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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | January 21, 2012
Orioles pitcher Jim Johnson, who shined in his late-season role as the team's closer, said he has a feeling he will open spring training in the bullpen. “I'm pretty sure about that,” Johnson said at Saturday's Orioles FanFest. “We'll figure that out in the team in the spring. The organization has considered the idea of making Johnson a starter, even as recently as this offseason. But with the Orioles' offseason starting pitching additions -- Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada and Dana Eveland -- the bullpen appears to be his best fit. “I think Dan [Duquette]
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | April 18, 2014
Left-hander Troy Patton , who is currently serving a 25-game suspension for testing positive for an amphetamine, is eligible to come off the restricted list on April 30, and the Orioles might have a tough time finding a spot for him when he is able to return. Patton has no minor league options remaining, so the team must add him to the active roster when he is eligible or would risk losing him on waivers. The Orioles don't currently have a very flexible bullpen, with only Brian Matusz and Darren O'Day having minor league options.
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Peter Schmuck | April 10, 2012
It was a calculated risk. The Orioles have opened the season with what manager Buck Showalter willingly concedes is an "unconventional" bullpen, which could leave him and baseball operations chief Dan Duquette with some explaining to do if the starting pitchers aren't able to provide enough good innings to keep the relievers fresh. The Orioles do not have a true long reliever to pick up the slack if the starters again make a habit of stalling in the early and middle innings. That might change over the next few weeks - as circumstances dictate - but the team clearly is hoping that the rotation will go deep in enough games to make it a non-issue.
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By Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
SARASOTA, FLA.  - When left-hander Brian Matusz arrived in the major leagues in 2009, his changeup was an essential part of his four-pitch arsenal. But as Matusz struggled as a starter before finding a home in the Orioles bullpen last season, he said lost his feel for the pitch. Even though Matusz served as the club's best left-handed reliever in 2013 - his first full season in the bullpen - the 27-year-old has made it clear that he wants to be a starter again. This offseason, Matusz realized that rediscovering his changeup would be vital to reaching that goal because it would help him get right-handed hitters out, which has been his main obstacle to earning a regular spot in the rotation.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | May 27, 2013
Some of you are wondering why manager Buck Showalter stuck with closer Jim Johnson in the ninth inning of the Orioles' 6-5 loss to Toronto on Sunday afternoon. The bottom line it that right now this Orioles bullpen is spent. This game was Johnson's to close or lose, and I think 10 times out of 10, Showalter will like his odds with Johnson against Toronto's No. 9 hitter Munenori Kawasaki. I've heard Showalter say it many times: He won't compromise the health of the bullpen. He realizes that this Orioles team will go as far as its bullpen will take it, and there's no way he will put his relievers - as he puts it - “in harm's way.” “Buck doesn't ever put you in a situation where you're overtaxed,” right-hander Tommy Hunter said.
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By Baltimore Sun | March 12, 2010
Seeking seats in the bullpen Barring injuries or trades, most of the Orioles' Opening Day roster is already set with the exception of two or three vacancies in the bullpen. Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara and Mark Hendrickson are locks, but there are still two or three spots available and a handful of competitors. Pitcher IP ER H BB K's Jeff Zrebiec's skinny Matt Albers, rhp 4 1/3 0 2 0 1 Throwing his sinker for strikes as he did in 2008.
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By Everett Cook and The Baltimore Sun | August 12, 2012
Keeping up with a theme that has been consistent all year for the Orioles, the bullpen had another great game in relief of an unspectacular outing from a starting pitcher. On Sunday, Tommy Hunter pitched a decent game, giving up three runs in five innings, but wasn't great. No matter. Orioles manager Buck Showalter turned the game over to his bullpen in the sixth inning with the score tied at 3, and they didn't allow a hit or a run the rest of the way. “Those guys have been doing it all year,” Hunter said.
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By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun | June 5, 2010
Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen , who lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his last start against the New York Yankees, has been sent to the bullpen and will have at least one start skipped. Whether the new assignment lasts beyond one turn has not been determined, but Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said there are no immediate plans to call up another pitcher to take Bergesen's spot in the rotation. "We don't know how long he is going to be down there [in the bullpen]
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By Everett Cook and The Baltimore Sun | July 29, 2012
Orioles starting pitcher Tommy Hunter gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings Saturday night, marking the third time in the last four games that an Orioles pitcher hasn't recorded a quality start. That quality start was also the only Orioles win in the last six games -- July 26th against Tampa Bay -- when Chris Tillman gave up two earned runs over six innings. In the other three games of that stretch, Orioles starting pitchers have given up a combined 18 runs in 13 2/3 innings, overworking the bullpen and putting a ton of pressure on the offense to make up deficits.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | June 11, 2012
The Orioles winning their three-game series against the Phillies this weekend at Camden Yards comes down to one number. One. That's the number of runs the Orioles bullpen allowed in 14 innings of work this series. With two extra-inning games, the teams played 31 innings this series. Their starting pitchers went seven innings just once and the pen had to account for five innings in Friday's series opener, something that usually leads to trouble later on. But not with this bullpen.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | March 16, 2014
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Miguel Gonzalez escaped a fourth-inning jam -- and several hard comebackers again -- to turn in a strong performance in the Orioles' 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon. Gonzalez, making his fourth appearance of the spring and second since being knocked out of the game by a liner to his left shin, allowed just one run in four innings Sunday against a lineup filled with Blue Jays starters. “I'm actually pretty happy about this outing,” said Gonzalez, who has now allowed four runs in 9 1/3 innings this spring.
