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GM Meetings open, Duquette's agenda open


GM Meetings open, Duquette's agenda open

A year ago, the newly-minted executive vice president of baseball operations went to the General Manager’s meetings to re-introduce himself to the baseball kingmakers.

Twelve months later, the Baltimore Orioles’ Dan Duquette is again one of the insiders.

Traditionally, there’s not a lot of action at the GM meetings. The real action takes place at the winter meetings, which start early next  month in Nashville.

In 2011, Duquette came home from the winter meetings nearly empty-handed, and may do so again.

His souvenirs from Dallas were Ryan Flaherty from the Rule 5 Draft and Dana Eveland in a minor trade. His moves this year may not be any more dramatic.

Duquette’s biggest takeaways last year came after the Winter Meetings, and they were both international, the signings of Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen.

The Orioles are a much more attractive place for free agents to land this year than last. The free agent environment is an unknown.

Other than Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, there aren’t a lot of big ticket free agents on the market.

For many years, the Winter Meetings meant big news on free agents with the rest of the big names signing by Christmas. In recent years, the market was slower in developing.

Last year, the Angels signed Albert Pujols to a mammoth deal with C.J. Wilson right behind, but it wasn’t until later in January that the other big name, Prince Fielder, signed.

This year is the first for rules under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Compensation to clubs losing a free agent will be announced on Friday instead of early next month. That may accelerate the signing timetable.

Baseball free agency is much different than in football or basketball. In the NFL and NBA, the salary cap dictates  that the biggest signings occur almost immediately.

In baseball, there’s no rhythm. Hamilton or Greinke could sign today or two months from now. If a team badly wanted to make a stealthy splash as the Nationals did two years ago with Jayson Werth, they can set their own timetable.

Hamilton and Greinke don’t seem likely to sign with the Orioles. Hamilton’s numbers would be a great add in left field, but his long-term demands probably would frighten off Duquette.

If somehow the market for either Hamilton or Greinke collapses, the Orioles could swoop in. They were rumored to have looked at Fielder last winter, but his market didn’t fall apart; it was just slow developing.

There seems to be no rush on the team’s principal free agents, Nate  McLouth and Joe Saunders.


-The finalists for next week’s awards handed out by the Baseball Writers will be announced on the MLB Network tonight at 6 p.m. Three finalists will be named for the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and Cy Young Award. Five finalists will be named for the Most Valuable Player.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter is expected to be a finalist for the AL Manager of the Year.

-The Orioles signed outfielder Jason Pridie to a minor league contract. Pridie’s most extended major league action was 101 games with the New York Mets in 2011 when he batted .230. He hit .300 in nine games with Philadelphia in 2012.
The Orioles also re-signed catcher Allan de San Miguel, an Australian who played 62 games at Frederick, Bowie and Norfolk.

-Greg Bader, the team’s longtime Director of Communications, has been promoted to Vice President of Communications.







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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games


Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."


Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.


Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.


Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.


Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.


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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.