The Orioles still aren’t sure when Felix Pie’s back spasms will subside enough to let him play again, but they’re not going to make any rash decisions regarding a replacement. Andy MacPhail, Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, said the team can wait.
“We’re hoping to avoid that,” he said of adding another outfielder. “We’ve got a couple of lefties here so it won’t become as pronounced of a need until we get to the right-handers, which will be on Tuesday. So I think that determination will be made on Tuesday.”
If Pie isn’t ready to play by Tuesday, the Orioles may dip down to the Minor Leagues and bring up Lou Montanez early from an injury rehabilitation stint. Montanez has missed most of the year with a thumb injury and hasn’t faced big-league pitching since May.
As it stands, Jeff Fiorentino is the team’s lone outfield reserve. Baltimore could also use Robert Andino and Ty Wigginton out there if the situation calls for it.
“[Pie] is better today,” said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. “I would say tomorrow we’re hoping to get him out and see if he can swing or whatever. But we’re kind of shooting for Tuesday for him to be back in the lineup. That’s probably what we’re shooting for.”
— Spencer Fordin
There may be expanded rosters, but the Orioles have a dwindling supply of outfielders. Baltimore lost Adam Jones for the season due to an ankle sprain and lost Felix Pie to a temporary back injury on Friday night, giving the team three healthy outfielders.
Manager Dave Trembley said he has broached the topic with Andy MacPhail, the team’s president of baseball operations, and that help may be on the way. In that case, Lou Montanez, who’s missed most of the year with a thumb injury, would be the best option.
“I did talk to Andy about that. We probably will discuss that,” said Trembley of his roster’s weak spot. “The possibility does exist that we could add an outfielder.”
— Spencer Fordin
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley caught up with a few of his team’s injured players during the recent series in Tampa Bay, and he said that outfielder Lou Montanez is rounding into shape. Montanez, who underwent thumb surgery before the All-Star break, won’t be healthy enough to rejoin the team this season but will likely play Winter Ball.
“He told me he’s going to Puerto Rico and playing this winter,” said Trembley, speaking of the former first-round draftee. “I think it’s really definitely a long shot and a stretch to think he could come back and play at the Major League level after missing virtually the whole season. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t see him as a September callup.”
— Spencer Fordin
Baltimore’s outfield will suffer a loss due to attrition at some point next week, when reserve Lou Montanez will likely opt for a corrective surgery to repair a thumb injury. Montanez could miss a few months, changing the substitution pattern in Baltimore’s outfield.
Manager Dave Trembley said that Montanez could play as a reserve in the next few days if he’s needed, and he also said he expects Luke Scott to return at some point next week. At this point, Trembley just wants Montanez to heal as quickly as possible.
“He has a partial tear in the thumb area,” said Trembley. “He’s going to opt to get it taken care of, and he has our full support there. He’s going to get it done sometime next week.”
Montanez, who won the Triple Crown in the Double-A Eastern League last year, was called up late in the ’08 season and hit a home run in his first career at-bat. He hasn’t had as much success this season, batting just .204 with six RBIs in his first 18 games.
Baltimore will likely play rookie Nolan Reimold in left field for the foreseeable future, but Felix Pie and Scott will also get their share of playing time out in the outfield.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Orioles are close to trading Ryan Freel to the Cubs for Joey Gathright, and Baltimore didn’t do anything to dispel the rumors Friday afternoon. Manager Dave Trembley was asked about Freel’s status during his pre-game media briefing and deferred comment to Andy MacPhail, the team’s president of baseball operations.
“I believe there will be some kind of statement coming about Ryan Freel,” he said. “I’ll let Andy MacPhail take care of it.”
Freel, who was acquired from Cincinnati in the offseason as part of a deal for Ramon Hernandez, has struggled to find playing time in his first month with the Orioles. The veteran reserve was hit in the head by an errant pickoff throw two weeks ago in Boston and has been on the disabled list ever since. If he’s dealt, he may open up a roster spot for the Orioles.
And in that case, reserve outfielder Lou Montanez would be a strong candidate to stick with the team long-term. Gathright would likely fill in at Triple-A Norfolk and prospect Nolan Reimold, who is off to a hot start, would likely be the next callup among outfielders.
The Orioles reached terms with several of their younger players on Thursday, most notably center fielder Adam Jones and right-handed starter Radhamez Liz. Jones will make $435,000 if he’s in the Majors and could earn a $25,000 bonus if he makes the All-Star team. Liz, meanwhile, signed a split contract worth $147,644 in the Minors and $402,500 in the Majors.
Baltimore also reached terms with relievers Kam Mickolio and Jim Miller on split contracts worth $65,000 in the Minor Leagues and $400,000 in the Majors.
Lou Montanez, who won the Triple Crown in the Double-A Eastern League last year, signed a split deal worth $76,188 in the Minors and $400,000 in the Majors. And finally, Wilfrido Perez signed a split contract worth $32,500 and $400,000 if he’s able to make the Majors.