BALTIMORE -- For the second successive outing, Jeremy Guthrie gutted out a quality start for the Orioles. But Baltimore's bats continued their early-season slumber, falling to 9-for-57 with runners in scoring position in Monday's series-opening 5-1 loss to the Rays.
Guthrie hunkered down after allowing a solo homer in the third inning, retiring the next eight batters before running into a snag with one out in the sixth.
The right-hander yielded a one-out double to Carl Crawford, and Ben Zobrist's RBI triple just eluded the glove of a diving Adam Jones in shallow center field. Evan Longoria's sacrifice fly produced another Rays run, and an infield single on a soft grounder to shortstop Cesar Izturis warranted a short mound meeting for Guthrie.
Guthrie sent B.J. Upton down on strikes to minimize the damage and retired the Rays' bottom three batters in the seventh. It was an emphatic finishing statement after a strong outing from Guthrie, who allowed three earned runs on eight hits scattered over seven innings.
As good as Guthrie was, Rays starter Matt Garza was better -- again. With the leadoff spot vacated by Brian Roberts, who was placed on the disabled list with an abdominal muscle strain prior to the game, Felix Pie was penciled in at the top of the lineup. It didn't take long for the outfielder to adjust, sending a 1-0 pitch from Garza over the right-center-field fence for his first career leadoff homer.
The Orioles posted a pair of singles to open the second inning, but didn't record another hit until pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton's bloop single with two outs in the seventh. That effort went for naught when Wigginton was caught trying to advance on Garza's second pitch to Nolan Reimold, which squirted past catcher Dioner Navarro. Navarro recovered and threw the ball to Brignac to start an unusual 2-4-3-6 inning-ending putout.
I read an interesting quote from Leo Mazzone today. For those of you that don't know who he is, he could be one of the most famous pitching coaches in recent baseball history. For more than a decade the Atlanta Braves (my howntown team) dominated their division in the National League through premiere pitching: Glavine, Maddox, Smoltz, all Hall of Famers-to-be, among others. Mazzone was the Braves' pitching coach, bringing many of these stars from their youth into professional maturity with masterful coaching.
Mazzone was the Orioles pitching coach for the last few years, but he moved on and now does radio commentary. Here's what he said about what he still follows in the game:
"Certainly, I follow the career of Jeremy Guthrie every single day."
Wow, coming from the coach of several Hall of Famers (to be), that's saying something...
Here's the link to the article:
The Orioles have struggled to score all season with their Opening Day starter on the hill, but reserve outfielder Jay Payton stepped into that void Saturday and rendered it unrecognizable. Payton boosted his starter with five RBIs en route to a 9-5 win over the Blue Jays, singlehandedly providing more offense than Guthrie has seen in most of his starts.
"He's usually going out against one of their best pitchers, so it's been tough for us to score a lot of runs for him," said Payton, who finished with his second five-RBI game of the season. "Today, it was nice to go out against a great pitcher and to be able to push some runs across. Hopefully we can get a few more for [Guthrie] down the road."
"For the most part, we're in every game," added Guthrie. "Even if we score one or two runs -- or four or five -- it seems like we're always competitive. So to our hitters and to myself, it's not as big of a deal as maybe other people make it to be."
Big deal or not, Baltimore (31-30) hadn't opened up a four-run lead for Guthrie (3-6) before Saturday and had only scored six runs for him on two occasions -- both of which turned out to be no-decisions. Meanwhile, the right-hander had seen his team score fewer than three runs in seven of his 14 starts and had lost four games by two runs or fewer.
"It's fun to compete," he said. "And when the games are close, it really does make the game feel enjoyable. You'd love to win, but at the same time, competing and really being in a dogfight each game is also enjoyable and rewarding."
The two teams were locked in a tie game when Payton came through for the first time, lacing a two-run single in the third inning. Payton stepped up again in the fifth, drilling a three-run double that spurred a five-run rally.
The Orioles didn't stop there, though, punching another run off the
"I'd never had one so for sure it seems like a long time," Guthrie said of the rare luxury of a big lead. "They're not easy all the time, but hopefully you can make them look easy when you have a big lead and you continue to put up zeros."
"It's good that he had won the game, because he means a lot to our club," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "I don't care what the score is or the situation, he'll give you what he's got. But it's good for him and it's good for the team that we can score some runs. ... Once Guthrie got the lead, you knew he was going to stay right where he was."
"Either way, my goal is to attack them. But today, with the runs, it's nice to continue to try to get the first guy out and limit the damage while we're ahead," Guthrie said. "As the game went along, they took a little different approach. They were swinging a little bit earlier, which helped the pace of the game go while the lead was stretched out. It was a nice game."
The action turned for good in the fifth. With one out, the Orioles loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. Payton unloaded them with a gap double to left-center field. Burnett stayed in to give up two more run-scoring hits, and
"I knew his pitch count was up a little bit," Payton said of Burnett. "Sometimes when a pitcher gets his count up, he's going to want to try to throw some more strikes so he can stay out there and get through five or six innings. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of that. I think a lot of guys in that inning hit first or second pitches."
"You don't really want to get two strikes on you, because [Burnett] has devastating stuff," said Trembley. "He throws 95, and he'll throw that curveball that will buckle you. You just have to show a lot of patience with him and you've got to fight off good pitches with two strikes. But more importantly with him, you can't chase pitches out of the strike zone."
The Orioles held on late -- surviving a
BY MIKE PHILLIPS
You could get a nosebleed trying to follow the career of Jeremy Guthrie, who somehow has gone from being released by the Indians just two years ago to becoming the favorite to be Baltimore's Opening Day starter.
That's just part of Guthrie's yo-yo journey through baseball -- a crash-and-burn, rise-from-the-ashes saga that might have left the average player a little schizophrenic.
Not Guthrie, an easygoing pitcher who is grounded in his faith.
Maybe it was that two years of doing missionary work in Spain that helped shape Guthrie into what he is and where he is today, standing on the mound with a rock-hard foundation.
''It was the best two years of my life,'' said Guthrie, a devout Mormon, who left BYU and baseball with a sore arm after his freshman year to serve his two-year missionary commitment to the Church of Latter Day Saints.
''Of course [my religion] comes first,'' he said. ``It's helped me in baseball and in everything I do, because it is the most important thing to me. It's a lot easier to endure the ups and the downs because you have a base and a foundation of what is important to you.''
