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Will Matusz be the man in 2011?

If you took a fan vote and asked which O’s starter is the best pitcher of the bunch, I bet Brian Matusz would win the vote. He sure ended last year doing a lot of winning on the field. After he picked up just three wins in his first 21 starts through the end of July, the 24-year-old lefty won seven of his final 11

Duchscherer move likely means Triple-A for Tillman, Britton

A quick early-morning thought on what the acquisition of Justin Duchscherer late Sunday night means for a couple of the Orioles’ young pitchers. It means Chris Tillman and Zach Britton are very likely to start the 2011 season in Triple-A Norfolk. For those that say Tillman doesn’t have anything left to learn at Triple-A, I don’t agree. He was 11-7 with a 3.34 ERA last

Once again, FanFest served as a great kickoff to a new season

If FanFest is about a great day to talk Orioles baseball and get excited for a new baseball season in Baltimore, then mission accomplished. Once again, more than10,000 fans packed the Baltimore Convention Center and it seems many of us left the building wishing today were opening day. Fanfest was: * Seeing Buck Showalter walk to the main stage shortly after 10 a.m. to a

Reimold happy he’s still an Oriole

Nolan Reimold is at FanFest - and happy to still be an Oriole. During the Winter Meetings, it looked like Reimold would get dealt to Tampa Bay in a move that would have made shortstop Jason Bartlett an Oriole. “I woke up one morning and got a text from my agent to call him and that’s how I found out I was about to get

New O’s coach Wayne Kirby can’t wait to get started

If you want to meet someone that is almost bubbling over with excitement for the new Orioles season, check out new first base coach Wayne Kirby. Kirby is the only member of the new O’s staff that has never coached in the majors, but he can’t wait to get started. “I have a lot of passion for this game,” Kirby said. “I bring energy every

Wieters aiming for offensive resurgence in 2011

Matt Wieters hopes to put up better numbers on offense this year, and when he analyzed his game after the 2010 season he came to the conclusion that he chased too many pitches last season. “It’s consistency, getting pitches to hit and not chasing them out of the zone. In the minors, I prided myself on discipline at the plate and last year I got

Guthrie, Orioles have discussed long-term contract

Orioles starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie said today at FanFest that he and the club have had a conversation about the possibility of a long-term contract. “I don’t think the parties agreed on the length of it, but I love Baltimore. I love pitching here and anytime you can provide your family with security, it’s a great option. I’m very happy to also play it out

Fresh from West Coast workouts, Matusz eager to get going

Orioles lefty Brian Matusz is enjoying the optimism around the Baltimore Convention Center today and said he is pretty psyched for the 2011 season. “You can see it, everyone is excited,” he said. “We just seem like a team, we all are real comfortable right now. I keep saying it, but I am real excited about this spring. Our new park (in Sarasota), I hear

Showalter weighs in on starting pitching, Scott’s future role

After he and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail held their fan forum here today with season ticket holders, Orioles manager Buck Showalter talked with reporters on a few O’s topics. Showalter was asked if the club still wants to sign a veteran starting pitcher. “It’s something we have kicked around a lot. Just because a guy doesn’t necessarily look attractive with his recent track

O’s announce minor league coaching staffs

The Orioles today announced the coaching staffs for their seven minor league affiliates for the 2011 season. Gary Allenson returns for his sixth season in the organization. He will manage Triple-A Norfolk for the fifth season after guiding the Tides to a 24-31 record in the first two months of the 2010 season. Allenson was promoted to Baltimore to serve as third base coach for

One last time: Jordan on 2009 draftees Berry, Cowan and Martin

In our last article with O’s scouting director Joe Jordan on some of the pitchers selected in the 2009 draft, he talks about Ryan Berry, Jake Cowan and Jarret Martin. Berry has been a success story to this point, despite the fact he was a pitcher the O’s selected even though he had been hurt as a college pitcher that year at Rice. He missed

The 2009 draft: Joe Jordan with updates on Henry, Tolliver and Wirsch

Here is a followup to an article with O’s scouting director Joe Jordan addressing some of the pitching injuries to hurlers the O’s selected in the 2009 draft. In this post, he talks more specifically about some of those pitchers. Despite the injuries that impacted so many of the 2009 draftees last summer, Jordan remains quite hopeful for the pitchers taken in the top 10

O’s prospect Britton fired up to make a run at rotation spot

If some baseball prospects fly under the radar, Orioles pitching prospect Zach Britton isn’t one of them. Maybe fans didn’t know much about Britton when he was drafted in the third round out of a Texas high school in 2006, pitching at Rookie League Bluefield that summer. But it seems everyone now knows his name. Britton was named Carolina League pitcher of the year in

