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Here are five first half Orioles surprises

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Here are five first half Orioles surprises

In the season’s first half, while several Orioles regulars were hurt and underperformed, there were several pleasant surprises.

Here are five:

1) Jimmy Paredes

Paredes was nearly dropped from the 40-man roster over the winter, and was the surprise of spring training. After starting the season on the disabled list with a back injury, Paredes had a terrific month, slumped and then rebounded.

He’s obviously a very streaky hitter, but overall his good days outnumber his bad ones.

No one could have predicted a .299 average with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs in the first half.

He’s limited in the field, however. Though he can play second and third and has played a bit in the outfield, Paredes is primarily a left-handed DH.

While he’s a switch hitter, Paredes bats far better from the left side (.309) than the right (.244). All of his home runs have come from the left side.

The Orioles may want him to work in the outfield over the winter. And, if he can play adequately there, it could be a big help.

2) Ubaldo Jimenez

Last July’s biggest disappointment is one of this season’s biggest surprises. Jimenez, who wasn’t even on the ALCS roster, has become a dependable starter, the kind of pitcher who earned a four-year, $50 million contract from the Orioles.

Jimenez has a career best strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s struck out more than three times as many as he’s walked. Last year, he had a horrifying 1.51 strikeouts per walk.

With a group of starters that’s struggled to go deep in games, Jimenez has completed seven innings seven times in 17 starts, and instead of worrying about him, they can depend on him as a starter for next year, too.

MORE ORIOLES: HEALTHIER O'S HOPE TO IMPROVE IN SEASON'S SECOND HALF 

3) Chaz Roe

Roe was one of many non-roster invitees to spring training. When he was signed last December, there didn’t seem to be anything remarkable about his record.

During spring training, he was one of the later cuts, but again, nothing really stood out about him.

The Orioles purchased his contract from Norfolk the day after Brian Matusz was found with a foreign substance on his arm, and Roe is still with the Orioles nearly two months later.

He’s out of options, and would certainly be claimed if the Orioles tried to send him through waivers.

Roe’s first six outings were clean- 9 1/3 scoreless innings, and while he’s given up some runs since, he hasn’t had a truly awful performance.

He’s got a 2.67 ERA, has given up far less than a hit and inning, allowed just two home runs in 27 innings, and struck out three times as many as he’s walked.

4) Ryan Flaherty

The Orioles have missed Jonathan Schoop’s bat, but in the meantime, Flaherty has played a very nice second base.

In 48 games at second base, Flaherty made just one error.

Flaherty’s hitting has improved under Scott Coolbaugh, and while he’s cooled off, he’s become somewhat more patient.

While his .320 on-base percentage isn’t all that impressive, it’s 10 points higher than the team’s.

5) Nolan Reimold

There are many Orioles fans who never expected to see Reimold again, but he outplayed Delmon Young and is still with the team.

Reimold has played in 19 games with two home runs, and has shown good speed. He even started two games in center field while Adam Jones was injured, the first time he’s played there in the majors.

HONORABLE MENTION: Oliver Drake, Chris Parmelee and Mike Wright

Drake’s on the minor league disabled list, but saw his first major league action this season. He didn’t allow a run in his first five innings, and had a great debut in Miami, throwing three scoreless innings on May 23.

Parmelee arrived on June 15 as he was about to exercise his opt-out clause from Norfolk. He had four hits, two of them home runs in his first game, a 19-3 win over the Phillies, and while he hasn’t maintained the hot bat, has played a skilled first base.

Wright had two great starts. In his first, he held the Angels scoreless in seven innings, allowing just four hits with no walks. He followed that with seven more scoreless innings against Miami. Wright allowed only three hits in that one. He struggled since then, and is back in Norfolk.

NOTE: MLB Network has a fascinating program Wednesday at 7 p.m., “Buck Showalter, A Baseball Life.” Showalter is interviewed by Bob Costas, and there’s lots of inside stuff for fans. Showalter’s wife, Angela, also offers some great insights, and there’s the unforgettable postgame press conference after the game without fans where Buck is asked what advice he’d give young African American males in Baltimore’s inner city.

It’s the Showalter those of us fortunate enough to see him every day are familiar with.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Alex Cobb won't be ready for Opening Day, Mark Trumbo lands on 60-day DL

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Alex Cobb won't be ready for Opening Day, Mark Trumbo lands on 60-day DL

This is not a drill. We are just about 48 hours away from Opening Day.

Here's the latest Orioles news and notes. 

Player Notes: 

Dwight Smith Jr. went three-for-three with a pair of solo home runs against the New York Mets Monday. Since being picked up from the Blue Jays March 8, Smith Jr. is 12-for 28 with five homers. 

Against the Mets Monday, pitcher Dylan Bundy gave up four runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings lowering his spring ERA from 7.94 to 7.89.

Alex Cobb will not be ready for Opening Day. The Orioles have placed what would have been their Opening Day starter on the 10-day injured list with a right groin strain. The injury is considered minor. 

The Orioles purchased the contract of catcher Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Norfolk. 

Injuries: 

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-day DL

SP Alex Cobb: Groin, 10-day DL

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, sidelined 

C Austin Wynns: Oblique, 10-day DL

Coming Up:

Thursday 3/28: Orioles vs. Yankees, 1:05 p.m., Yankee Stadium

Saturday 3/30: Orioles vs. Yankees, 1:05 p.m., Yankee Stadium

Sunday 3/31: Orioles vs. Yankees, 1:05 p.m., Yankee Stadium

Source: Rotoworld

MORE ORIOLES NEWS: 

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: David Hess has 'good chance' of making Opening Day roster

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: David Hess has 'good chance' of making Opening Day roster

With Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles just six days away, here are the latest updates from Spring Training. 

Player Updates:

Despite not having a great spring, pitcher David Hess has a "good chance" of making Baltimore's Opening Day roster, manager Brandon Hyde told reporters Thursday. Hess is likely to slot in as one of the Orioles' five starting pitchers. In six Grapefruit League appearances (four starts), he has an 0-2 record and 7.50 ERA. 

The Orioles made another round of cuts Thursday, reassigning utility man Jake Reinheimer and RHP Josh Lucas to minor league camp. Reinheimer put up an impressive 407/.429/.593 in 20 games this spring, but was never really in consideration for an Opening Day roster spot. 

Pitcher Josh Rogers tweaked his back after catching his spike in the mound during the Orioles' 7-5 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates Thursday and was removed as a precaution. With Opening Day less than a week away, Rogers probably won't make another Spring Training appearance. Meanwhile, Miguel Castro continued his strong spring, tossing a scoreless inning against Pittsburgh. In Grapefruit League play, Castro has an 11/2 K/BB ratio. 

Right fielder Joey Rickard had a stellar day at the place against the Pirates, doubling twice to raise his Grapefruit League batting average to .395. On the flip side, first baseman Chris Davis struck out three times against Pittsburgh, and is now batting just .148 this spring.

Injuries: 

C Austin Wynns: Oblique, day-to-day 

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, day-to-day

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, should be ready for Opening Day

3B Renato Nunez: Biceps, day-to-day

Coming Up:

Friday 3/22: Orioles @ Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m., Dunedin Stadium

Saturday 3/23: Orioles vs. Twins, 6:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium 

Sunday 3/24: Orioles @ Phillies, 1:05 p.m., Spectrum Field

Source: Rotoworld

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