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Patient Tolliver hopes 2016 will finally be his year with Orioles

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Patient Tolliver hopes 2016 will finally be his year with Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. –- Nearly seven years after he was first drafted, Ashur Tolliver is finally in his first spring training with the Orioles. 

The 28-year-old left-hander, who was drafted in the fifth round in 2009, is a non-roster invitee to spring training. He never thought that he’d finally get an invitation to major league spring training in 2016.

“It wouldn’t have been exactly how I scripted it coming out of the draft with some of the injuries and setbacks, but I’m really thankful to still be an Oriole. I like the players here. I like the coaches. The organization has stuck with me through a lot of ups and downs,” Tolliver said.

Tolliver pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Friday against Toronto.

It took Tolliver five years to even make Double-A, and last year, his second year in Bowie, he was 1-2 with a 2.59 ERA.

“You just have to stick with the process and trust that what you’re doing is ultimately going to get you where you’re going. I’m thankful the Orioles still stuck with me. I’m really grateful to still be here. I was a free agent after last year, and I knew they wanted me back, and I was glad about that,” Tolliver said.

“It’s been tough sometimes with the injuries and stuff. I’m glad they stuck with me because they know what I’m capable of.”

The 2009 draft wasn’t a strong one for the Orioles. Mychal Givens was the first member of that class to make the majors, and it took him six years.

Givens’ recall from Bowie excited Tolliver.

“I remember getting to the field, his locker was empty. Where’s Givens?” Tolliver said.

The two had been minor league roommates and close friends. On the night Givens was recalled, Bowie’s game ended early, and the Baysox retreated to their clubhouse and watched his major league debut on television.

“I recorded it and sent it to him along with 100 other people,” Tolliver said.

Tolliver hasn’t pitched in Triple-A, and he hopes to do that and become the second member of the 2009 class to make the majors.

“We’re kind of running thin. Hopefully a few of us can make it,” Tolliver said.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Orioles swept in doubleheader against Twins

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Orioles swept in doubleheader against Twins

After Friday's game was rained out, the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins played a doubleheader at Camden Yards Saturday. The Orioles lost 6-5 in the first game, and 16-7 in the second. 

Here's the latest Orioles and Twins news.

Player Notes: 

ORIOLES:

Infielder Renato Nunez went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three runs scored, and three runs driven in during Game Two of the Orioles' doubleheader. He was the lone bright spot in a blowout loss, and now has a .304 batting average in 2019.

Pitcher Alex Cobb made his return to the mound in Game Two but did not fare well. Cobb gave up nine runs and 10 hits in 2.2 innings against the Twins. He allowed three home runs, and Brandon Hyde said he though Cobb looked "rusty."

First baseman Chris Davis made a surprise appearance on the mound in the ninth inning of an eight-run game. It was his first pitching appearance since 2012, and he allowed a home run to former Oriole Jonathan Schoop.

TWINS: 

Eddie Rosario crushed three home runs across both games of Saturday's doubleheader. He has five home runs in three games and nine total on the season. 

Former Oriole Nelson Cruz went 4-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI in Game Two's blowout victory.

Another former Oriole, Jonathan Schoop, also enjoyed a big day, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double in the 16-7 victory, including the home run off former teammate Chris Davis.

Injuries: 

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, 10-Day IL

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 10-Day IL

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL

Coming Up:

Sunday 4/21: Twins @ Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Monday 4/22: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Tuesday 4/23: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Source: Rotoworld

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Yes, that was Chris Davis on the mound for the Orioles

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Yes, that was Chris Davis on the mound for the Orioles

Chris Davis is known for many things. Towering home runs, playing first base well, and setting record-long hitless streaks are all among them.

What isn’t among them is pitching, yet that’s what he was tasked with doing Saturday night.

In Game Two of the Orioles’ doubleheader with the Twins, Baltimore’s pitching staff was rocked. They allowed 15 runs in the first eight innings of the game, and after 17 innings pitched on the day, manager Brandon Hyde didn’t want to tax his bullpen any further.

He turned to Davis, who last pitched in 2012 during a 17-inning marathon in Boston. Davis didn’t allow any runs that May afternoon seven years ago, giving him a career pitching WAR of an astounding 0.2.

His last appearance was so successful that in his offseason arbitration negotiations, long before his current 7-year, $161 million deal, Davis asked for a small fraction of his contract to specifically be designated for his pitching prowess.

He wasn’t as successful in his outing against the Twins. Considering his first appearance was on the road, maybe now he fully understands why pitching at Camden Yards is so difficult?

In one inning Saturday, Davis allowed two hits and one earned run. More importantly, he recorded a strikeout, the third(!!) of his career on the mound.

Davis may have struggled at the plate in 2019, but at least he never struck out against someone whose job has nothing to do with striking batters out.

Saturday’s games marked the first return to Camden Yards for former Oriole Jonathan Schoop, a fan favorite over the years at second base. Funnily enough, the sole earned run Davis allowed came off a monstrous home run from Schoop.

Considering their long relationship as teammates, it’s no surprise the two were laughing together as Schoop trotted around the bases. 

Apparently, Davis just can’t win this season. First he sets an ignominious record at the plate, and now that he’s finally heating up with the bat, he loses his incredible mojo on the mound.

Hopefully his luck on the mound turns around like it has with the bat. And yes, that means we are very, very interested in more Chris Davis pitching appearances. In a rebuilding season with 100+ losses a distinct possibility, who wouldn’t want more fun like this?

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