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Former Orioles, Senators pitcher Mike McCormick dies at 81

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Former Orioles, Senators pitcher Mike McCormick dies at 81

CORNELIUS, N.C. (AP) -- Longtime Giants pitcher Mike McCormick, who won the Cy Young Award in 1967, has died. He was 81.

The Giants say McCormick died Saturday at his home in North Carolina after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

McCormick played 16 years in the majors from 1956-71 with the Giants, Orioles, Senators, Yankees and Royals. He had a 134-128 record with a 3.73 ERA and his greatest accomplishments came with the Giants.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mike McCormick, a true gentleman and forever Giant," Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said. "Like many Giants fans, I have many fond childhood memories of watching Mike pitch at Candlestick Park and then was blessed to call him my friend these past 30 years. As a member of the inaugural San Francisco Giants team in 1958, Mike helped establish baseball on the West Coast and then went on to play a major role in the legendary Giants teams of the 1960s, becoming San Francisco's first pitcher to win a Cy Young Award."

McCormick signed with the Giants as a 17-year-old "bonus baby" in 1956 for $50,000, requiring him to forego the minors at the start of his career. He recorded 50 wins before turning 23 and was the youngest player to reach that milestone until Dwight Gooden broke that record in 1986.

He made his biggest impact on the franchise after the move from New York to San Francisco in 1958. He recorded at least 10 wins each year from 1958-61 and led the National League with a 2.70 ERA in 1960 when he was named an All-Star for the first of two times in his career.

McCormick was traded to Baltimore following the 1962 season and struggled for four seasons in the American League with the Orioles and Washington.

He was traded by the Senators back to the Giants following the 1966 season and had a remarkable bounce-back campaign. He went 22-10, leading the league in wins, and posted a 2.85 ERA. He completed 14 games and five shutouts and was the first San Francisco pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.

He won 23 games combined the next two seasons before getting traded to the Yankees during the 1970 season. He then spent his final season with the Royals.

McCormick is recognized as the player who hit the 500th home run ever by a pitcher in the majors and also gave up Hank Aaron's 500th home run. Because of these two feats, his personalized license plate read "Mr. 500.?

McCormick is survived by his wife, Dierdre; their daughter, Tara; and his children Mike Jr., Matthew and Stacy from an earlier marriage; six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his daughter Susan from his first wife, Carolyn.

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Orioles bats nearly non-existent once again in third-straight loss to motivated, reconstructed Marlins

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles bats nearly non-existent once again in third-straight loss to motivated, reconstructed Marlins

At around 10 p.m. Wednesday night, the Orioles finally squeezed out a run, seemingly by divine intervention. 

It happened when a chopper from outfielder Austin Hays bounced off two Marlins infielders and into the outfield which allowed Anthony Santander to score and cut the lead in half. The problem was, it was the Orioles’ first run of the game, third hit of the game and ninth hit of the series. 

The Orioles, up until Hays’ single, had gone 21 ⅔ scoreless innings against a Marlins team that had 18 replacement players from its Opening Day roster due to an outbreak of COVID-19. The Marlins were a team that had to find pitchers that were simply available to throw major league innings, and they retired Orioles batters consistently through the first three games of the series.

Baltimore, operating as the road team at Camden Yards for the second half of a doubleheader, lost their third-straight in a 2-1 loss to the Marlins. The fourth game of the series will be Thursday. 

“I don’t want to take credit away from their guys, I thought they pieced it together fairly nicely out of the pen giving us some different looks,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I don’t know if we’re trying too hard, or...I’m not what it is, to be honest with you. It’s one of those little funks that we’ve gone through in a couple days.”

Ever since the second game of the season against the Red Sox, the Orioles have swung the bat particularly well, better than most thought they could. But all of those bats went silent after a series sweep of the Rays on Sunday, a series victory that left some with a brief, optimistic scenario that the Orioles could contend for a playoff spot. 

Since that win over the Rays, though, the offense hasn’t just been quiet, it’s been silent. 

The Orioles were shut out Tuesday and in game one of the doubleheader Wednesday in 4-0 and 1-0 losses, respectively. Were it not for Hays’ single, it would’ve been three straight games with a zero on the scoreboard.