He has had more than his share of ups and downs, and it all started on that trip to Spain. Guthrie, who had an ERA of 6.25 at BYU, was ready to leave baseball behind. He didn't pick up a baseball for two years in Spain, where he knocked on doors for 12 hours a day professing his faith to strangers.
When he came back to the United States, he transferred to Stanford.
''I went to Stanford with the idea of working for Nike. It was an opportunity to get a great education to prepare for that,'' he said. ``I ended up on the baseball team. They allowed me to walk on the team, and it worked out.''
Worked out is an understatement. Guthrie was a two-time All-American who led Stanford to the College World Series, and the Indians made him their first-round pick and signed him for $4.5 million. He was rising again.
The crash came in 2004 when Guthrie struggled in the minors at Akron, Ohio.
''I just didn't feel comfortable on the mound and couldn't get any rhythm that season,'' he said. ``That was probably the low point, but I never thought about giving up baseball. I started pitching better [in 2005], but the Indians had a lot of young pitchers, and they really didn't have a place for me.''
BARGAIN OF THE YEAR
After the 2006 season, the Indians released Guthrie, and the Orioles picked up the bargain of the year, snatching Guthrie for the $20,000 waiver price after Kansas City and Tampa Bay passed on him. Guthrie barely made the team last spring and played for the minimum $385,000. But after being dumped by Cleveland, he began to look like one of Baltimore's best pitchers and a favorite for Rookie of the Year. He finished the season ranked 13th in the American League in ERA (3.70) and 14th in batting average allowed (.2.49), and when the Orioles traded ace Eric Bedard just before spring training, Guthrie became the favorite to be the Opening Day starter.
Orioles manager Dave Trembley likes Guthrie's fastball and his focus on the mound, but he also admires his grit, because of the way Guthrie came back quickly from a rib injury to finish September.
''I admire Jeremy for his thought process and his eagerness and his mental outlook,'' Trembley said at the time. Trembley hasn't announced his Opening Day starter, but the young Orioles are now counting on Guthrie to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.
''He has to be,'' said Baltimore first baseman Kevin Millar, one of the few veterans on the Orioles. ``He has to do it, and he can do it. We need him to be that guy.
''When he spots his fastball, he [can be an ace],'' Millar said. ``He pitched some great games for us last season, and we need him this year.''
Aided by an even temperament and his faith, Guthrie doesn't get too high or low no matter when he starts.
''It's never really been a goal of mine to be the Opening Day starter,'' he said. ``Last year it seemed like I faced No. 1s from the other teams a lot anyway.''
A SHOE GUY
Guthrie might be a rising star, but he could be selling shoes.
''My goal is to work for Nike,'' he said. ``I'm a shoe guy. I grew up in Oregon so I've always been a shoe guy and I've always had a passion for shoes.
``I would do anything, advertising, design, being a representative, anything. I would do anything from selling shoes at a NikeTown to working in the corporate offices.''
For now, Guthrie is looking for that big season, the one Millar and others believe he can have.
''I've had a lot of ups and downs, but I wasn't down when the Indians released me,'' Guthrie said. ``When I came here I was excited about the opportunity, and making the most of it.''
So far he has, rising again.
Here are the details:
Here's a recap of the game:
Living up to the hype
Former first-round pick Guthrie producing stellar results in Orioles rotation
By Jeff Zrebiec
Jeremy Guthrie's story is of a former first-round draft pick and top prospect who struggled to meet hefty -- and perhaps unfair -- expectations that were placed on him. Ultimately, he was forced to go elsewhere to get an opportunity, and when he did, his powerful right arm reminded everyone what the hype was all about.
It is certainly a feel-good story, especially for Orioles fans who have waited patiently for the organization to develop top-flight young pitchers, only to watch one of them drop in its lap on a $20,000 waiver claim. However, in the cutthroat, produce-or-else world of professional sports, this type of redemption story is not even especially unique.
But other things beyond his vast talent make Guthrie, 28, unique in the clubhouse that he inhabits. He's an avid collector of sneakers, who harbors dreams of working for Nike. He turned down a major league contract from the New York Mets to serve a Mormon mission in Spain. He didn't pick up a baseball for two years in the prime of prospect development, but when he finally did again, he was better than ever.
"His mission was like everything else in life," said Bryan Smith, his roommate for a year at Brigham Young University and one of his closest friends. "He took it very, very seriously. He pushed everything to the side -- baseball; his girlfriend Jenny, who is now his wife; his family. It was the hardest thing that I've ever done and I didn't have to walk away from a contract from the New York Mets or a professional career."
Guthrie, who went on the mission in 1999 after his freshman year at BYU, called the two years he spent in Spain the best time of his life. He learned to speak Spanish fluently, spending 15-hour days studying and teaching and spreading his religion. Not once did he pick up a baseball.
"Really, everything I do from then on was influenced and based on what I learned and experienced during those two years," Guthrie said. "Sometimes people question if baseball is important. Of course, it is, but it's not more important than my faith."
Smith wondered what would become of his friend's baseball career. "He told me that if he came back and threw a fastball at 75 mph, he'd have no regrets," he said.
When Guthrie enrolled at Stanford in fall 2000, he had gained 20 pounds and his fastball was being clocked at 92 mph, harder than he'd ever thrown. It was quite the revelation for Guthrie.
"I was in better shape for whatever reason after not training for two years than I was before I left," he said. "It was a great blessing. It was one of the things that helped me realize I was blessed with the health and strength that I was given. Before I didn't have it and then I didn't do anything for two years, and all of a sudden I had more of it."
After drafting him in the first round of the 2002 draft, the Cleveland Indians signed Guthrie to a four-year, $4 million big league contract. The Indians had high hopes for him.
Though Guthrie expresses no ill will toward the Indians, he said: "I continually heard people tell me how I struggled to meet expectations when the expectations were theirs, never mine. On top of that, they were measuring it by the way I pitched out of the bullpen, and I never did that in the minor leagues. I didn't understand how they could judge me based on a position that I wasn't comfortable with."
Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said the organization thought that Guthrie was further advanced when they drafted him out of college, where he was the only Stanford pitcher to have two 13-win seasons and once pitched a 13-inning complete game to beat Cal State Fullerton in an NCAA tournament regional contest.
