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Orioles notebook, 8/25

August 25, 2011 Comments off

Guthrie felt special connection to Flanagan

By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Through their uniform number — both wore No. 46 for the Orioles — Jeremy Guthrie and the late Mike Flanagan have always shared a special connection.Guthrie even asked for and received permission from Flanagan to wear the number when Flanagan claimed him off waivers in 2007, during his tenure as executive vice president of baseball operations.

“Since the day I was given No. 46, I’ve had thousands of people tell me that was the number of their favorite pitcher for the Orioles when they were growing up,” Guthrie said. “So from Day 1, I think I’ve been reminded of the legacy and of the work that Mike did not only as a player, but also as a member of the community in Baltimore.

“It’s always been special, and now I think it takes on even a new level. He’s not going to be forgotten soon, that’s for sure.”

After thinking about it overnight, Guthrie is considering hanging up his No. 46 for the rest of the season in honor of Flanagan.

Guthrie is looking for input from a number of people, including fans.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of emotions flying around right now … but it’s a response that doesn’t surprise me from Jeremy,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “We’ll see. I’m not going to really weigh in on whether [he should do it]. It’s a nice gesture.”

Jones sits out finale with soreness

MINNEAPOLIS — After leaving games early on consecutive nights, center fielder Adam Jones was out of the Orioles lineup for Thursday’s series finale with the Twins.

Jones left Tuesday’s game after just one inning and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. On Wednesday night, Jones left after six innings with soreness in his neck, shoulder and chest.

“Hopefully, today will be good for him, and he’ll get back in there tomorrow,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I’ve got some options with him off the bench.”

The soreness Jones experienced on Wednesday and was still dealing with on Thursday morning likely was related to what forced him out of the game on Tuesday, when he had trouble catching his breath.

“Sometimes things like that could bring on the symptoms and some of the stuff he had,” Showalter said. “He felt great in BP yesterday, so I’ll take that as a positive.”

Guerrero returns in finale vs. Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — Orioles designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero was back in the lineup on Thursday afternoon after missing Wednesday’s game with a left wrist contusion.

Guerrero, who was hit on the underside of his wrist by a ball during batting practice, was held out of the lineup as a precaution.

In the clubhouse after Wednesday’s game, Guerrero had his wrist heavily wrapped and iced, but said he was fine.

“It was a little puffy [on Wednesday],” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “We probably could’ve pushed the envelope on him [on Wednesday], but with the quick turnaround with the day game and [lefty Francisco] Liriano pitching [on Thursday], we wanted to be careful.

“So far so good, but we’ve got some options if he gets in there and can’t go.”

Showalter said Guerrero was intent on playing on Wednesday, despite the injury, but the manager decided otherwise, making him a late scratch from the lineup.

“He was all taped up and ready to go and trying to play yesterday,” Showalter said. “I just stopped him and said, ‘Let’s be smart with this.'”

Flanagan family issues statement for fans

MINNEAPOLIS — The Flanagan family issued a statement on Thursday regarding the death of former Orioles pitcher, executive and broadcaster Mike Flanagan.

The statement read:

“We thank you for your support and kind words at this difficult time. Thank you for respecting our privacy as we grieve.

“A private memorial will be held at a later date.”

–The Flanagan Family

Pie clears waivers, faces decision

MINNEAPOLIS — Felix Pie cleared waivers on Thursday, and the Orioles left fielder was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.

Pie now has the option to become a free agent, which would mean forfeiting what is left of his $985,000 salary for 2011. He can also accept his assignment and report to the Tides, but he must make his decision by Saturday morning.

“It’s good for us, not particularly good for him right now,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “But it may work out real well in the long haul for both of us.

“[Pie] and his agent and his family will make a decision, what’s best for him in his career. We hope it includes us.”

The Orioles designated Pie for assignment on Tuesday in an effort to get him some at-bats in the Minors and perhaps solve his offensive struggles.

Pie has batted just .220 this season, while slugging .280 with a .264 on-base percentage. All three numbers are well below Pie’s career numbers. The former Cubs top prospect has also struggled defensively and on the basepaths.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orioles notebook, 8/23

August 23, 2011 Comments off

Berken receives good news on injured elbow

By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Right-hander Jason Berken got some good news following an MRA on his right elbow on Tuesday in Baltimore.

Berken, who is on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his elbow, had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2005 season at Clemson. The pain began in Berken’s forearm and moved up to the elbow.An MRA — a magnetic resonance angiogram — is similar to an MRI, with the addition of contrast dye being injected into the elbow for a better picture.

