The news that the Orioles designated Cla Meredith for assignment yesterday reminded me of spring training and the optimism that flooded the clubhouse. They were 0-0 in the regular season. It wasn't standing-room-only for the disabled list. Times were good.
Meredith was really good, allowing one earned run in 10 2/3 innings, with no walks and five strikeouts. He looked like an extremely valuable part of the bullpen, a ground ball machine, but he was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 21 games with the Orioles before being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, and he posted a 13.50 ERA in five games with the Tides.
Not so valuable.
Manager Dave Trembley couldn't stop talking about Kam Mickolio, touting him as having "end-of-game stuff" and praising him for being in peak physical condition. Mickolio was a late cut despite a 1.93 ERA in eight spring games - seven walks in 9 1/3 innings were a concern - and he's now an afterthought when bullpen candidates are discussed.
Mickolio posted a 7.36 ERA in three games with the Orioles, allowing five hits and walking three in 3 2/3 innings, and he's 2-2 with an 8.05 ERA in 18 games at Norfolk, with 29 hits allowed and nine walks in 19 innings. He went on the disabled list June 14 with a shoulder strain.
Trembley hated to part with Alberto Castillo during the final round of cuts. The decision ate at him, left him in tears, forced him to the back fields for long walks. Castillo allowed two earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. He deserved a spot on the Opening Day roster, and Trembley knew it.
Castillo has been a regular passenger on the Norfolk shuttle, and there's no reason to check his ticket for a return trip to Baltimore. He gave up two more runs in one inning with the Tides last night, putting his ERA at 7.71.
It's not quite as bad as his 10.13 ERA in 14 games with the Orioles, but it still makes you want to cry.
Matt Albers left Sarasota with a 2.57 ERA in 11 appearances. He was charged with three runs last night, failing to record an out, and is dragging around a 5.68 ERA. He's on the bubble every time another roster move is pending.
Felix Pie hit .342 in spring training. He's hitting .400 with the Orioles, but in eight games. We haven't seen him at Camden Yards since April 14.
Trembley was infatuated with Luis Lebron's "big league arm." That same arm underwent Tommy John surgery, and Lebron won't pitch in a single game this year.
Take me back to Sarasota, to better times.
Heck, I'll drive.