"I do think that the pressure that came with the contract and the No.1 pick didn't help the situation," Shapiro said. "He didn't execute his pitches constantly like he's doing now for a variety of reasons. Any time you see a guy like that succeed, you wish it could be in your uniform, but if you're in this game long enough, you're going to have decisions in this game where the timing doesn't work in your favor."
Coming to Orioles
The Orioles claimed Guthrie on waivers in late January from the Indians. The Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays had the first crack at him, but both passed. Meanwhile, the Orioles got glowing reports from scout Dave Hollins and current interim manager Dave Trembley.
"I felt that he was a major league pitcher pitching in the minor leagues," said Trembley, whose teams faced Guthrie several times in the minors.
So the Orioles claimed him, feeling that he had a chance to make the team in spring training as a member of the bullpen. He did and then he stepped into the rotation full time in May when injuries hit Jaret Wright and Adam Loewen and became nothing short of one of the American League's best starters.
Guthrie, relying primarily on his fastball, threw seven shutout innings of two-hit ball against the Oakland Athletics Sunday, improving his record to 6-3 with a 2.88 ERA, the fourth-best in the AL. He has given up two earned runs or fewer in 12 of 16 starts.
"I didn't know who he was, to be honest with you, but I never would've imagined that he'd have this kind of arm strength, consistently throwing 93 to 97 miles an hour," Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said. "He's been unbelievable."
His success has not surprised his former teammates in Cleveland, for whom Guthrie made one major league start and 16 appearances in parts of three seasons.
"He has got tremendous stuff, and you always knew he was going to put it together," said Indians All-Star center fielder Grady Sizemore, who came up through the minors with Guthrie. "It was just a matter of when."
Guthrie has benefited from working with pitching coach Leo Mazzone, but more than anything, he has enjoyed starting every five days, knowing he is not auditioning for a role on the team. The common criticism of Guthrie in the past was that he overanalyzed everything, affecting his game plan and execution on the mound. He disagreed with that perception.
"I feel like the confidence has grown more," Guthrie said. "Right now, I'm just very comfortable with the idea that I can attack guys and my team is going to make good plays behind me. I don't think the change of scenery has necessarily helped me pitch better, but it's given me an opportunity. I had no opportunity had I gone with Cleveland to spring training. It would have taken two or three [injuries] for me to even have a chance."
Shapiro and his assistant GM, Chris Antonetti, called Guthrie during the All-Star break to congratulate him on his first half.
"No one felt good about taking him off the roster," Shapiro said. "He's definitely a guy where every single person in this organization is happy for his success."
Shapiro said Guthrie was the only player who has ever sent him and the Indians owner a thank-you note after he signed a contract.
Tammy Anderson, one of his teachers at Ashland High School in Oregon and an attendee at last week's game in Seattle, was recently approached by one of her current students, who was holding the copy of a newspaper article about Guthrie. When Guthrie heard of the student's interest, he asked Anderson to give the student his e-mail address and encourage him to write.
Anderson was one of about 40 family and friends who attended the Seattle game, each coming to Safeco Field wearing No. 46 Orioles T-shirts. Guthrie said he had been expecting maybe four or five people to show.
Those who know him well describe Guthrie as a perfectionist who doesn't like to deviate from his routine. Every time Guthrie is set to pitch on the road, he sizes up the mound a couple of days earlier and practices his delivery while using a towel to mimic the ball. Several times, grounds crew members, intent on getting the mound ready for the first pitch, have tried to hustle him off.
But as his close friend Smith learned long ago, Guthrie sees things to the end. The night before Guthrie's wedding, the two stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to settle a score in the video game Crossfire.
"He hates to lose," said Smith, a Southern California-based attorney. "We'd argue about who would win at basketball and it would be midnight and he'd want to go outside and settle it right there. I think he could have played QB at BYU. He's one of those guys that everybody hates because he's good at everything he does."
In his senior year at Ashland High, Guthrie was the Most Valuable Player for football, basketball and baseball. He put up staggering numbers as a high school quarterback but was overshadowed by another quarterback in the state, Joey Harrington, who would go on to star at the University of Oregon on his way to an NFL career.
It is Guthrie's position as class valedictorian that makes him the target in the Orioles clubhouse.
"Borderline nerdy," cracked Millar when asked to describe Guthrie. "He's a Stanford boy, probably the highest SAT scorer on the team. We were at L.A. City Junior College, where we could get in with a 700 SAT score. I was trying to write my name correctly, and this guy was doing trigonometry."
Guthrie is one class away from earning a sociology degree from Stanford. Ultimately, his goal is to get a job possibly designing sneakers for shoe giant Nike, which is headquartered in Oregon.
Guthrie has collected basketball shoes since he was in seventh grade and boasts of 60 pairs of Air Jordans, about 45 of which are unworn. He even keeps the shoes that he had when he was younger, cleaning them regularly. In Seattle last week, Guthrie proudly walked around the clubhouse, showing off to teammates a new pair of sneakers he had just gotten.
"That's my passion," said Guthrie, a big outdoorsman who goes biking daily and rides to and from Camden Yards to his place in the Inner Harbor on most game days. "I get excited about new shoes and stuff like that."
As his pitching profile rises, Guthrie, the father of two young children, continues to work hard to maintain a balance among his family, his faith and his job. But it has been difficult on occasion. As a junior at Stanford in 2002, Guthrie was scheduled to face Texas in a College World Series bracket final in Omaha, Neb. But the game also fell on his one-year wedding anniversary.
Determined to celebrate it while also being ready later in the day to face the Longhorns, he wrangled Kyle McRae, an assistant media relations director at Stanford, to drive him and wife Jenny to the water early in the morning to board a riverboat cruise.
During the past weekend's series in Oakland, Guthrie spent significant time talking with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who came to Saturday's game with his family. Young, whose great-great-great grandfather was Mormon church founder Brigham Young, has been a mentor for the Orioles pitcher for the past few years.
"There are a lot of Mormons that have had a lot of success in sports, but Steve is at the pinnacle," Smith said. "He was able to balance having a good family life, staying involved in the church and still be at the top of the game. I know that's something that Jeremy respects."
That sense of balance very much defines Guthrie's outlook on life.
"Everything I do, I enjoy," he said. "When I'm at the baseball field, I enjoy that. When I'm riding my bike, I enjoy that. When I'm with my family, I enjoy that."
