Baltimore has been talking with Texas about a potential deal for Kevin Millwood all week, and at least one published report has them close to nearing completion. <i>The Baltimore Sun</i> reported Wednesday afternoon that the Orioles are close to sending reliever Chris Ray to Texas in exchange for Millwood, who has one year remaining on a lucrative contract.
Millwood, set to make $12 million next season, would help Jeremy Guthrie mentor one of the youngest pitching staffs in the league. Texas would also send an undisclosed amount of cash considerations to Baltimore in the deal designed to help balance out the scales. Ray, a former closer, struggled last year in his return from surgery on his pitching elbow.
— Spencer Fordin
The field was too slick for Jeremy Guthrie to get in a routine pregame side session Friday, so he spent 15 minutes throwing the ball inside the tunnel at Camden Yards. Guthrie was throwing directly outside the home clubhouse, which inspired an odd scene.
Several people walked past his makeshift warmup session, and at one point, Guthrie even asked a reporter to step into the imaginary batter’s box for a few pitches.
And here’s what that reporter saw from the left-handed hitter’s pespective: A few fastballs, most of them along the inside part of the plate, and a slider that swept dangerously close to his leg. After that, there was nothing left to do but get back to work.
Jeremy Guthrie was pleased with his night at the office Thursday, if also disheartened by the end result. Guthrie felt that he threw the ball well for most of the night, but he noted that he can’t be satisfied with allowing two home runs and five runs in a 5-2 loss.
Interestingly, the right-hander said that the two homers — both by Bobby Abreu — came on divergent efforts. The first came on a poorly located changeup, but the second one, a three-run shot that changed the game, came on a fastball that went right where he wanted it.
“On the second home run, I don’t really know,” he said after the game. “It really surprised me that he put that much barrel on the ball and he was able to hit it out like that.”
The Orioles are set to promote Jason Berken from Triple-A Norfolk to take Tuesday’s starting assignment, a move that will give them three rookies in their starting rotation. Berken will replace Adam Eaton, who was recently released, for an undetermined period of time.
Berken, a former sixth-round draftee, was 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA in his first five starts for Norfolk. The Orioles may also have to replace rookie Koji Uehara, who is suffering from a sore left hamstring, at some point. Baltimore’s two most experienced starters — Jeremy Guthrie and Rich Hill — have combined for a little more than five years of big-league service time.
Jeremy Guthrie experienced a career first on Wednesday, when he allowed three home runs in a game. The right-hander even gave up three long balls in the same inning, with Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera going back-to-back-to-back in the second.
Swisher and Cano both hit balls that landed in the first few rows, but Cabrera took Guthrie to the second deck in right field, a no-doubt homer that would’ve left the field in any park. Guthrie has now allowed 11 home runs in his first nine starts, perhaps eliciting a cause for concern.
Last season, Guthrie allowed just 24 home runs in 30 starts. He gave up two home runs in six of those starts and has already done it three times this season. The Orioles even got their bullpen up in the second inning Wednesday but elected to let Guthrie work deeper.
The Orioles have decided to grant staff ace Jeremy Guthrie a personal catcher, linking their Opening Day starter to backup catcher Chad Moeller. Moeller has been able to steady Guthrie, and manager Dave Trembley said he wants to continue that trend. However, Trembley went out of his way to say it’s not a knock on starter Gregg Zaun.
“If some other time comes where Moeller is not catching Guthrie, I don’t want it to send a red flag,” he said. “But Zaun has caught four days in a row [and] five out of the last six. The last time that Guthrie pitched, he …threw a great game with Moeller. So I’m catching him tonight.”
In addition to making Guthrie more comfortable, it also gives Trembley a pattern for playing his catchers. This way, Moeller knows when he’ll play next and Zaun knows when he’ll get a day off. Trembley said he doesn’t think it will be a problem over the long haul.
“I don’t think there is any problem between them,” he said of the relationship between Guthrie and Zaun. “But if I could do something to make the situation more comfortable for the guy on the mound, I’ll certainly try to extend that.”
Melvin Mora gave the Orioles a big lead with one big swing Saturday night, when he crushed a first-inning pitch to left field for a grand slam. Baltimore’s first six batters all reached base against Tampa Bay starter Jeff Niemann, handing staff ace Jeremy Guthrie more than enough support. Guthrie, by contrast, retired the first six batters he faced.