Major League Baseball announced that Orioles minor league catcher Brian Ward has been suspended 50 games for his second violation of the drug treatment and prevention program. The commissioner's office did not specify what he tested positive for but stated it was "a drug of abuse."
"There's not much I can say about it," Duquette said. "It is part of the drug testing program that Major League Baseball has in place, and we support [that] and are part of Major League Baseball."
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Harbor Park Stadium, 150 Park Ave, Norfolk, VA 23510-2712, USA
Ward, 26, was in the Orioles' big league camp for several weeks this spring as a nonroster invitee. A nondrafted free agent in 2009, Ward batted .254 in 104 games at High-A Frederick last season. He was ticketed for Double-A Bowie and is expected to rejoin the organization at the end of the suspension, which starts immediately.
"The program is in place to doll out sanctions and [then] have the employee return to work," Duquette said.
A Reynolds homecoming
Third baseman Mark Reynolds, who grew up in Virginia Beach and used to come to Norfolk as a kid to watch minor league baseball, played at Harbor Park for the first time in his career in the Orioles' 6-4 loss to the Tides, their Triple-A affiliate.
"I used to come to games here, so it is a pretty cool experience to be back here playing," said Reynolds, who lived in Virginia until he moved to Arizona a few years ago. "I was never a specific team's fan. I remember going to old Met Park across the street when they were the Tidewater Tides, and then they built this place. We would come check games out and try to chase down foul balls and just have fun at the ballpark."
Reynolds left roughly 100 passes for friends and family to attend the game. He also bought 150 barbecue sandwiches from his favorite eatery in Norfolk, Doumar's, and had them distributed them to players and staff.
Duquette on prospects
The Orioles' top position prospects, infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, will start the season together at Double-A Bowie because, Duquette said, he believes that's where they both belong.
"I think that both these kids are qualified major league infielders, and I think they are both ready for Double-A," Duquette said.
Machado will play shortstop and Schoop, who also is a shortstop, likely will play primarily second base.
Machado, the club's first-round pick in 2010, is just 19 and played in 63 games at High-A Frederick last season. There was talk of his staying there to start 2012, but the organization decided to promote him and see what he can do at what might be the most competitive level in the minors.
"First of all, he believes he's a big leaguer, and the way he goes about his business, he knows he has talent. He can play shortstop," Duquette said of Machado. "The way he ranged to his left for ground balls and to his right for pop-ups showed me he can be a really top-quality shortstop and he just needs some at-bats. And Double-A is a key developmental level, so why not now?"
Around the horn
Duquette said he had trade discussions heading into setting his roster Wednesday, but "they weren't really attractive to us." … Matusz allowed three hits and one walk while striking out five in four scoreless innings against the Tides. He threw 57 pitches (35 strikes). ... The Tides scored three runs off Jason Berken, who allowed three hits in one inning. ... The announced crowd for the exhibition was 8,749. … The Norfolk Admirals, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, were honored at Wednesday's game for their AHL record 23-game winning streak. … The Orioles signed catcher Chris Robinson to a minor league deal Tuesday and sent him to Norfolk. The 27-year-old batted .316 with one homer and 29 RBIs in 66 games with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs last season. ... Duquette said nothing had been decided yet concerning left-hander Dana Eveland, who was designated for assignment last week.
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