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For Orioles, Rule 5's aren't the exception


For Orioles, Rule 5's aren't the exception

For the Orioles, the Rule 5 draft is serious business. In each of Dan Duquette’s five years as head of baseball operations for the Orioles, they’ve taken a player in the Rule 5 draft, and they have the longest active streak in major league baseball.

Most times Rule 5 picks don’t make major league teams.

Three times in Duquette’s first four years the pick has made the roster: Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland in 2012 and 2013, and last year, Jason Garcia. Only Michael Almanzar, who went to camp in 2014, didn’t make the team.

This year it’s outfielder Joey Rickard’s turn.

If Rickard is like the others, the Orioles will allow him every chance to make it. While he’s never played in the majors, he has two qualities that he’s shown in the minor leagues that could be helpful: speed and an ability to draw walks.

In three levels of the minors a year ago, Rickard had a .427 on-base percentage and stole 23 of 29 bases.

The Orioles don’t have an obvious player on their bench who can pinch run or fill in for Adam Jones in center, so it looks as if Rickard will get that long look.

Last March, the Orioles had two Rule 5 selections in camp, Garcia and Logan Verrett. Verrett was lost on waivers to Texas late in camp, and he ended up back with the New York Mets.

Garcia, who’s now 23, spent about half the season on the disabled list, but appeared in 21 games with a 1-0 record and 4.25 ERA.

Before he was injured in early May, Garcia pitched to a 5.93 ERA. When he returned in August, he had a 2.81 ERA in 13 games.

It was a lot different. I think my mindset and just my confidence was different. Working with [pitching coach Alan Mills] in Bowie I think was pretty crucial for me, and just getting everything right. I felt a lot more confident coming back from that rehab stint this past year,” Garcia said at last month’s minicamp in Sarasota, Fla.

A year ago, Garcia had never pitched above Low-A. When he was drafted from the Boston Red Sox, he pitched in the same league that Delmarva is in, and he hadn’t even gone as far as Frederick’s level.

“Yeah, it feels a lot different. Just the experience and everything from (last year) that I learned and went through, this offseason I got to sit down and think about and take it in. It was awesome and I’m pumped, excited,” Garcia said.

He had quite an education.

“There’s a ton. It’s hard to choose from. That’s a hard question. I probably can’t choose one thing. On the field, probably just how different the game is, the pace of the game. Just realizing it’s the same game, but trusting in myself,” Garcia said.

Garcia has three options, and needs to pitch regularly. The guess is that he could start in Bowie.

“We’ve talked here and there, but nothing definite yet. Kind of see how this spring goes and see whatever works best for the team,” Garcia said.

Pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti recommended that Garcia, who pitched in the Arizona Fall League, not throw during the three-day mini-camp.

“That was our suggestion, not his, just because he learned so much and has come such a long way. He’s another one of those guys who, we all think in our end of the business that we have a grasp on things, no one expected that guy to be what he turned out to be. We’re all pleasantly surprised,” Wallace said.

“He made a lot of progress, and he went to Fall league, so we’re backing off of him right now until spring training starts just because he’s been through a lot, No.1 and he’s thrown a lot. When you think about it, he had thrown several bullpens before this time last year when we had the minicamp. He essentially hasn’t stopped until the Fall league was over. He doesn’t need to get on the mound down here. That was our suggestion. He wanted to and we kind of talked him out of it.”

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles' prospect killed in motorcycle accident

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Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7


Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

ATLANTA -- For Braves manager Brian Snitker, playing the matchups meant pitching to Manny Machado with first base open and a marathon game on the line.

The Orioles slugger made that strategy look foolish.

Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning, lifting Baltimore to a 10-7 win over Atlanta on Friday night after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.

The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.

Peter Moylan, Atlanta's eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns' sacrifice.

With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left.

Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged "you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them."

Machado said an intentional walk "crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield."

Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was "supposed to be middle in." Moylan said the pitch "slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle."

Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.

Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.

The game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes.

The Orioles trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth, and the Braves rallied against closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the inning. Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was not used while Dan Winkler allowed four runs while recording only one out.

Snitker said he rested Vizcaino because of shoulder soreness and he might be available on Saturday.

Chris Davis hit a drought-breaking homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as Baltimore opened a 7-3 lead.

Britton got one out and was charged with four runs and five hits. He gave up a single to Johan Camargo and a double to Danny Santana before hitting Ender Inciarte to load the bases.

Ozzie Albies' bases-loaded single drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman's two-run single cut the lead to one before Nick Markakis tied the game with a double to right field.

Atlanta had jumped in front on Charlie Culberson's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth.

Davis, making his first start since June 11, hit his first homer since May 9 in the fifth. Camargo tied the game with his run-scoring double in the seventh.

Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed five hits in seven innings.

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb permitted four hits in seven innings

The start of the game was delayed 11 minutes by rain.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.