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By Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun | March 16, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. - When the Orioles signed right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Webb in December, executive vice president Dan Duquette quickly compared him to Jim Johnson, who had been traded earlier that month. And while the comparison wasn't necessarily fair since the departed Johnson had compiled back-to-back 50-save seasons before he was dealt to the Oakland Athletics, both possess heavy sinkers that can lead to early contact and quick outs, which can be valuable while pitching in critical late-inning situations in the American League East.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | February 21, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace watched intently from behind the mound as Ubaldo Jimenez threw his first bullpen session in an Orioles uniform Thursday. It was the first mound session Jimenez has thrown in a while - Wallace said he's thrown off flat ground - but Wallace isn't concerned that Jimenez is behind. “I think it's early enough that he can catch up,” Wallace said. “He threw a light side today and felt pretty good. … If he's behind a few days it's not a big issue right now. You look at him, he's long he's lean and he's been healthy of the course of his career, so we'll talk to him and get his feel for how he's gone through spring training and what works for him and go from there.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | February 17, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who left Saturday's workout with back spasms and had his bullpen session Sunday pushed back, said Monday morning that his back feels better. Gonzalez won't throw a bullpen today, but he said he will play catch and work on the side with assistant trainer Brian Ebel. He said he will be re-evaluated after that. “Just when I wake up in the morning it's a little tight, but once I get going walking around it feels a lot better,” Gonzalez said.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | February 17, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. - Josh Stinson's only start in an Orioles uniform last season didn't leave much of an impression. In a spot start, he allowed five runs - including four homers - in a 5 2/3-inning outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in April. Stinson was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk after that game, but by the end of the season, the 25-year-old right-hander went through a role reversal that finished with him pitching in high-pressure late-inning situations in September. Now, Stinson - despite pitching just 17 big league innings last season - will make a major play for the team's Opening Day roster as a reliever.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | January 27, 2014
When the Orioles traded Jim Johnson in December and then spiked a potential deal with Grant Balfour weeks later, the likelihood of Tommy Hunter being the club's 2014 closer increased. With a few weeks left in the offseason, the Orioles could still land a closer-type pitcher, but management isn't sweating things if Hunter begins the spring as the club's closer-in-waiting. As executive vice president Dan Duquette likes to say, no one knew what Johnson could do until he was given the job full-time in 2012 (and saved 51 of 54 games)
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By Matt Vensel | February 26, 2013
In their unexpected run to the playoffs last season, the Orioles were historically good in one-run games, winning more than 76 percent of them. Their bullpen was among the best in the majors -- and among the best in franchise history -- as relievers went 32-11 with 55 saves and a 3.00 ERA as the Orioles won 93 games. The Orioles ranked fifth in ERA and also finished fifth in WHIP with 1.21 walks and hits per inning. They somehow did it without striking out a lot of batters, as they ranked 28th with 7.49 strikeouts per nine innings.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | January 3, 2013
Last season, the bullpen was one of the Orioles' season-long strengths, and while the club's corps of relievers returns intact in 2013, executive vice president Dan Duquette said he's open to adding another bullpen arm this offseason. The Orioles' bullpen compiled a 3.00 ERA last season, the fifth-best mark in baseball and the third best in the American League. The bullpen returns five locks: closer Jim Johnson, Pedro Strop, Darren O'Day, Luis Ayala and Troy Patton. Right-hander Tommy Hunter blossomed when he moved to the bullpen, so he's a likely candidate to return.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | November 25, 2013
The Orioles continued to add depth to their bullpen on Monday, acquiring right-handed reliever Brad Brach from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league starter Devin Jones. Brach was 3-6 with a 3.70 ERA over parts of three major league seasons with the Padres.  Last season, he was 1-0 with a 3.19 ERA 36 hits, 31 strikeouts and 19 walks in 31 relief innings. He had 15 holds while pitching to a 3.78 ERA in 2012, recording career highs in innings (66 2/3) and appearances (67)
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | November 19, 2013
The Orioles' signing of pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz on Monday was the latest addition to the club's growing group of left-handed relievers who could compete for bullpen spots in 2014. Last season, the Orioles carried three lefty relievers -- Brian Matusz, Troy Patton and T.J. McFarland -- all season long, which to some could already seem excessive. Earlier this month, the Orioles added Chris Jones -- the left-handed reliever who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the trade for Luis Ayala and pitched well at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk this past year -- to their 40-man roster.
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