• Mar

    Early Spring Tidbits

    Spring is in the air. And not just in Florida.

    With the temperature reaching 62 degrees today, it just felt like baseball. ESPN had the Braves and Pirates on today and the Orioles are on MASN tomorrow at 1pm.

    Add in an Orioles win where Erik Bedard started and dominated in his two-inning stint, and man I've got the fever. Bedard, who had one the best ERA's in the American League during the second half of the season last year looks like he's ready to place his flag down as a legitimate staff ace. I love the fact that he seems to be loosening up a bit while doing his question and answer section in the Baltimore Sun and while getting interviewed by Sun Blogger Roch Kubatko. It seems like he's ready to take on that leadership role, even if his quiet demeanor means he won't be standing on the top step of the dugout waving a towel during a rally.

    Speaking of Roch, his blog remains the single best thing going for Orioles fan this spring training. He's feeding all of us almost inning by inning coverage in his blog and his interviews are a nice added touch. He also had a couple funny lines during his interview with Anita Marks yesterday on her show on 1300AM. Yes, I know a lot of people slam on Marks, but she gets some great guests on, although I'm always happier with local guests then when she pulls in some of her Florida buddies. Either way, I've enjoyed listening to her show when I get a chance.

    Speaking of WJFK, Steve Melewski, formally WBAL's sports guy and the voice of the Ironbirds and Florida State Baseball teams the last few years, is now the Program Director for the channel. Since both WJFK and WHFS are owned by CBS radio, Steve promises to have some great before, during and after game Orioles coverage.

    Brandon Erbe

    After seeing a thread on our message board where a few people were wondering whether 19-year old flame thrower Brandon Erbe would be on a similar 85-pitch/5 inning limit that he was on last year at Delmarva, I decided to give Orioles Director of Minor League Operations David Stockstill a call to get the skinny. Stockstill, who was navigating alligator alley on his way from Ft. Lauderdale to Sarasota where the Orioles minor leaguers were reporting for physicals today, said that Erbe would be on no special limitations this season. That of course does not mean you can expect Erbe to be going throwing 120 pitches anytime soon. The Orioles give guidelines to each club on the number of pitches a starter should be allowed to throw during certain times of the year. Early on, the Orioles have traditionally limited their minor league starters to 85 pitches for the first few starts. Managers and pitching coaches are given the leeway to pull pitchers when they feel they are tired, regardless of the number of pitches they have thrown.

    Acevedo's injury provides Opportunity for Waters

    When Jose Acevedo ended his season before it began in a motorcycle accident, it provided an opportunity for another young hurler, Chris Waters. Waters, a 26-year old left-hander who struggled last year in Double-A (4.82, 79BB,117k in 155IP) in the Atlanta Braves system, will be in prime position to get the fifth starters job at Norfolk now that Acevedo is out of the picture. Currently, it's expected that Hayden Penn, Garrett Olson, Rob Bell, and Jon Leicaster will be the other starters unless any of them make the big league club.

    Jeremy Guthrie

    When the Orioles acquired right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, their was some talk within the media of him possibly competing for a rotation spot. With the acquisition of Steve Trachsel after Kris Benson's injury, it appears he's now battling for a long-reliever spot. Earlier in camp, Roch was reporting that he was not looking good in early workouts, but in his first spring performance, the soon to be 28-year old hurler brought his A-game, tossing two shutout innings. Stockstill was impressed, "(He) really through the ball well. He was throwing in the low-90's with an outstanding slider."

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.