One argument that fans are not losing interest in baseball

According to a Harris Poll, pro football is the most popular sport in the United States. Among people that follow at least one sport, 31 percent say football is their favorite sport while baseball is second at 17 percent. In 1985, 23 percent in the same poll listed baseball as No. 1, so the sport is losing ground since then. There are some that think

Two O’s on list of MLB’s top 50 prospects

The Orioles have two of baseball’s top 24 prospects, according to MLB.com. In announcing its top 50 prospects last night, MLB.com named left-handed pitcher Zach Britton as the game’s 19th best prospect and rated shortstop Manny Machado as the 24th. Britton, who turned 23 on Dec. 22, went 10-7 with a 2.70 ERA in 26 starts last year between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. The

The O’s 2009 draft: Addressing some pitching injuries with Joe Jordan

When it comes to the Orioles’ 2009 draft, Matt Hobgood is not the only pitcher the O’s selected then that has dealt with or is currently dealing with injury issues. The club selected 12 pitchers among the first 20 rounds in that draft, signing 10 of them. Of those 10, six pitched fewer than 50 innings last summer. They selected six pitchers in the first

Some names in the news: Damon, Cashman and Vladdy

Starting the countdown to FanFest and spring training with a look around the AL East. Color me surprised by Tampa After years of watching the Tampa Bay Rays build an impressive franchise by signing and developing young talent as well as anyone, it was interesting to see their latest additions. Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on the Rays? What is the AL East coming to?

Spending some time in the broadcast booth with Keith Olbermann

I am not even sure which exact year it took place. I think it was the 2005 or maybe the 2006 season. But it was in Staten Island, N.Y., one night where I got to share a broadcast booth for a while with Keith Olbermann. Yes, this is another one of Steve’s minor league stories. I was broadcasting Aberdeen IronBirds games and the Birds were

A little more Vlad talk

What is that game we played as kids, was it musical chairs? You know where you dive for the seat as the music stops. At the end there is one kid and one chair. Is Vlad Guerrero the kid and are the Orioles the chair? Is what seemed like a remote possibility now more likely after yesterday’s other moves in baseball? If reader response on

MacPhail: Guerrero report “is not accurate”

In an e-mail this morning, O’s president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail responded to a report that the Orioles are close to signing slugger Vladimir Guerrero. “Report is not accurate,” MacPhail wrote to MASNSports.com. Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio reported last night, via Twitter, that Guerrero was close to accepting a deal from the Orioles. Guerrero, who turns 36 in February, hit .300-29-115 last

Who will be the next Oriole to sign a long-term contract?

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that the Orioles moved to lock up two of their better home-grown players and signed Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts to long-term contracts. Who will be the next Oriole, home grown or not, to sign the next megabucks deal? The Orioles have signed four of their six arbitration-eligible players to 2011 contracts but there hasn’t been

Buckball: Will O’s skipper continue turnaround in 2011?

No doubt, Orioles fans quickly became believers in manager Buck Showalter last season. He took over an O’s club that was 32-73 and then went 34-23 from Aug. 3 through the end of the year. The O’s winning percentage was .308 before he got there and .596 after he took over. The O’s posted winning records in both August and September for the first time

More with Jordan on Matt Hobgood

Here are some more quotes from my conversation with Orioles’ scouting director Joe Jordan on the selection of Matt Hobgood with the O’s 2009 first-round pick. The 20-year-old right-hander, who was taken with the fifth overall pick, is 4-9, 4.48 in 29 starts covering 120 2/3 innings the past two seasons with Bluefield and Delmarva. Hobgood has been criticized by fans for his performance and

Joe Jordan on Hobgood’s selection: “I am due scrutiny on that.”

Recently in this space, Matt Hobgood, the Orioles’ first-round draft pick in 2009, talked about his shoulder injury. Hobgood has a strained rotator cuff and has begun the process to rehab the injury. He cannot pinpoint exactly when the injury occurred, but does know that the fastball velocity he had as a high school senior has been missing in his two pro seasons. On Tuesday,

Reynolds on Ripken, his defense and life in the American League

In my recent interview with Mark Reynolds, we spent time on many topics, to include all his homers and all his strikeouts, but we also took time to visit on other aspects of his play and career as well. For instance, did you know that Reynolds is still somewhat a newcomer to third base? In college, at the University of Virginia, he was a shortstop

Will Adam Jones have a breakout year in 2011?

