O’s Lose to Twins; Johnson Ailing, Liz to the ‘Pen, Quick Hits…

The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins across Alligator Alley, 5-3, on Monday. Despite two home runs by Aubrey Huff and two hits by Carlos Rojas, they were not enough to counter shaky pitching.

The Orioles’ newest acquisition, Mark Hendrickson started the game and went three innings, allowing two runs on five hits; however, much of the damage was done against David Pauley who went 1 2/3 innings while allowing two runs on four hits and striking out one.

Before Pauley came into the game, Dennis Sarfate pitched the fourth inning and gave up a run on two hits. Alberto Castillo and Bob McCrory closed out the game by throwing a scoreless inning each.

The Twins jumped on the Orioles early. Joe Crede slammed a two-run homer in third inning and was perfect at the plate with three hits.. Mike Redmond added an RBI double to center in the fourth. Denard Span had two hits including a triple.

  • It looks like Radhames Liz will start the season off in the bullpen, assuming he makes the Opening Day roster. Although the kid has an electric arm and seems to have the ability to become a solid major league pitcher, he still needs to work on his location, command and consistency. Maybe he will be used in mop-up duty to start, or even down in Norfolk; however, I’m sure he’ll get a chance to crack the rotation if an injury occurs or if one of the starters doesn’t work out.
  • I’m also a tad concerned about Jim Johnson, who has sat out the last week due to an inflammed shoulder — the same injury that led to him being shut down at the end of 2008. Let’s just hope it’s nothing more than a minor issue as he was a key — a huge, huge one — in the Oriole bullpen last year. If he’s hurt, it will be a blow to the relief corps, but if means that Johnson has to miss some time after Opening Day — do it. However, he should be ready for the start of the season.
  • It looks like Rich Hill may finally be ready to pitch for Baltimore.
  • Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, and Brian Matusz were cut from the team this weekend and off to Sarasota (the minor league camp), as expected in a group of twelve. They are the future of the Orioles; therefore, there is absolutely no need at all to rush them. Let them dominate in the lower levels and then bring them up to Baltimore.
  • Sidney Ponson has finally settled his case with the Orioles and from the sounds of it got what he wanted as well as was entitled to. I have seen him pitch often after he left Baltimore during his stints with the Yankees, Cardinals, Twins and Rangers, and it seems his hard life has taken a bit of the ability he had in Baltimore. He’ll find work — based on his performance in the World Baseball Classic — and he’s been a average pitcher for the past several years, but one has to wonder if his demons may have ultimately derailed what could have been a good to great career.