As noted in the following article, Guthrie faced a sort of impromptu family reunion in the stands:
Here is some commentary from an online columnist:
The Sox have legitimate Rookie of the Year candidates in Dustin Pedroia, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, but the Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie might be the front-runner for the AL award at this point. The 28-year-old, who quit baseball for two years to go on a Mormon mission to Spain, handcuffed the Red Sox on Mother’s Day before manager Sam Perlozzo inexplicably took him out with one out in the ninth, setting the stage for Boston’s most dramatic win of the season. Perlozzo has since been fired while Guthrie continues to prove that that Sunday in Fenway wasn’t a fluke.
However, to put things into perspective, his season thus far has been seemingly surreal. So, to have one bad outing once in a while shouldn't come as too much of a surprise for a rookie pitcher in the majors. This Washington Post article gives some great commentary:
By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
July 6, 2007
Something happened in Spain. Jeremy Guthrie doesn't want to say it was divine intervention, because the Lord has plenty better to do than gild a man's right arm. Though since basic logic vets no other explanation, Guthrie, the Baltimore Orioles' rookie revelation, simply views it as another reason to believe.
During his two-year Mormon mission across the northern part of the country, Guthrie woke up every morning at 7 a.m. to teach English, pick up garbage on the streets and, most important, spread his religion. And on the rare occasion that baseball invaded his thoughts, Guthrie reminded himself that he didn't bring his glove for a reason: To him, pitching never equaled living.
So imagine the surprise when he picked up a baseball in July 2000 and tossed it with his father. Guthrie felt different. And when he walked on at Stanford, having run and lifted weights for only a month. His fastball popped like fireworks, and he located it with the precision of a scope, and, well, this wasn't just different.
It was special.
"Things I never did prior to the mission I was able to do afterward, even though it wasn't by my doing," Guthrie said. "It wasn't something I expected or asked for. I didn't want to be a missionary for two years so I could be a better baseball player. In high school, I worked 10 hours a day and lifted weights, and I wasn't able to come close to achieving what I could when I got back."
Finally, seven years later, baseball is beginning to see in Guthrie, 28, what he saw in himself. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians, then buried in their farm system, Guthrie landed in Baltimore this offseason on a $20,000 waiver claim. Injuries forced him into the Orioles' rotation at the beginning of May, where he has responded with a rash of brilliant performances that placed him second in the American League with a 2.63 earned-run average, first in baseball with 8.25 baserunners per nine innings and in a dead heat with Cincinnati's Josh Hamilton for most improbable star of the year.
"He's one of the great stories of Major League Baseball for this season," Orioles interim manager Dave Trembley said. "It's more than just rooting for the guy. Jeremy Guthrie epitomizes what you think a major leaguer is supposed to be."
Trembley first met Guthrie at 8 a.m. outside a hotel in Bowie, Md. The day after Guthrie started for Double-A Akron, Trembley, then managing the Orioles' Double-A team, saw him running a few miles and struck up a conversation with him afterward.
Through the years, they crossed paths. Guthrie pitching for Trembley in an All-Star game and against him at Triple-A. Trembley filing yearly reports on Guthrie and pitching him to Orioles brass. When the Indians cut Guthrie to alleviate a logjam on their 40-man roster – one that isn't so jammed anymore, with Jason Davis traded and Roberto Hernandez released – Trembley, along with Orioles scout Dave Hollins, were effusive in their recommendations to the front office.
"He can pitch," Trembley said. "He's going to pitch for a long time. And he's going to be good for a long time."
Which is to say Guthrie has come a long way from the kid who barely pitched until his senior year in high school. To compound his anonymity, Guthrie went to school in Ashland, Ore., not exactly on the TripTik of most scouts. Undrafted, he spent his freshman year at Brigham Young, where he started off well before spiraling toward a 6.54 ERA by the end of the season.
Surrounded by Carlos Quentin, Ryan Garko and others at Stanford helped kindle Guthrie's passion for baseball. On his first day at school, a group of teammates took him to an Oakland Athletics game, where he met Barry Zito. He put up superb numbers too, winning 13 games in back-to-back seasons, garnering All-America honors and wowing the scouts that missed him the first time with a 96-mph fastball, late-breaking slider and morale-crushing curveball.
The Indians invested $4 million in Guthrie, which made it even more curious when they let him go. Guthrie celebrated. He felt freed from expectations. Guthrie talked with Orioles assistant general manager Scott Proefrock about the possibility of making the big-league club. He called Paul Byrd, his teammate in Cleveland, and asked what it was like to work with Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone.
Excitement overwhelmed him, and Guthrie made the Orioles as a long reliever out of spring training. His first start against Tampa Bay earned Guthrie a second, and his second defined him as well as the Orioles' season.
Before that game, against Boston, Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar pulled Guthrie aside. Guthrie, Millar said, reminded him a lot of Curt Schilling, another late bloomer. As good as their secondary pitches are, both work best when their fastballs can set up their other offerings.
Guthrie completely stymied the Red Sox for eight innings. With a 5-0 lead, he recorded one out in the ninth inning before an error by Ramon Hernandez allowed Coco Crisp to reach first. Though at just 91 pitches, Guthrie got the hook from manager Sam Perlozzo. The Orioles' bullpen imploded, and closer Chris Ray's error forced in the final two runs of a brutal 6-5 loss.
Were any comfort to come from that day, it was the inkling that maybe this wasn't some fluke. Maybe, off the waiver wire, the Orioles had found a keeper.
"Something really clicked," Bako said, "because he went from being OK and pretty good to lights out. He's a guy absolutely no one wants to face."
Slowly, Guthrie has ingratiated himself into the Orioles' clubhouse. He's polite to a fault, his voice soft enough that it might not pierce paper walls. He's still waiting to find a willing chess opponent after vanquishing the entire Indians clubhouse. When Millar plays goof, Guthrie plays along.
"Who," Millar said, holding a television reporter's microphone, "was the famous Bostonian that rode through the streets of Boston and screamed and yelled, 'The redcoats are coming!' "
"My guess would be Paul Revere," Guthrie said, "but is it Jason Varitek?"
He's the Stanford guy, so of course he's going to get those questions. On occasion, Guthrie will get others, more important ones. A few days ago, Bako was curious about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Guthrie is careful to talk about it. The baseball clubhouse isn't Santiago or San Sebastian or Burgos. He said there's a fine line between educating and proselytizing.