“The good news is, it’s all good news basically, but the surgery site of the Tommy John looks good,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “He’s got some inflammation in there right now that they’re thinking about maybe [a cortisone shot] until when Dr. [John] Wilckens gets there, to try to calm down the inflammation.”

The results of the MRA were the same as what Wilckens saw this weekend when he examined Bergen’s elbow in Anaheim.

“The structure and everything looks fine,” Showalter said. “There’s just some inflammation we’ve got to get out of there.”

O’s clear roster spot by designating Pie

MINNEAPOLIS — Once one of the top prospects in baseball, Felix Pie was designated for assignment on Tuesday by the Orioles.

The move was made to make room on the Orioles’ 40-man roster for utility man Jake Fox, who was called up from Triple-A Norfolk. Baltimore also recalled outfielder Matt Angle from the Tides.

“Hopefully it’s a win-win for Felix,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “We were looking for ways to get him back being the guy that we know he might be capable of being. For us, we hope he clears [waivers] and decides to go to Norfolk and get some at-bats, and gets back to doing what he’s capable of doing.

“The bad side of that is, somebody can pick him up or he can become a free agent if he wants to. But we got to the point where if he can’t get some at-bats and get back to being what he’s capable of being, it’s probably not going to work out with him.”

In his fourth season with the Orioles, Pie hit .220 with seven RBIs in 85 games this season. In 268 games over the past three years, Pie batted .259 with 14 home runs and 67 RBIs.

For two years, in 2006-07, Pie was the Cubs’ top prospect. But he never found a solid role in Chicago, and was traded to the Orioles in ’09 for two Minor League pitchers. Pie was expected to be the everyday left fielder for the O’s, but offensive inconsistencies and struggles on the bases and in left field kept him from fulfilling that role.

Pie, who had been struggling defensively, saw his playing time decrease significantly, as he started only one of the Orioles’ previous eight games. Nolan Reimold has become the club’s everyday left fielder.

“Felix has been with us close to [four] years,” Showalter said. “I got to see him pretty well last year, so you know the potential is there. But we had to create a scenario where he can get back to being that guy.”

Angle, Fox recalled from Triple-A Norfolk

MINNEAPOLIS — After optioning Blake Davis on Monday night, the Orioles recalled outfielder Matt Angle from Triple-A Norfolk.

Angle and Jake Fox were brought up to fill holes in the outfield and corner infield positions with Josh Bell and Davis having been optioned on consecutive days.

“I think it’s a better club as far as where we are as a team right now,” manager Buck Showalter said. “They kind of serve some needs that we haven’t been able to serve.”

In 107 games for Norfolk this season, Angle batted .272 with a team-high 27 stolen bases. Angle made his Major League debut with the Orioles on July 17, playing in two games and going 0-for-7 before returning to Triple-A.

Angle’s ability defensively and as a baserunner represent an upgrade over what Pie has provided this season.

“Felix is better than that, I saw him last year play as good a left field as you want him to play,” Showalter said. “Matt fits a need. He can do a lot of things. [But] he’ll go through some growing pains up here, too.”

Fox, who has played 185 Major League games over four seasons with the Cubs, A’s and Orioles, batted .274 with 12 home runs for the Tides. After beginning the season as the Orioles’ backup catcher, Fox leads the Tides with 57 RBIs in 67 games.

In 19 games with the O’s this season, Fox hit .188 with two homers and four RBIs.

“Jake went down, and he got after it down there,” Showalter said. “This is a guy that’s been in the big leagues some and he kind of re-established himself. You’d like to reward that for going down there and doing the things that he did down there. It gives us some depth in places that we haven’t had.”

O’s relievers get job done against Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — When left-hander Zach Britton was inefficient with his pitches and had to leave after five innings on Monday night, it meant the Orioles’ bullpen would need to close out the last four frames in a one-run ballgame.

Chris Jakubauskas, Michael Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg were up to the task, retiring 12 of 14 batters faced and allowing just two hits in four scoreless innings.

Gonzalez was especially impressive, striking out all four batters he faced.

“Gonzo’s been pitching well for a while now,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s attacking the zone, he’s pitching with a purpose and he’s got a good look in his eye. Hopefully, we’ll benefit from it in the next six weeks.”

After Gregg blew a 12th-inning save on Saturday, Showalter said he would put him right back in there, and he remained true to his word on Monday.

Gregg pitched a perfect ninth, needing just eight pitches to get a pair of flyouts and a groundout.

“You don’t do the things he’s done over a long period and not have some mental toughness,” Showalter said. “The mental toughness part of it is never a question with him.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.