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Baltimore's Guthrie casts aside trade rumors

As deadline nears, contenders keep tabs on former Ashland High star

July 24, 2010

By David Driver
For the Mail Tribune
Used with permission

BALTIMORE Major league teams in contention for the postseason are paying a lot of attention to former Ashland High standout and Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie these days.

The 31-year-old veteran and durable right-hander has had his name mentioned as a possible trade chip.

Scouts were on hand Friday night when he faced the visiting Minnesota Twins and this past weekend when he had a strong game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

"It does not change anything, obviously," Guthrie said Thursday. "There are scouts at every single game. It is not much different."

He pitched Friday against Minnesota, giving him 109 starts since being acquired from Cleveland in 2007, by far the most of any Baltimore pitcher in that time.

The Orioles beat the Twins, 3-2. Guthrie, who owned a shutout through five innings, allowed six hits and two runs in seven innings to improve to 4-10. He struck out six and did not allow a walk.

With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, would Guthrie be sad to leave Baltimore?

"I can't even comment on speculation," said Guthrie.

In 20 starts and 125 innings, Guthrie has allowed 125 hits (17 homers) with 35 walks and 69 strikeouts for the Orioles, who have the worst record in the major leagues.

Last season, he was 10-17 with a 5.04 ERA and led the American League in losses and homers allowed, with 35.

In his start last weekend against Toronto, Guthrie pitched very well, lasting 62/3 innings at home Saturday. He gave up seven hits and one earned run, struck out six and walked one. He wasn't involved in the decision.

"I felt very good since my last game. I had a nice game," he said Thursday. "The ball was coming out of my hand well. I will use that as preparation and try to repeat it."

Guthrie was originally slated to start Thursday against Minnesota but he was pushed back one day after veteran Kevin Millwood came off the disabled list to make the start.

This has been a rough season for the Orioles, who had high hopes with young pitchers such as Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen. Matusz, considered one of the top prospects in the game before the season, is 3-10 with an ERA of 5.21. He's set to start today against the Twins.

Tillman is 1-4 with an ERA of 7.92 and was sent back to Triple A Norfolk of the International League earlier this week. Bergesen is 3-8 with an ERA of 6.51 after his start here on Wednesday against Tampa Bay.

What advice does Guthrie give the young pitchers?

"Stay positive," he said. "That is the thing that helps the most, to stay positive. They are trying to get better in between starts. The worst thing you can do is be surrounded by negatives, whether it comes from the coaches or the media. The thing that is the most helpful is a pat on the back."

Dave Trembley, who began this season as the O's manager, was fired June 4. He was replaced by interim manager Juan Samuel, a former big leaguer.

"He does a very good job," Guthrie said. "He manages the game very well. He has a great understanding of what a player goes through. He is very helpful to us."