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Orioles often try to entice local players


Orioles often try to entice local players

How important is playing “at home” for a free agent? It’s not very important at all.

For years, the Orioles have chased after A.J. Burnett and Gavin Floyd without any success. Burnett lives in Monkton, Md., and Floyd is from Severna Park.

They made a spirited, but unsuccessful effort at Mark Teixeira when he was a free agent seven years ago.

Of course, Cal Ripken was a lifetime Marylander, and it would have been hard to conceive of him playing anywhere else.

During the offseason, the Orioles, who truly want to have local players have jettisoned three: Steve Clevenger, L.J. Hoes and Steve Johnson.

Clevenger was traded to Seattle for Mark Trumbo, and that could be a terrific deal for the Orioles.

Hoes, who was originally signed by the team, but traded in the Bud Norris deal in July 2013, was reacquired from Houston in late November, but designated for assignment last week when the team acquired Efren Navarro from the Angels. He could still be Orioles property if he isn’t traded and passes through waivers.

Johnson was let go in early December and last week agreed to a minor league deal with Texas.

Comfort is an important factor in deciding on whether to sign somewhere. In fact, Darren O’Day, who lives in Maryland, but isn’t from here, feels comfortable with the Orioles.

But, it doesn’t seem “going home” is terribly important.

None of the players on the Orioles’ 40-man roster is from Maryland, and I believe O’Day is the only one who’s a full-time resident.

The Orioles have an intense commitment to Maryland. Four minor league affiliates are here, and that’s important. It saves time and money.

They’ve drafted several local products recently and have a talented scout, Dean Albany, overseeing the area.

NOTES: The Orioles will hold tryouts for ballgirls and ballboys at Oriole Park on March 5 beginning at noon. Applicants must be 18, and in the words of the Orioles be “outgoing and athletic.” They should bring their own gloves and can park in Lot A.

-The Babe Ruth Museum will hold its annual Birthday Bash at Pickles Pub on Friday from 5:30-9 p.m. Tickets are $45 each for museum members and $50 for the general public. For more information, visit www.baberuthmuseum.org or call 410-727-1539 ext. 3033.

RELATED: What are the five biggest questions for Orioles?

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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


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."