Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Orioles Team Report Jun 3, 2008

Catcher Ramon Hernandez has been scuffling this season—both at the plate and behind it. Hernandez has thrown out just 11 of 55 runners attempting to steal against him, while batting just .222 with four home runs.

Manager Dave Trembley said he’s heavily considered giving backup Guillermo Quiroz more frequent starts. “Ramon’s a good catcher. He’s done it for a long time,” Trembley said. “But in order for us to have the success that we’re looking to have, Ramon needs to play better. I think that’s just the way it is.”

Equally as important as Hernandez’s struggles is the emergence of Quiroz as a viable catcher. The rookie has earned 16 starts as compared to Hernandez’s 40—evidence that he’s become more than just a Sunday afternoon catcher. Quiroz, signed Dec. 3, has been better defensively than Hernandez, evident in his throw to nail Boston speedster Jacoby Ellsbury Sunday.

“After that, it seems like they were more careful on the bases,” Quiroz said. “If we can do that, we’ll get the team a chance of shutting down the running game, and that puts less pressure on the bases.”

Boston did not attempt a stolen base Monday night. Opponents are a combined 58-for-73 (79.5 percent) in stolen base attempts against the Orioles.

“Sometimes they’ve been going on breaking balls. That’s a tough, tough pitch to throw to the bases,” Quiroz said. “It’s been different things. We’ve been working on it.”

Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: Phenom Adam Jones is clutch. The outfielder, acquired in the February trade that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle, doubled in three runs with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the eighth to give the Orioles the win. Jones is 3-for-5 with three doubles and nine RBIs in bases-loaded situations this season, each at bat coming with two outs.

Notes, Quotes

• RHP Radhames Liz will start Tuesday’s game in Minnesota. The Dominican right-hander was recalled from Class AAA Norfolk after Monday night’s game, when the team designated infielder Luis Hernandez for assignment. Liz, 24, appeared in nine games—including four starts—in Baltimore last season, going 0-2 with a 6.93 ERA.

• RHP Jim Johnson allowed an earned run in the eighth inning, the first time he’s done so since May 22 in a 2-1 loss at New York. It was just the fifth time this season Johnson has allowed an earned run, and the sixth time he’s allowed more than one hit in an outing.

• RHP Steve Trachsel was not in consideration for Tuesday’s spot start in Minnesota and will remain in the bullpen. Trachsel was deemed unavailable after throwing five innings Sunday—his first relief appearance since 1995 and just the second of his career.

• LHP Adam Loewen (left elbow soreness) was scheduled to throw live batting practice at extended spring training Monday afternoon. After that session in Sarasota, Fla., Loewen was slated to throw an inning in a simulated game June 5, and then, provided he experiences no setbacks, will be sent to either Class A Frederick or Class AA Bowie to begin his rehab assignment.

• 3B Melvin Mora returned to third base Monday after being given Sunday’s afternoon game off. Mora, who made two throwing errors in Friday’s extra-inning loss, admitted his miscues have been mental, not physical. His bat is not lacking, as he ranks sixth in the American League with a .370 average with runners in scoring position.

By The Numbers: 8—Outfield assists by right fielder and former college pitcher Nick Markakis, tops in the major leagues through Sunday.

Quote To Note: “I’m happy for him. He’s got a uniqueness about him that makes him easy to like… You take away the hair and the baggy uniform, he’s just a guy that can hit.”—1B Kevin Millar, on former Boston teammate Manny Ramirez’s 500th career home run, which came against the Orioles Saturday.


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