Most star pitchers missing from US WBC roster

Most star pitchers missing from US WBC roster

NEW YORK (AP) Toronto's R.A. Dickey heads a starting pitching staff missing David Price, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain on the preliminary U.S. roster for the World Baseball Classic.

Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees' Mark Teixeira and the Mets' David Wright are among 27 players on the roster announced Thursday. The roster also includes Joe Mauer and Jimmy Rollins, and the bullpen is headed by Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel.

Final 28-man rosters are due Feb. 20 and must include at least 13 pitchers and two catchers. The U.S., managed by Joe Torre, opens against Mexico on March 8, then plays Italy and Canada to complete its first-round group.

Venezuela's roster includes AL Triple Crown winner MVP Miguel Cabrera, World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval and pitcher Felix Hernandez. The Dominican Republic has Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes, Adrian Beltre and Hanley Ramirez, and Puerto Rico has Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina.

Chien-Ming Wang is on Taiwan, and Bruce Chen is the first major leaguer on China's team. Cuba's roster does not include any defectors in the major leagues. Japan also does not have any major leaguers.

Italy's roster includes Francisco Cervelli (born in Venezuela), Jason Grilli (born in Oak Hill, Mich.) and Nick Punto (born in San Diego).

The U.S. roster:

Pitchers: Jeremy Affeldt (San Francisco), Heath Bell (Arizona), Mitchell Boggs (St. Louis), Steve Cishek (Miami), Tim Collins (Kansas City), R.A. Dickey (Toronto), Luke Gregerson (San Diego), Derek Holland (Texas), Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta), Kris Medlen (Atlanta), Chris Perez (Cleveland), Glen Perkins (Minnesota), Vinnie Pestano (Cleveland), Ryan Vogelsong (San Francisco)

Catchers: J.P. Arencibia (Toronto), Jonathan Lucroy (Milwaukee), Joe Mauer (Minnesota)

Infielders: Willie Bloomquist (Arizona), Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati), Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia), Mark Teixeira (N.Y. Yankees), David Wright (N.Y. Mets)

Outfielders: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee), Adam Jones (Baltimore), Giancarlo Stanton (Miami), Shane Victorino (Boston), Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay).

Britton hurt as Orioles lose bizarre 8-7 game to Chicago

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Britton hurt as Orioles lose bizarre 8-7 game to Chicago

BALTIMORE—On a bizarre night, where the Orioles nearly hit into a replay-induced triple play and saw their magnificent defense and bullpen cost them a game, their most critical reliever was forced to leave with a sprained left ankle. 

When Zach Britton tried to field a bunt from Chicago’s Adam Eaton, he injured his ankle, leaving the go-ahead run on base. Britton’s replacement, Vance Worley allowed the run to score, and the Orioles had suffered a deflating 8-7 loss to the White Sox before 29,152 at Oriole Park on Saturday night. 

Britton (1-1) wasn’t available to comment on his injury, but manager Buck Showalter was hopeful the injury wasn’t a serious one.

“We’ll see how it is tomorrow,” Showalter said. “He jammed it more than rolled it…The proverbial day to day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Zach’s always been a pretty quick healer, so we’ll see.”

If Britton is lost for any length of time, Darren O’Day would probably assume his role as closer. O’Day allowed three runs in the eighth inning to give Chicago (16-9) a 7-5 lead. 

The Orioles (14-9), who had their three-game winning streak snapped, tied the score at 7 in the bottom of the eighth.

Mychal Givens inherited a 5-3 lead and gave up a run in the seventh.

“Poor performance by the bullpen, myself obviously,” O’Day said. “It wasn’t good by us. I left a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate. When that happens, you’re going to give up hits.” 

Britton anchors a strong bullpen, but even without him, the Orioles still have O’Day, Givens, Brad Brach and Dylan Bundy.  

“I think Zach’s the best in the game, so it would be a tough period without him. We’ve got guys that have done the job before. So, yeah, it was a bad night, but if you look at the body of work we’ve put together, we have a lot of confidence. So we’ll figure something out,” O’Day said. 

In the bottom of the third, with the Orioles trailing 3-1. Hyun Soo Kim doubled down the right field line. Manny Machado reached on an infield single to short while Kim held. 

Jones grounded to third as Todd Frazier forced Kim at third and threw to second baseman Brett Lawrie to force Machado. 

Chicago manager Robin Ventura argued that Machado had interfered with Lawrie, and he couldn’t throw to first in an attempt to get Jones. 

After a delay of 3:29, the call stood, and the White Sox’s attempt at a triple play failed. Ventura was ejected after he disputed the decision.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of argument if they had overturned it, to be honest with you. If they had called him out at first,” Showalter said. 

“Manny just got a little over-aggressive. Where we got fortunate is they didn’t attempt to turn the ball over to first base and didn’t feel like it impacted the play, I guess.

