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How will Despaigne fit in with the Orioles?


How will Despaigne fit in with the Orioles?

Odrisamer Despaigne will go to spring training next week with at least one friend on the Orioles. Despaigne and fellow Cuban Henry Urrutia are friends.

They’re the same age, and both came to the U.S. for an opportunity to play in the major leagues.

Urrutia recently saw Despaigne, and was happily surprised when he found out on Thursday that Despaigne will be coming to the Orioles.

“I knew nothing about it, but I am very happy that another Cuban [has[ come to this organization, and I’m pretty sure Odrisamer [will] help the team move on to the playoffs,” Urrutia wrote in a text message.

Despaigne becomes the third Cuban on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. Outfielder Dariel Alvarez who was added to the 25-man late last August when Urrutia was returned to Norfolk, is the other.

It’s possible, but not probable that all three could be on the team’s Opening Day roster. Both Alvarez and Urrutia will compete for an outfield job. Despaigne will look for a spot in the rotation or in the bullpen.

This month marks three years since Urrutia came to the United States, and he’s made a remarkable adjustment. After not knowing English upon his arrival, Urrutia learned the language rapidly and is comfortable speaking it.

He credits his wife Suse, a Cuban who’s long lived in the U.S., for helping him. Unlike many of his fellow Cuban major leaguers, Urrutia lives in Sarasota, not Miami, where Spanish isn’t spoken nearly as often, and he’s had to learn English.

When Urrutia arrived, minor league coach Ramon Sambo was assigned as his translator, and when he made the Orioles, Rudy Arias, a longtime bullpen catcher who left the team after last season, helped him.

Einar Diaz, a coach who’s replacing Arias in the bullpen, helped Alvarez on his arrival.

This year, there’s a new rule that requires clubs to provide translators for Spanish speaking players.

Wei-Yin Chen had a translator in his four years and South Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim has one, too.

Now, Alvarez, Despaigne and every other Spanish speaking player on the Orioles will have one if needed.

Despaigne defected from Cuba in July 2013 around the time that Urrutia made his major league debut and Alvarez was signed by the Orioles.

He was in Europe with the Cuban national team, and left during a layover in Paris. Despaigne defected to Spain and became a resident of Mexico.

In his two years with the San Diego Padres who traded him to the Orioles on Thursday, Despaigne was 9-16 with a 4.74 ERA.

He was much better in 2014 than he was last season, going 4-7 with a 3.36 ERA. At Petco Park, his home stadium, Despaigne went 3-1 with a 1.83 ERA in eight starts. Last year, he was 5-9 with a 5.80 ERA, and at home, was 3-4 with a 4.76 ERA.

Despaigne has options remaining as do two of his competitors for the fifth starting job, Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright. With a veteran heavy bullpen, the options will come in handy for the Orioles.

Buck Showalter may want to avoid starting him at National League parks. Despaigne is just 2-for-54 (.037) as a hitter.

It will be interesting to see how Chen, who dislikes hitting, does with the Miami Marlins. In his four seasons with the Orioles, Chen had just six at-bats without a hit.

If the Orioles end up signing Yovani Gallardo, they’ll add one of baseball’s best hitting pitchers. Gallardo has a lifetime .198 average with 12 home runs. In 2010 with Milwaukee, he hit ..254 with four home runs and 10 RBIs.

Astute Orioles fans will remember Gallardo’s game-ending double against them at Miller Park on May 27. Manager Ron Roenicke used Gallardo as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning, and his double off T.J. McFarland scored Mark Reynolds with the running run.

Ubaldo Jimenez is the most experienced hitter among the starters. He has just a .117 batting average, but last year went 2-for-8 and drove in two runs.

Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman are a combined 0-for-25 in their major league careers.

The best hitter on the staff is Zach Britton, who was 5-for-8 (.625) in 2011. Britton, who has the last home run hit by an Orioles pitcher, hasn’t had an at-bat since then, and won’t be used as a pinch hitter.

MORE ORIOLES: How many home runs can the Orioles hit?

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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.