Yet his faith, Guthrie said, landed him here. And what better way to honor it than spreading his story by convincing more and more people that he's not just here, but here to stay.
"It's like that feeling I had after the mission," Guthrie said. "It's not just me doing it. Last year and the year before, I was really the same guy. Now, for whatever reason, it's going well.
"And I hope to do with that what I'm supposed to."
Jeff Passan is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports.
Cleveland castoff Jeremy Guthrie shines for Orioles
By David Ginsburg, AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE — It's an hour before game time, and Baltimore Orioles rookie Jeremy Guthrie is standing on the first-base line doling out autographs.
A teenager thrusts forward a baseball card that trumpets Guthrie as a 2004 prospect with Cleveland. The pitcher politely informs the youth that he does not sign items depicting him in an Indians uniform, and instead inks the boy's shirt with the words: "Go O's. Jeremy Guthrie 46."
It's not that Guthrie hates the Indians, who gave him a $3 million signing bonus after making him the 22nd overall pick in the 2002 amateur draft. It's just that the right-hander feels the Tribe never gave him a chance to show his stuff.
In four years with Cleveland, Guthrie received one major league start and compiled a 6.08 ERA over 16 appearances. Rather than offer him a new contract, the Indians cleared a roster spot by designating him for assignment in January.
The Orioles claimed the 28-year-old pitcher on waivers in what turned out to be the team's best move during a busy offseason.
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After an impressive spring training, Guthrie earned a spot in the Baltimore bullpen. Before the end of April, he replaced the injured Jaret Wright in the starting rotation, and now he's the most consistent pitcher on the staff.
Guthrie is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA overall, but in his last 10 starts he's 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA. With a bit more hitting support, he could have 10 victories and be in contention for the AL rookie of the year award.
"Phenomenal, phenomenal," Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said. "This guy's turning into one of the most dominating pitchers in the big leagues. Great work ethic, great person. It's an honor to have him on our team."
The pleasure is all Guthrie's, who never got the opportunity to make that kind of impression while with Cleveland.
"The tough thing is, I started 99 percent of the time in my entire baseball career, yet I started only one time with the Indians," he said. "How can you really expect to see what kind of pitcher you can be if you're not performing in the role you are accustomed to and built for?"
Guthrie is convinced the Indians gave up on him after he struggled as a reliever and allowed four runs in 4 2-3 innings in his lone start, against Kansas City last August.
"I think a lot of it is I almost felt as if there was doubt every time I pitched in Cleveland," he said. "I never really felt like there was anything I could do to erase those doubts. ... A lot of times I was uncomfortable and nervous because of what I perceived as their expectations and their thoughts about me."
With Baltimore, there were no preconceived notions. There were no guarantees, either. But it didn't take long for him to convince the Orioles he had the stuff to pitch in the big leagues.
"First, he had to make the team," veteran right-hander Steve Trachsel said. "Now, it's at the point he's very likely establishing himself as a starter on this team for the future."
Guthrie doesn't have a glowing won-loss record, and he doesn't care. He's just thankful that, for the first time, he's getting the ball every fifth day for a major league club.
"I realize that I'm a rookie and I'm grateful for every time I can go out and limit a team to one or two runs. I don't take that for granted, especially at this level," he said. "I'm very happy to pitch well. That's where my No. 1 focus is. If the wins come, that's the cherry on top."
Guthrie has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his last 10 starts, but more often than not, he's been betrayed by the offense or the Baltimore bullpen. His run of misfortune has not escaped the notice of his teammates.
"This guy has given us a chance to win every start. I feel terrible for him," Millar said.
"He's basically been our ace. When he's out there on the mound, he's all business," outfielder Jay Payton said. "He has great control, he has great stuff. His location is what's been so phenomenal. He's been hitting his spots, he's taken the challenge, he's stepped up."
Guthrie took off 1999-2000 for a Mormon mission to Spain after his freshman year at Brigham Young, then returned to play for Stanford before the Indians took him in the draft. Along the way, he learned that there's more to pitching than throwing 98 mph.
"I wish I had half the stuff he's got. Plus, he's really smart, so he has a really good game plan," Trachsel said. "To see him changing speeds on his fastball, switching back and forth, two seams, four seams, it's really something."
Against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, Guthrie allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings. Although he didn't get the victory, he did leave a lasting impression.
"Good stuff. He can match you hard. He didn't waste any time and threw a lot of strikes," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We fought him, but he was very impressive. No question."
Perhaps the Indians were too quick to give up on their prized pitching prospect.
"When you look at how it went down, you can't get frustrated," Guthrie said. "You can only look at the situation and see that it didn't really present an opportunity for me. So I was excited to move on."
Guthrie now has the second lowest ERA in the American League (2.45), and is seriously being considered as a selection to the All-Star team. Quite a feat for a rookie...
Here's the details on the game and the All-Star speculation:
Here's a recap of the game:
Ace in the hole — Ex-BYU pitcher Guthrie flying high for the Orioles
By Jeff Call
Deseret Morning News
Based on his one-year pitching stint at BYU, Jeremy Guthrie wasn't sure what would become of his baseball career.
Mark Avery, Associated PressFormer BYU and current Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels earlier this month. After an up-and-down freshman season in Provo in 1998, Guthrie departed for an LDS mission to Spain. Few returned missionaries wind up in the major leagues, so the odds were stacked against him.
But look at Guthrie now.
Nearly 10 years after wearing a Cougar uniform, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-hander is part of the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation and has been a bright spot on a club that desperately needed a solid arm.
Guthrie, who replaced injured starter Jaret Wright in the rotation on May 8, owns a glossy 3-1 record and a 2.70 earned run average. In his most recent start last Saturday, he recorded a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies after surrendering only two runs in eight innings in a 3-2 setback.
Not bad for a guy whose ERA entering the 2007 season, hovered over six.
No wonder, when asked about his current situation, Guthrie told the Deseret Morning News recently, "I didn't expect my career to turn out like it has."
After being released last winter by the Cleveland Indians, the team that made him a first-round draft pick in 2002, Guthrie was acquired by the Orioles as a waiver claim. Guthrie played well during spring training, then struggled in relief earlier this season. But since becoming a starter, he has made the most of his opportunities.
In a victory over the Washington Nationals on May 19, for instance, he racked up 10 strikeouts. A week ago, Guthrie held one of the best teams in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels, to only one hit through the first seven innings but came away with a no-decision when Vladimir Guerrero crushed a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Chris Ray.
Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo likes what he's seen from Guthrie, who has a fastball clocked in the mid-90s and an ability to sprinkle in off-speed stuff. Perlozzo is optimistic about Guthrie's prospects as a starter over the long term.
Mark Avery, Associated PressReleased by the Indians over the winter, Guthrie has posted a 3-1 record since joining the Orioles' starting rotation on May 8. "He's a little bit of an unknown still," Perlozzo told MLB.com, "but every time he goes out and does well, it's something for us to see. We'll just cross our fingers that what we're seeing is the real deal."
So far, Guthrie is happy about the way things are turning out in Baltimore.
"There are a lot of young pitchers here. It's great to be a part of that," Guthrie said. "It's a good place to be and a fun team to be on."
In Baltimore, he's under the tutelage of renowned pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who was credited with developing pitchers like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine when he was with the Atlanta Braves.
"It's a great chance to learn from Leo Mazzone. He's built a lot of confidence in me and you look at who he's worked with during his career," Guthrie said. "It's a perfect situation for me."
Before landing in this perfect situation, though, Guthrie has experienced some rough times since graduating from high school in Ashland, Ore., and arriving in Provo.
Guthrie said his freshman year at BYU was difficult. He finished with a mediocre 5-4 record and an ERA of 6.54. In 64.2 innings, he gave up 15 home runs, walked 42 and struck out 52 for the Cougars, who finished with a 29-24 mark in 1998.
"I was burned out in baseball by the time I got to BYU. I had been playing a lot of baseball year-round," he said. "I started well at BYU, but I struggled those last two months. It was frustrating because I didn't pitch very well. But my overall experience at BYU was great."
Guthrie's best memory of BYU? Meeting his wife, Jenny. They married after his mission, and the couple has two children, a daughter, Avery, 3, and a son, Hudson, 7 months. In the off-season, the Guthries live in Pleasant Grove, where they own a home.
Bob Noel, who was the Cougars' pitching coach in 1998, saw potential in Guthrie. "He had the tools and the mental makeup (to be a big league pitcher)," Noel recalled. "He had a great arm, he was a hard worker and he was a perfectionist. He did an outstanding job for us. Jeremy's a great young man, and I'm proud of what he's done. It's good to see him having success."
During his mission, Guthrie's high school coach and his dad looked into the possibility of him transferring to Stanford. Guthrie filled out an application. After returning from his mission, it wasn't until a week before classes started that Guthrie decided to enroll at Stanford as a walk-on.
"My reasons for transferring were 90 percent for education, 10 percent baseball. At that point, I was looking at my education. Baseball allowed me to get into the school. I probably wouldn't have gotten into Stanford as a general student."
Of course, Noel would have liked to see Guthrie return to BYU. "I wasn't surprised as much as I was disappointed," he said. "It's not often that BYU gets a quality pitcher like him. He was an unknown quantity when he came to BYU. After his freshman year, everybody knew about him."
At Stanford, Guthrie became one of the nation's top collegiate pitchers and was selected in the third round of the 2001 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Given what the Pirates were offering him, he opted to remain at Stanford. The following year, he was selected in the first round, No. 22 overall, by the Indians.
Like most players, Guthrie found the road bumpy in the minor leagues, as coaches tinkered with his delivery. "The changes made slowed me down in the long run," he said. "It threw my rhythm off, and it took me a year to get it back."
Guthrie made his major league debut in 2004 and enjoyed a couple of stints at that level. In 2006, he recorded a 9-5 record at Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 3.14 earned run average, good for sixth-best in the International League. He was called up by the Indians and pitched mostly out of the bullpen. Following the season, he played winter ball in the Dominican Republic and pitched well.
However, with no room on its roster for starting pitchers, Cleveland decided to release Guthrie over the winter. "My release was based on circumstance, not performance," he says. "Cleveland was going to have all five starters back. It was unlikely that I'd make the team. I anticipated being released. I was excited when it happened after the way I pitched in winter ball."
The Orioles picked up Guthrie, and it's worked out well for both parties. Earlier this season, Guthrie told MLB.com: "You love to see hard work translate into some success on the field. I just feel really blessed the way things are going. When you've been through enough struggles, you realize that on your own, you can't do everything. So it's real nice to know there's some help from above in all the things that are going on right now."
Guthrie is not necessarily surprised by the way he's throwing. "The way I'm pitching this year is like I pitched last year for the most part," he said.
"It's just that the numbers didn't show it."
Guthrie said serving a mission has had a "tremendous" effect on his career. "My beliefs are deeper and stronger than they were before my mission. There are situations that aren't conducive to the spirit, so it's good to have that foundation," he said.
He added that he is frequently asked questions about his religion and his beliefs, especially by other players. "It's fun to share my testimony and belief with others who are interested," he said.
To this point, one of Guthrie's greatest thrills in the big leagues has been pitching the last two innings of a 22-0 rout of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in 2004. It marked the Yanks' most lopsided loss in their storied, 102-year history.
Another thrill came last month, when he pitched at Fenway Park on Mother's Day. Guthrie tossed 8 1/3 innings and didn't give up an earned run against the Red Sox but was saddled with another no-decision.
"Those were my two most exciting, memorable moments," Guthrie said. "Those were experiences you can't describe."
While he can, the former Cougar is looking to make more memorable moments with the Orioles.
Read more on the game here:
By Josh Land
Carroll County Times
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Jeremy Guthrie seems at peace.
Five years after being drafted by a third big-league team Guthrie is finally in the majors full time, replicating the success that made him Cleveland’s first rounder in 2002.
Guthrie moved into the Orioles’ rotation at the beginning of May when it became clear that Jaret Wright’s sore shoulder wouldn’t be easily fixed by 15 days on the disabled list.
Since then, Guthrie has been far more than an adequate replacement. The 28-year-old right-hander leads the American League with a 1.59 ERA this month, allowing five runs in 28 1-3 innings over four starts.
“He certainly has been pretty darn good,” said Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo. “His stuff’s good enough. He attacks the strike zone. You’ve got to like that.”
Guthrie can explain the things that have made him successful.
He’s confident and aggressive, throwing over the plate rather than nibbling the edges. His velocity is in the mid-to-upper 90s. He’s keeping the ball low.
While that’s part of why he’s doing well, Guthrie believes there are other factors beyond his control.
