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In the case of the caps, the Hall makes the call

Well, there certainly was a lot of discussion this week about Mike Mussina’s election to the Orioles Hall of Fame. Mussina played 18 seasons, 10 with the Orioles and eight with the Yankees. So the question has come up: If he gets elected to the Hall of Fame, would Mussina go into Cooperstown as an Oriole or a Yankee? First of all, he has to

Maybe this ‘pen will be mightier

If you think there has been spring training competition for starting rotation spots for the Orioles, well, that is not the only pitching competition that has been taking place in ballparks throughout Florida the last few weeks. The Orioles likely have seven spots for their bullpen and probably, right now, 10 to 11 solid candidates for those spots. Barring a trade, which quite possibly could

Even now, some hard feelings surface over Mussina’s jump to New York

At a time when it angers and disappoints many Orioles fans that the club has misfired on some key first-round draft picks in recent years, we should probably remember that Mike Mussina was a big hit. Just not with hitters. Taken 20th overall in round one out of Stanford in 1990, he went on to become one of the Orioles’ all-time best pitchers and is

Mussina and Dauer talk about making the Orioles Hall of Fame

Upon announcement of his election to the Orioles Hall of Fame today, Mike Mussina said he could understand that the Baltimore fans were frustrated with his decision to sign with the Yankees as a free agent before the 2001 season. “Looking back, I can understand people being upset, frustrated and bitter. Especially when you leave Baltimore and go to a rival city in the same

A few minor league notes (updated)

The beginning of the 2012 baseball season in the minor leagues is fast approaching and an Orioles minor league camp packed with players at Twin Lakes Park got at least a little smaller yesterday with a few players getting released by the organization. Right-handed Japanese pitcher Ryohei Tanaka, signed by the Orioles in April of 2009, was among them. The 29-year-old Tanaka went 22-21 with

Chavez comes up with big spring, but Reimold should still start in left

Endy Chavez may prove to be a real nice pickup for the Orioles this year. He has been among the team’s best hitters at spring training. In fact, he is batting .500 at 14-for-28. That is robust. Some have even speculated that Chavez could get some playing time in left field this year - and maybe even play ahead of Nolan Reimold. I say that

Peterson on the mental part of the game and minor league pitch counts

Earlier today, I published an entry with new Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson and his goal to have the organization’s pitchers work down in the strike zone and get quick outs this year. As it relates to less-experienced minor league pitchers, Peterson wants them to become better at the mental part of the game. “One thing we want is to get them to

Peterson pitching mantra: “Work down, quick outs”

When Ray Miller was the Orioles’ pitching coach he used to say his pitchers needed to “work fast, change speeds and throw strikes.” Now that Rick Peterson has taken over as the Orioles’ director of pitching development, that phrase could become “work down and get quick outs.” Peterson can cite plenty of stats that will show Orioles pitchers the benefits of keeping their pitches low

Are the Orioles shopping Kevin Gregg and Mark Reynolds?

All it takes is one. One tweet from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com saying that the Orioles are shopping both Kevin Gregg and Mark Reynolds, and soon everyone is picking up the report and it is almost taken as fact. The report could very well prove to be true, but I think you always have to be somewhat skeptical of trade rumor talk. Gregg’s name has

Matt Hobgood talks at length about his surgery and the origin of the injury

In his first interview since the news came out that he will need season-ending surgery on his ailing right shoulder on April 2, Orioles 2009 top draft pick Matt Hobgood said this development is encouraging to him and he said the doctor told him he should make a full recovery by next March. Dealing with shoulder soreness since he pitched for Rookie level Bluefield in

O’s Hobgood is headed for season-ending surgery

Orioles 2009 first-round draft pick Matt Hobgood is going to have season-ending surgery on his right rotator cuff after getting a second opinion from a doctor on his ailing shoulder. Hobgood, who said he had not felt right or truly free of discomfort since beginning his pro career, will be operated on April 2 by Dr. Craig Morgan of Wilmington, Del., a shoulder specialist. After

Duquette on Bundy, Machado and Schoop

Since I was not invited to the meetings, I can’t say for sure how involved Andy MacPhail was or was not when it came to decisions involving Orioles minor leaguers over his time with the club. But it sure does seem that first-year executive vice president Dan Duquette, who clearly takes a large and active interest in player development, will have a big say in

Duquette and Peterson talk minor league pitching

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has been multi-tasking since that November day when he was hired by the club to replace Andy MacPhail. While trying to improve the 2012 Orioles he has also spent a lot of time working on improving the club’s future outlook. That happens with some of the changes and hopefully, upgrades and improvement that Duquette wants to make in the

Talking cleanup hitters and minor league shortstops (Duquette quote added)

Here is an obvious statement: The Orioles need more production out of the No. 4 spot in their batting order this year. The Orioles got 65 RBIs out of that batting order position last year to rank dead last in the American League. By comparison, the Yankees and Red Sox rated first and second in the AL in four-hole RBIs with 118 and 116, respectively.

Orioles pitching injuries: Is there any end in sight?

