? Are they just interchangeable? Remember the O's went 2-16 vs. Boston last year and they didn't have Lackey then.
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Looking back at the 2009 Bowie Baysox season with Brad Komminsk

Looking back at the 2009 Bowie Baysox season with Brad Komminsk
Today we continue our look back at O's minor league teams from the 2009 season with a feature on Double-A Bowie of the Eastern League with comments from Baysox manager Brad Komminsk. Komminsk has been in the O's organization for two years. His 2008 team went 84-58, made the playoffs and he was named Eastern League manager of the year. Last season, Bowie was 3rd in the Southern Division at 73-69 and a wild-card contender until the season's final days. The Baysox were 7th in the league...
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Erbe gets a clean bill of health

Erbe gets a clean bill of health
O's pitching prospect Brandon Erbe says the sprained right pinky finger that limited him to nine innings in the Arizona Fall League is no longer a problem. "It's doing well. Everything is fine. I'll start throwing here in the next week or two, just now, give it a little rest. There has been plenty of time to let it heal. I'll be ready for spring training." The 21-year-old Erbe says an O's hand specialist looked at the finger and pronounced it fine. He'll now have a normal winter...
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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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