Among all the Orioles, the player that seems to evoke the greatest disparity of opinion on his play and his future from fans is center fielder Adam Jones. The commentary can range from fans writing in to say they think Felix Pie - not Jones - should be the center fielder to others saying that now is the time to sign Jones to a long-term

Tackling a few O’s topics

You get it. Tackling a few topics - an appropriate term for the weekend of football that is now here. But back to the topic at hand for this blog, here is a take or two on an O’s topic or two. A tale of two players It has been pointed out before - many, many times - that some players don’t seem to want

The story of one fan that will miss the 2011 season

By now most readers of this blog have probably come to learn that I have had a life-long passion for my favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles. My close friends and family know that later in life I developed a passion for a college baseball team, the Florida State Seminoles. For two seasons, in 2005 and 2006, I was the radio play-by-play broadcaster for FSU

Mark Reynolds talks about the K factor

Since the Orioles acquired third baseman Mark Reynolds more than a month ago, fans have gotten excited about his home run potential. But others have expressed concern about his league-leading strikeout totals, as well. Reynolds doesn’t shy away from the topic of his strikeout total of 638 over the last three seasons. He led the NL in strikeouts all three years and would like to

O’s need to be good hitters, but also smart hitters

The Orioles scored just 613 runs last season and that was next to last in the American League. Many fans are expecting that total to make a major jump after the additions of Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy. Plus, the O’s hope to have Brian Roberts for a full season and perhaps see hitters like Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters hit more like

After dealing with injuries, Coffey is hopeful for health in 2011

Lefty Cameron Coffey finally made his anticipated minor league debut for the Orioles last August in the Gulf Coast League and he went 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in seven games. Some fans may have assumed, as I did, that it just took time for Coffey to make it to the mound following his elbow ligament replacement surgery in March 2009. But while Coffey’s comeback

O’s re-sign Castillo, four others

When this offseason began, the Orioles had more than 20 of their players become minor league free agents. Some have re-signed with the club. According to Matt Eddy, in his minor league transactions listing on Baseball America’s Web site, the O’s re-signed pitchers Jose Diaz, Alberto Castillo and Chris George, and catchers Steven Lerud and Michel Hernandez in December. An O’s source has confirmed these

Some pitchers have bad mechanics, but produce good results

When I was the play-by-play broadcaster several years ago for the Aberdeen IronBirds, I can remember watching a young right-hander from the Dominican Republic join our team in 2005 and start dominating New York-Penn League hitters. I can still remember a warm, July night in Burlington, Vt.,when he struck out 15 without a walk in six brilliant, dominant, shutout innings. That year with the IronBirds,

Could Reynolds do what Albert Belle once did in Baltimore?

When looking at new O’s corner infielders Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds, you could make a case for either as the club’s best power bat acquisition. Lee has a career OPS of .865 to Reynolds’ .817. While Reynolds has never had an OPS over .900 in his four big league seasons, Lee’s OPS was .972 with the Cubs in 2009. But if you talk strictly

Is the demise of the AL East being greatly exaggerated?

Many readers on this and other blogs have mentioned two things that fuel their optimism for the Orioles in 2011: The O’s have improved while several American League East teams have not. While I, like most of you, feel the Orioles can be much improved with their additions in the field, their young pitching, their strong finish and a full season with Buck Showalter, I

He’s angling for a shot in the majors

Since he was drafted by the Orioles in round seven out of Ohio State in 2007, outfielder Matt Angle has made steady progress through the minor leagues and, in November, he joined Joe Mahoney and Zach Britton in being added to the 40-man roster for the first time. “It was a great day,” the 25-year-old Angle said. “It’s an honor and for them to think

Are there issues with the Hall of Fame voting process?

There are some things I just don’t understand about the Hall of Fame voting process that elected Robbie Alomar and Bert Blyleven yesterday. How can a player like Blyleven not be good enough for election for 13 straight years, yet make it on the 14th try? Don’t get me wrong, Blyleven deserves to be in, and this was long overdue. Clearly, some voters who didn’t

Pondering a few Orioles questions

If you talk to yourself on the bus or at a restaurant, people might stare. But in a blog, I can ask myself some questions and then answer myself. You are most invited to respond with your answer or answers to one or all of the following questions about 2011 O’s baseball. What was the Orioles most significant acquisition? No it probably won’t be the

Can Matt Wieters get his bat going in 2011?

After tearing it up as a college hitter and then being named the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters had a strong rookie year in 2009. He seemed poise for a possible breakout, all-star-type season in 2010. Instead, Wieters took a step back offensively. While some just felt Wieters was over-hyped and not as good as advertised, it’s just too

Next question: How much better are the Orioles?

So now that we can say the season (spring training at least) starts next month, some excitement is clearly building for the 2011 version of Orioles baseball. Many fans seem quite pleased with the offseason additions and some seem to even feel the club could contend if a lot breaks right. I would still guess that is a two-year process where you would hope to

Maybe there will be glee about adding Lee

New year, new first baseman for the Orioles. After all the worry, hand-wringing and frustration over how long the process played out, the O’s got a decent first sacker, one that is one season removed from hitting 35 homers with 111 RBI in 141 games. They didn’t get Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena or Adam LaRoche, who just wasn’t worthy of a

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