By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
6:00 AM EDT, April 19, 2013
Catcher Matt Wieters doesn’t show much emotion on the field. He’s Baltimore’s Matty Ice.
So it was interesting to see him show some not just once, but twice, in the late innings on Thursday night. The first was fairly understated. He fist-pumped after throwing out Desmond Jennings, who was attempting to steal in the ninth. Wieters has now thrown out 7 of 9 would-be basestealers this year.
The other one was a lot more obvious – Wieters bat-flipped after hitting his walkoff grand slam in the 10th. I’m not sure I’ve seen him do that before. After the game I asked him how often he’s bat-flipped.
“Only on walkoffs,” he said with a smile. He added that he might do it when he gets hit by a pitch, too.
Wieters is a pretty funny guy with plenty of personality. He just doesn’t show it a whole lot in public.
The Orioles won their first extra-inning game of the year Thursday. You all know they had 18 last year – and won 16 of them, all in a row. The first one came in the fifth game of the year. They lost it to the Yankees. They lost their sixth game of the season in extra innings, too, then won 16 straight starting with one on April 16 – a year and two days from Thursday’s extra-innings victory, which came in Game 15.
I can’t imagine the Orioles will play in that many extra-inning games this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a winning record in those contests. The sole reason they won so many in 2012 was because their bullpen was so good. And that looks to be the case again in 2013.
Last night four relievers combined to give up just one run in 4 1/3 innings.
Some of you emailed me with concern after I reported the news that Dylan Bundy still hasn’t thrown off a mound since being shelved in March with tightness in his forearm/elbow.
Well, any time a pitcher doesn’t pitch, and any time elbow discomfort is mentioned regarding a pitcher, concern is understandable.
But, from what I am hearing, his delay is not a big deal. He is supposedly pain-free right now. And the pain apparently was cramping or tightness which apparently was caused by the way he was grabbing/twisting the ball in and out of his glove as he readied to pitch.
The Orioles are being cautious about not rushing him back. But they are also working to correct the mechanical flaw that was causing the discomfort as well as some other mechanical issues. So don’t be alarmed by his time on the shelf, at least not yet. Still, it’s likely he won’t pitch in a regular minor-league game for a month or so while he rebuilds strength.
One last comment here – and granted it is a soapbox issue.
The York Revolution retired Andy Etchebarren’s No. 8 in a ceremony yesterday. (Brooks Robinson’s No. 5 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 are also retired by the team. Brooks never played for the Revolution, obviously, but made his pro debut with the York White Roses in 1955 and is now part owner of the Revolution.)
Etchebarren led the Revolution to two Atlantic League championships. So the honor is well-deserved. But it got me thinking.
How is Etchebarren not in the Orioles’ Hall of Fame? He played for the team for 12 years, and caught for four Orioles’ World Series teams. Guys with lesser credentials and ties to history are in the club’s Hall. Add the fact that Etchebarren was a long-time minor league manager in the organization – and a good one – and it seems criminal that he has not received that honor.
A few years ago I complained about Rich Dauer not getting in. He made it – and now I’m on the Etch bandwagon. Apparently, his time to be elected by the veterans’ committee has passed. Well, that’s got to be revamped.
The man turns 70 in June. Hopefully in the next couple years the Orioles rectify that omission.
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