Maybe this is what Andy MacPhail meant when he said, “Pitching is fragile.” Orioles pitchers are eliminating themselves from the pitching competition due to various ailments and injuries - Zach Britton is the latest - and another Orioles pitching staff is getting smaller by attrition. Buck Showalter said opening day jobs on last year’s staff went to the “last man standing.” This year they may

O’s and Hobgood seek second opinion for shoulder injury

We still don’t know what the final course of action will be for Orioles 2009 top draft pick Matt Hobgood and his ailing right shoulder. After seeing an Orioles team doctor last night, the 21-year-old pitcher remains shut down and will soon seek a second opinion. At this point, the Orioles are not recommending surgery for the player the O’s selected with the fifth overall

Trying to project some of the roster for Triple-A Norfolk

So I spent some time this weekend trying to figure out which players will be on the roster at Triple-A Norfolk this year. Tough task and I didn’t even look much at the pitching yet, since there are still so many pitchers competing for jobs with the Orioles that will likely wind up with the Tides. Projecting today what will be on the field in

Checking in with some facts, stats and opinions

It is getting closer to the time to start a new baseball season in Baltimore. But that doesn’t stop me - lover of stats as you know - from still presenting some numbers from last season. Good start, remember?: The Orioles began last season going 4-0 and 6-1. In those first four games, they gave up just one run in each contest. According to Elias,

O’s pitcher Matt Hobgood shut down at minor league camp

Matt Hobgood, the Orioles 2009 first-round draft pick, has recently been shut down from pitching at minor league training camp in Sarasota, Fla., and will see a team doctor in the next few days. About four or five days ago, Hobgood threw during a live batting practice session, but he continued to have shoulder soreness and now he’ll soon see team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens

Five to watch in the minors this season

When Baseball America recently ranked its top prospects, the Orioles placed three players in the top 100, with Dylan Bundy at No. 10, Manny Machado at No. 11 and Jonathan Schoop at No. 82. No other Orioles minor league players came close to cracking that top 100 and most analysts consider the O’s farm system somewhat top heavy with the elite top two prospects heading

Ranking the AL East rotations

Life is tough in the American League East. You don’t have to tell the Orioles or any Orioles fan that. It’s a division filled with top stars, top lineups, big payrolls, excellent farm systems and top pitching rotations. If you don’t pitch well, you will get destroyed in this division, which features some of the best pitchers and rotations in the AL. Here is how

An interview with Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich

The Orioles have the fourth pick in round one of the First-Year Player Draft in June after adding talents like Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy with their top picks the last two years. With another draft fast approaching, it’s a good time to check in with Orioles first-year scouting director Gary Rajsich, who was hired by the club on Nov. 28. Rajsich was with Boston

The K factor for a pitcher

Here is a question I’d love to get some opinions on today: How important are strikeouts for a pitcher? We tend to think that pitchers with the most strikeouts are the pitchers with some of the best velocity. While that is likely true, there are always exceptions to the rule. But I think it is fair to say that a big strikeout pitcher is generally

The Orioles’ weekend: Some players moving out, some moving up

I think we started to see where Ryan Adams stood with the Orioles last year. He was called up twice from Triple-A Norfolk, but didn’t get to start much at second base either time. During yet another losing season, the Orioles called up their own 2006 second-round draft pick but didn’t give him much of a chance to show what he could do. Yesterday, Adams

Some impressions from the early games (updated with contract signings)

As we near the end of the first week of exhibition games, here are some very early impressions of what we’ve seen and heard so far from Florida: * Jake Arrieta certainly had a dominant outing Friday against Tampa Bay, pitching two scoreless innings where the Rays didn’t get a ball out of the infield. He was hitting 97 mph on the stadium radar gun.

What could go right or wrong during the 2012 season?

Trying to predict how many games the Orioles will win this year is a dicey proposition. If some of their young players take steps forward and the team has a healthy year, maybe they approach or even better a .500 mark. But if some of the opposite occurs and the team once again gets overwhelmed by its American League East rivals, the 2012 Orioles could

How quickly should the Orioles move Bundy and Machado through the minors?

There is a theory out there that the Orioles have rushed some of their prospects too fast to the big leagues in recent years and that is one key reason why some of that young talent may have struggled at times in the majors. One thing to note here is that all players are different in some way, so an organization can have a general

With Matusz, the velocity is only a part of the story

I know that Brian Matusz pitched terribly last year and that is the memory many still have as they wonder if he can regain his pre-2011 form for the Orioles. But I keep thinking back to the Matusz I saw in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He was a pitcher with an excellent four-pitch assortment and could command them all. He pitched with a plan

Spring training stats can be hard to read

The performance of Jake Fox last year in spring training should remind us to never get caught up too much in spring training statistics. Yet, it’s all we will have to go on until opening day and we can’t say that spring stats don’t matter at all. But when Fox hit 10 spring training homers last year to lead all big leaguers it led some

Fresh start: Brian Matusz makes his spring debut tonight

If Brian Matusz pitches well tonight at Ed Smith Stadium in his spring training debut maybe he will finally be at a point where the questions he has to answer deal more with the present and future than the past. Few pitchers have ever had such a swing in their performance as this 25-year-old left-hander. He finished the 2010 season going 6-0 with an ERA

Adding an extra playoff team in each league will prove to be good for baseball

So Major League Baseball will have 10 teams in the playoffs in October after adding a second wild card team in each league. I like this move for a variety of reasons. It puts a real premium on winning the division championship and no longer will a late-season game, say between the top two teams in the American League East, not mean much because both

Jim Callis: No concern over muscle-bound Bundy

Right now you’d have to look real hard to find some concern about Orioles 2011 first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy. And you still may not find a thing. The scouts have raved about him since the O’s drafted him and right now he’s in major league camp clearly living up to the hype at this point. None of this will help him get an out

Can Nick Markakis regain his 100-RBI form?

When discussing Nick Markakis and what he might be able to do on offense this year, many fans now seem to be of the opinion that Markakis is no longer considered a middle-of-the-order hitter. Those fans have some stats to back up that opinion. His slugging percentage has dropped every year from 2008 on, from .491 to .453 to .436 to last year’s .406. His

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