Sunday, March 11, 2007

Streak over, Shuey alright, Roberts nearly signed

The Orioles unbeaten streak came to an end yesterday with a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The third member of the Bird's "holy trinity" of young arms, Adam Loewen, took the loss. He started the game okay, according to reports, but began to get his pitches up and that was all she wrote for him.

Despite being shut out for the first time this spring the Orioles offense has been very solid batting at a .333 clip since day one. There has been a distinct lack of power, the only homerun coming from Chris Gomez of all people. But Spring Training isn't the place for homeruns. Newly acquired bat Aubrey Huff said it during an on-the-field interview at Friday's game. He said that basically spring training was to get your swing up to speed and that he personally was here to work on getting balls to the opposite field while getting his at bats in. "Homers will come, but its not important."

The Orioles have looked
very good so far this spring and that is definitely cause for optimism. The pitching staff has been fantastic. Even Jaret Wright got in the act with a nice start and win against the lowly Washington Nationals.

I know lowly might be a little harsh, but seriously, it is going to be a ROUGH season down the parkway this year. 100 losses, easily. The only things they have going for them is a young star in Zimmerman and the fact they play in a very weak National League.

A great comeback story was almost de-railed on Friday as well. Spring training invitee, veteran, Paul Shuey felt something pop in his ankle as he ran to cover home after a passed ball. He took three steps towards the diamond and he shot his right foot up and hobbled the rest of the way off the field. For those not in the know, Shuey is a great comeback story because he is trying to get back into baseball after a full right hip replacement. He hadn't thrown a pitch at a professional level since 2005 at AA Akron. Well, good news, the MRI has shown that there was no tear to his achilles tendon and he should be cleared to pitch soon.

Shuey is a long shot to make the team yeah, but I just love an underdog story and it is good to see that he will be okay. You can never have too many arms in the system and I don't think that this will be the last you hear of Paul Shuey. A guy that has that kind of determination just doesn't go away. Even if he doesn't find a spot in the Orioles pen, someone will pick him up.

The Nats need a starter.

Okay that was mean.

On one final note, Brian Roberts' contract talks are close to being done. The two sides were hoping to have everything ironed out this weekend, but it looks like it might take a little longer. According to Mike Flanagan, in today's sun, "We're working through some details...we're optimistic something will be done soon." Some of those details may be the limited no-trade clause that the Orioles have extended Roberts. This coming on the heels of a controversial near-trade that would have sent the popular second baseman to the Braves for Brian Giles and Adam LaRoche. Reportedly the deal was nixed at the 11th hour by Orioles owner, and known meddler, Peter Angelos.

The deal that is being thrown around is a 2 year extension worth between 13-14 million dollars. I would go as far to throw an option in there for a third year because I want this cat around for awhile. Brian has become one of the faces of the organization and he genuinely wants to be here, so long as the FO is showing a commitment to win.

Brian, i think we can all agree with you on that one.

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