Guthrie went on a two-year Mormon mission to Spain at age 19 when he didn’t do as much as pick up a baseball — let alone throw one.
When he came back, Guthrie says he began throwing better than ever before.
“I was 10 times the pitcher I was when I came home within a month than I ever was 19 years in the making,” Guthrie said.
“So there’s no doubt in my mind that those two years — just because of the dedication and the sacrifice I made in leaving something I enjoyed for something that I wanted to do, in order to focus on other people and not myself any longer — obviously it’s blessed me and since I came back, I’ve pitched well.”
Guthrie grew up in Oregon, where he was a three-sport star and his senior class valedictorian.
The New York Mets liked Guthrie enough to select him in the 15th round of the 1997 first-year player draft directly out of high school. The opportunity to immediately play professional baseball was tempting.
The Mets were offering a large sum of money, but Guthrie had planned to do the mission for his Mormon church since he was much younger.
Guthrie talked with the Mets and asked if they’d be willing to sign him, let him serve his two years abroad and come back to pitch when he was done.
The Mets didn’t like that option.
“So I said, ‘Well, I’ll go to college, do my mission and then see what baseball brings in the future,’” said Guthrie.
Guthrie attended Brigham Young University in Utah the next fall and played baseball for the Cougars his freshman year.
Guthrie struggled, allowing a team-worst 15 homers in a team-high 64 2-3 innings while pitching to a 6.54 ERA that season.
After completing his first year of college, Guthrie left for Spain.
The Mormon Church encourages young men to begin serving as missionaries between the ages of 19 and 21.
Missionaries, as explained on the official Web site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, work voluntarily on behalf of the Church for either 18 months or two years, sharing the religion’s message. They are not paid to do so and are expected to cover their own living expenses wherever they serve.
Guthrie said his mission involved long hours of proselytizing with a few hours of community service sprinkled in each week.
“So it was 10 in the morning to 10 at night every single day,” said Guthrie. “You’re not expected to think about anything other than the message you’re sharing and find the people that are interested and willing to listen.”
That meant no baseball.
“It was a difficult decision,” said Guthrie. “But in reality, I knew what I wanted to do and believed with all of my heart that if baseball was something I was to do, it would be there when I got home. If it wasn’t, I was willing to accept that all the way.”
For Guthrie’s sake, and later the Orioles’, baseball was there when he got back.
Guthrie lost 20 pounds while away and had no idea what would happen when he returned.
Before the hiatus, Guthrie said he threw in the 89 to 92 mph range his only year at BYU.
Something strange happened when he got back.
Guthrie said two months into his training, his velocity had jumped to the 92-96 mph range for no practical reason.
“God blesses me in ways that I can’t really express full gratitude for,” Guthrie said. “For whatever reason, I feel like he’s really chosen me to bless me with this talent more so now than before.
“That’s really the only explanation I have because I came home and I threw harder than I did before, threw better, had better pitches all of a sudden, and I didn’t work on it. I didn’t do anything to do it, so it can’t be me and it couldn’t have been anything that I did to increase my ability.”
Stanford then took a chance on Guthrie without knowing much about him and wouldn’t regret it.
Guthrie had one of the best two-year runs in Cardinal history from 2001-02, earning All-America honors both years and, at the time, was the only pitcher to ever win 13-plus games in multiple seasons.
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Guthrie in the third round after his sophomore year, but nothing became of it because of Pittsburgh’s organizational turnover. Guthrie said the Pirates offered him a contract the day before school started, but he chose to return to Stanford.
Guthrie finally turned pro after his junior season when Cleveland took him 22nd overall in the 2002 draft. The Indians gave him a $3 million signing bonus and expected him to rise fast.
But Guthrie never had prolonged success above Double-A while in the Indians’ system until 2006. Guthrie made it all the way to Cleveland in each of his last three years with the organization, but posted a 6.08 ERA in 16 major league appearances. He went 40-36 with a 4.40 ERA in 101 minor league games.
With Guthrie out of options and the Indians unsure whether he was ready for the majors, they put him on waivers when they needed room on the 40-man roster for newly signed outfielder Trot Nixon.
And the Orioles feel fortunate to have snapped him up.
Perlozzo and vice president Jim Duquette said the Orioles did everything they could to make Guthrie feel comfortable after pitching-rich Cleveland didn’t.
“He even said it was like he was being auditioned,” said Duquette. “There are enough guys out there that if you show some confidence in them — ‘We’ve got faith in you and you’re on the club’ — guys settle into a routine and I think that’s what’s happened so far for him.”
Guthrie made the team as a long reliever out of spring training, but has been far more impressive in the rotation. He’s efficient with his piches and keeps at-bats short with good location of his fastball.
In helping the Orioles make up for the loss of two starters on the season-opening roster, Guthrie believes he’s being rewarded for putting his religion well ahead of baseball on his list of priorities.
Guthrie felt the same way when pitching so dominantly at Stanford.
“As it was happening, it was almost like it wasn’t me doing it,” he said. “It was almost at the point where I didn’t realize what I was doing to be successful, but was just enjoying the game and having fun.
“I feel like I’m back to that more now. Maybe in theory I’m doing the same things, but it’s more the attitude and the gratitude that has helped me to grow.”
And the Orioles hope that growth and that success continues.
Here are some clips of Guthrie pitching:
By DAVID DRIVER
for the Mail Tribune
May 24, 2007
WASHINGTON — Jeremy Guthrie can ride his bike from his home in the Inner Harbor to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. And his wife and two young children can walk to the popular Aquarium in downtown Baltimore.
But perhaps the best news of all is that Guthrie, a graduate of Ashland High School, is getting a chance to perform on a regular basis for the first time at the major league level after four years in the Cleveland organization.
"It was a good time (to leave). It was tough in terms of leaving friends. But baseball-wise, it was a great move," said Guthrie, who was claimed off waivers in January.
"It was a nice transition. There are a lot of good guys here," added Guthrie, 28, as he stood in the Oriole clubhouse this past weekend during a series at Washington. "From the first moment I got here, everything was really open. I felt like I was in the same spot (as Cleveland) relatively quickly coming over to a new team."
Jim Duquette, vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles, said that Guthrie needed a change of scenery after being a top prospect with Indians and dealing with the resultant pressure.
"He is one of those guys that needed a clean slate. We took a lot of that pressure off of him. He has always had good stuff," Duquette said.