RELATED: MARLINS TAKE OVER CAMDEN YARDS AS HOME TEAM

“I can’t really put my finger on it,” Hyde said. “We’re not driving the baseball. I think guys are trying to do too much, carrying too big of a load, instead of trying to get the next guy up instead of trying to win every pitch. We’re having a tough time just getting on base to start a rally and putting good ABs together after it.”

After blazing starts to the year, some of the Orioles’ best hitters have hit a cold streak at the same time against a Marlins team that was cramped in a hotel room for more than a week.

Anthony Santander is just 2-for-10 in the series, Jose Iglesias and Rio Ruiz have been hampered by injuries and Hanser Alberto, after a staggering start to the year, is 0-for-11 in the series. 

“It’s not fun,” Iglesias said. “We just lost two games, but I think we’ve got to move forward. Tomorrow is another day. We’re going to get an opportunity to play the game and come back.”

But while the bats have failed, the pitching has thrived. In that regard, it makes the previous few days that much more infuriating for the Orioles.

In the last three games, the starters have been excellent. John Means, Alex Cobb and Asher Wojciechowski have combined to throw 14 ⅔ innings and have allowed just eight hits, four earned runs and four walks. They’ve struck out 15 batters, too, as both Means and Cobb each allowed just one run in their starts. 

All three pitchers, however, received losses. 

“I don’t have an explanation for it except I really like the way we’re pitching,” Hyde said. “I think our offense will come around. I don’t think we’re going one run in three games continuously. We have proven we can score runs and we can swing the bats against really good pitchers. This series, for whatever reason, we’re not driving the baseball. We’re not grinding out at-bats the way that we did against the teams we played before.”

The Marlins, who are now 5-1, have seemingly released all their pent up energy through the team’s pitching staff. 

The Orioles, who dropped to 5-6 with the three losses, simply haven’t had an answer for a Marlins team that came out of quarantine with a stout pitching staff.

“I’ve been impressed with their pitching, for those guys to be shut down in a hotel and throw the way they’ve been throwing, they’ve done a nice job,” Hyde said. “I don’t think we’ve helped them out, I think we’ve expanded the strike zone, but I think they’ve come out with energy and we haven’t scored any runs.”

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Major League Baseball changes protocols after coronavirus outbreaks

Major League Baseball changes protocols after coronavirus outbreaks

After COVID-19 outbreaks on both the Marlins and the Cardinals, Major League Baseball has changed its protocols for dealing with coronavirus. 

The goal is to prevent any further outbreaks and continue on the path for a 60-game season.

“We recognize that these changes place additional burdens and restrictions on players and staff,’’ according to a copy of the memo obtained by USA TODAY Sports distributed to all MLB teams. “But if we desire to play, they are necessary to limit infections and, if someone does test positive, to keep the virus from spreading.”

According to the story published by Bob Nightengale, the league has taken some very serious measures in order to keep the spread of COVID-19 contained. 

If a player or member of the organization fails to follow the new protocols, there will be severe consequences.

“Any covered individuals — whether players or club staff — who are found to have repeatedly or flagrantly violated the protocols, including refusing to wear a face covering when required and reminded to do so,’’ the memo reads, “risks being prohibited from further participation in the 2020 season and postseason (in the case of players, subject to the just cause provisions in the Basic Agreement). The Commissioner’s Office will send written warnings prior to any such action being taken.’’

According to Nightengale, new protocols must include wearing face coverings in the dugout and clubhouse, with the exception of players on the field. Teams are now forced to reduce the traveling party to those who are absolutely essential to playing the games. Meetings are now strictly prohibited in hotel rooms, and each team must have a private large room at a hotel designed for eating meals and convening during meetings.

The moves came a week after the league was seemingly on the ropes after the Marlins and Cardinals had a combined 33 members of their organizations tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Marlins’ outbreak forced the Orioles-Marlins series to be postponed a week, and later to be fully played at Camden Yards with the Orioles operating as the road team for two games of the series.

“Everyone must be accountable for their own conduct because the careless or reckless actions of a few can impact the health and well-being of everyone,’’ the memo read.

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