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De Aza designated for assignment as Flaherty returns

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De Aza designated for assignment as Flaherty returns

BALTIMORE –- The Orioles are concerned about J.J. Hardy’s back, and with Ryan Flaherty returning from his second stint on the disabled list with a right groin injury, they surprisingly designated outfielder Alejandro De Aza for assignment on Wednesday.

De Aza, who was 1-for-14, batted .214 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 30 games. His 34 strikeouts were second on the team.

“It’s all tough. Ryan’s healthy and ready to go. We have to make sure that he and J.J. are fine from an infield coverage standpoint, and we’ve been probably an outfielder heavy,” manager Buck Showalter said.

“I think in the long run, like I told Alejandro, it’s going to work out better for him. It gives us an opportunity to trade him, which I’m sure Dan looked into already; I know he has, gauging interest. If nothing works out to our satisfaction or advantage, he, like he probably would have been at the end of this year, pick and choose from some teams that would have had interest in him. He’s going to end up in a better situation.”

The Orioles acquired De Aza last August 30 from the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitchers Mark Blackmar and Miguel Chalas.

In 20 games with the Orioles last year, De Aza hit .293 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

“I feel good for him in the long run. I think he’ll understand it as he gets away from it. We know he’s capable of better and he’ll probably be able to do that somewhere else, but we kind of got into a situation [where] we had to make a move. It’s not going to be the first time, either. We’re going to have some more of those coming up, some tough ones with other people coming back to us. That’s also why we had to acquire players for the depth that we’ve had to have for the first part of the season.”

Everth Cabrera, who’s batting .205 in 25 games, represents infield insurance if Hardy, who came out of Monday’s game with a tight back, and Flaherty who’s been twice disabled with a strained right groin, are unable to play.

“I’m not going to get into who the competition was to take off. I know Ryan’s coming back, so a lot of people immediately think it might be an infielder, but [we] want to make sure,” Showalter said. “You still better cover yourself if there’s an issue in case something crops up with J.J. You better be sure you’re covered. We like our depth down there: Paul Janish. Nobody catches the ball much better than him, and of course [Rey] Navarro has presented himself as an option, so we feel good about that, but we want to take each case as it comes and see what best fits for us.”

De Aza took the Orioles to arbitration in February. He lost the case and has a $5 million salary. He began the season as the leadoff hitter, but as his strikeouts mounted, Manny Machado took over the top spot from the 31-year-old. He was 7-for-21 (.333) in the postseason.

“I think what he did for us the last third of the season is indicative of what he is capable of and probably will do this year at some point for somebody else. But that somebody else is not in the situation that we’re in as a team,” Showalter said.

“He showed flashes of it, and he will again. He’s a young man.”

The Orioles had two other left-handed outfielders, David Lough and Travis Snider, both of whom could be under team control next season.

“This is about roster management and where we are at right now, and trying to make sure that we’ve covered ourselves as we go forward. You just do that math of people that are coming back and some places where guys don’t have options. The options are there to protect the player. That’s why at some point they ran out of options so you can’t hoard players,” Showalter said.

Showalter said that Brian Matusz’s impending suspension did not affect the Orioles’ decision.

The manager was fond of De Aza. “Tough conversation with Allie, good kid, good people,” Showalter said.
 

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 

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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."

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