Guthrie is a 6-foot-1 right-hander whose fastball has been clocked at 96 miles per hour. He was 2-1, with a 2.95 ERA in 10 games (four starts), after another quality start here Saturday. Against the Nationals, he went seven innings and allowed just one run with 10 strikeouts in a game won by the Orioles, 3-2, in 11 innings.
"I didn't have as good of command as I had the previous start," Guthrie said Sunday. "We made some pitches when we needed to and it turned out really well. That is what I anticipated, a great opportunity, just being able to pitch. It was obviously what I hoped for, and hopefully I can continue to pitch well and continue to earn that opportunity and go out there every five days."
Guthrie's performance has already earned him at least one important endorsement.
"The best thing going for Jeremy is he knows he is not auditioning now (for a big league job). He is in the rotation," said Baltimore pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who handled several Cy Young winners during a long tenure in Atlanta. "He has an exceptional fastball. He has done extremely well so far."
His next start is today at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Guthrie threw the best game of his major league career on May 13 in Boston, taking a 5-0 shutout into the bottom of the ninth inning. But the Oriole bullpen blew the game as the Red Sox came back to win.
"Looking back, you wish the game would have gone differently. It didn't work out that way," Guthrie said. "You move on and try to build off all of the positives because there were so many in that game."
Guthrie retired 15 straight batters at one point Saturday against the Nationals. He has an ERA of 1.03 as a starter for the Orioles. Guthrie has enjoyed working with Mazzone, in his second season in Baltimore after leaving the Braves.
"It has been great," Guthrie said. "It gives you a lot of confidence because of that track record (with Atlanta). He has helped me work on the fastball, command that and start there and worry about the other pitches after that. So it has been real nice."
Guthrie was used out of the bullpen early in the year by the Orioles, but for now he seems solid as a starter.
"Starting allows you to have a more consistent routine. Obviously, you know when you are going to pitch," he said. "Relieving is a little more up in the air. The challenge is staying fresh and staying sharp."
Guthrie began his college career at BYU, then served a two-year Mormon mission in Spain. He then enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 2000 and was a two-time college All-American.
He was drafted in the first round as the 22nd overall pick by Cleveland in 2002, and began his career with Class AA Akron of the Eastern League in 2003. Guthrie made his major league debut in 2004 with the Indians, and he went back and forth between the minors every season from 2004 to 2006.
Ross Atkins, the director of player development for the Indians, said: "He showed a lot of progress. We still wish we had him. He is a smart pitcher. He is a student of his own game. He is extremely durable. He is very athletic."
The Orioles have not had a winning record in 10 years, and they have struggled the first quarter of this season. Two players exchanged words after a loss in Toronto last week, and another player and a coach had a misunderstanding in another game, according to published reports.
That hasn't been a distraction to Guthrie, however.
"Everyone is real professional. Everyone stays upbeat, tries to, and works on what they need to work on and help the team get better," he said.
The status of Oriole manager Perlozzo has also been speculated upon in Baltimore papers. But Guthrie tries to ignore those reports.
"As a player, you never really hear it, unless you read the papers," he said. "It doesn't concern the players too much, especially someone like me who is a rookie and is happy to be here. It doesn't effect anything I do. Each player is probably a little bit different. The goal is to work and get better, and hopefully you getting better helps the team win games."
After Jeremy's strong start in Wright's place a couple weeks ago, he is building credibility for a spot in the rotation. Here is a clip from an MLB.com interview with Orioles' pitching coach Leo Mazzone:
MLB.com: Where do you see Jeremy Guthrie, long-term? Is he a late reliever?
Mazzone: I think he's a starter, down the road. He's got an above-average fastball, and the breaking ball and offspeed stuff are good enough. The key in his spot start was his location and the command of his fastball. He was really popping it.
Guthrie makes big pitch to O's
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - If Jeremy Guthrie intended to sneak under the radar to claim a spot in the Baltimore Orioles bullpen, the right-hander's stellar spring performance has changed his plan of attack.
"He might be a guy we're seriously considering whether we can carry him on the ballclub and how we can fit him in there to give us a multiple-inning guy," manager Sam Perlozzo said of Guthrie. "He's got a nice arm and it looks to me like he can pitch in the big leagues."
The Indians thought so, too, bestowing a then-franchise record $3 million signing bonus after drafting Guthrie with the 22nd overall pick in 2002. But after Guthrie went 0-0 with a 6.08 ERA in 16 games during five trials over three seasons, Cleveland designated him for assignment to clear a roster spot.
Baltimore claimed Guthrie off waivers Jan. 29, added him to the roster and invited him to spring training. Because he is out of minor league options, Guthrie must make the Orioles or again be exposed to waivers.
"To be designated when I was, that was a positive for me," said Guthrie, 27, who was 9-5 with a 3.14 ERA last year with Triple-A Buffalo. "It was before camp started, so it gave me a much better chance to be claimed, to have an opportunity."
Guthrie, who took off 1999-2000 for a Mormon mission to Spain after his freshman year at Brigham Young, has made the most of his chance. In five games, Guthrie has worked 10 innings to a 1.80 ERA, allowing two runs - one earned - on four hits, walking two and striking out nine.
Though the Orioles bulked up their bullpen with the offseason acquisitions of free agent relievers Jamie Walker, Danys Baez, Chad Bradford and Scott Williamson, none of them are long relievers. While Guthrie would prefer to start, he's been impressive enough to warrant consideration for a long relief role.
"It's good to be able to go in and make a good impression and play up to the ability you know you have," said Guthrie, who transferred to Stanford in 2000. "It's an opportunity. ... It's always nice to be somewhere where you have a chance."
Despite focusing on relief rather than starting, Guthrie hasn't changed his approach to pitching.
"I'm doing the same thing I've done the last two years - try to attack the hitters early, throw fastballs, try to get them to hit the ball," said Guthrie. "I think I get in trouble when I try to hit too many spots early and get behind guys."
Bullpen coach Dave Trembley saw plenty of Guthrie while managing Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate in Ottawa for the past two seasons. Trembley thinks the Orioles made a wise choice to offer the right-hander a second chance.
"He's quiet but intense at the same time. He's reserved but very committed. I think he lets his performances on the field do that talking," Trembley said. "The guy is a workaholic. He doesn't say a lot, but coming in here to a new club, I think he's taking the right approach."