The Orioles trailed by two because Machado and Jonathan Schoop each committed an error in the third, leading to two runs, but that was nearly forgotten by the ninth.

After Worley came in, he walked Carlos Sanchez and gave up an RBI single to Jose Abreu.

Showalter, whose team finished the month with nine wins in 11 games, bemoaned the cold, wet conditions the Orioles have faced at home. 

“We’ve been playing in this slop for a while,” Showalter said. 

Nate Jones (2-0) retired the final four Orioles for the win. 

The Orioles had 14 hits. Kim and Pedro Alvarez each had three. Alvarez had his first home run with the Orioles, and Kim watched his batting average reach .600. He’s 9-for-15. 

Machado, Chris Davis and Adam Jones each had two hits, and Schoop hit his fourth home run. 

Kevin Gausman left with a 4-3 lead. He allowed two earned runs on four hits in six innings in his second start of the season.

I obviously wanted to go back out there, but it’s a long season,” Gausman said. “Hopefully, next time out, I can do that. Right now, I respect [Showalter’s] opinion to take me out right there. I felt good. Once you go six innings, you don’t want to jump to seven right away. Getting through six was good.”

The Orioles touched Mat Latos, who entered the game with a dazzling 0.74 ERA, for four runs on 11 hits in five innings. 

NOTES: Joey Rickard didn’t start for the first time, but he came into the game as a defensive replacement for Trumbo in the eighth. … Chris Sale (5-0, 1.66) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 3.91) on Sunday. 

 

Brach seems always to be in right place for the win

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Brach seems always to be in right place for the win

BALTIMORE— It seems that Brad Brach is always the winning pitcher when the Orioles take the lead late in a game. 

On Friday night, Brach gave up just his second run and fifth hit when Chicago’s Brett Lawrie tied the score in the top of the seventh, but Nolan Reimold’s three-run home run gave the Orioles the lead. 

Brach is 3-0 this year, and 15-4 in his three seasons with the Orioles.

“Unfortunately, last night was not the win I wanted to get. I don’t what it’s been. I don’t know if it’s the case of being in a lot of tight games or what the deal is, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a lot of games that are close, and we score some runs, and I get wins. Hopefully, we can continue doing that,” Brach said. 

This year, Brach has pitched 14 1/3, walking five and striking out five. 

“It’s just going after the hitters. It’s what I did in the minor leagues. In the last three or four or five years, I didn’t attack the hitters like I normally do.  My walk numbers were way up,” Brach said.

“I don’t know if it’s just confidence or overall stuff or what it is, but I’m just been real aggressive and trying to get back to what I did in the minor leagues and keep the walks down. That’s pretty much been keeping me out of trouble.”

Brach has mixed up his pitches more, too. 

“I got to throw my slider a lot during the spring this year. It gave me confidence in a third pitch. It’s allowed me to go right after the hitter and use any one of my three pitches in any count, and that’s been huge,” Brach said. 

If the starters give the Orioles a good six innings, the bullpen thinks they’ve got the game in hand.

“That’s what we kind of think. Until teams show us otherwise, that’s what we’re going to believe. If we have a lead or it’s a tie game in the sixth, it’s over and we’re going to win. It’s confidence we have in each other down there. We all just believe that the next guy who’s out there is going to put up a zero and we’re going to get a W,” Brach said. 

Showalter hopeful that Hyun Soo Kim's defense is adequate for Orioles

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USA Today Sports

Showalter hopeful that Hyun Soo Kim's defense is adequate for Orioles

BALTIMORE— Hyun Soo Kim is in the Orioles lineup on Saturday. Joey Rickard is getting the night off. 

Kim is starting in left field for the fourth time this season, and manager Buck Showalter admits that his prowess in left field is an unknown.

“Our knowledge of who and how good defensively he is, nobody’s that smart. We don’t know. He’s made some good plays going back,” Showalter said. 

“I wish he had more track record with us.” 

Showalter says he’s been pleased with Kim’s preparations.

“He’s a hard worker. Everybody is pulling for this guy. He’s handled it so well,” Showalter said. 

Joey Rickard is not in the starting lineup for the first time this season.

Matt Wieters is starting behind the plate in consecutive games for the first time this season. 

The Orioles have been protecting Wieters, who rarely caught back-to-back games last year when he returned from Tommy John surgery. 

“We thought this would be a good time, and Matt did, too,” Showalter said. 

Showalter says it doesn’t matter if Wieters or Caleb Joseph catches a certain pitcher. 

“We’re fine with either one of those guys catching anybody,” Showalter said. “It’s almost like having the same guy.” 

NOTE: Chris Tillman will pitch against New York on Tuesday in the first of a three-game series. The Orioles haven’t decided on their other starters.