Ripken Stadium was swarming with Orioles today as Hayden Penn, Chris Gomez and Tim Byrdak all began their roads to recovery on the same exact day.
Penn threw a simulated game today before the IronBirds took batting practice, with Orioles roving pitching instructor Doc Watson looking on. I wasn't able to catch all of it because I was working, but I estimate that he threw about 25-35 pitches. The radar gun wasn't on at the time, but all-in-all he looked pretty decent. He is expected to start for the IronBirds in their July 9th game at Mahoning Valley, and won't be put on Aberdeen's roster until then.
Gomez played for the IronBirds in tonight's game against the Staten Island Yankees. He went 1 for 3 with an RBI single to center, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to two bases on the throw to home plate. He struck out in his first at-bat and was taken out of the game after popping out in the bottom of the fifth.
Byrdak was also at Ripken Stadium today. I was told that he will pitch a few bullpen sessions and simulated games before he joins the Aberdeen roster.
Orioles supplemental round pick Pedro Beato made his professional debut with the IronBirds on Sunday night. He threw a flawless ninth inning, striking out two. The radar gun was not working right, because his fastball only registered 89 mph. It is definitely faster than that (mlb.com says he can hit 94) and his breaking ball has some sick movement to it. He will be moved into the IronBirds starting rotation in about a week.
Other IronBirds notes... The IronBirds are currently 9-4 and are atop the McNamara Division of the NY Penn League. The 9-4 start is the best one in franchise history. The team has the best pitching in the league so far with a team ERA of 2.06, which is .63 lower than the second team...
First baseman Chris Vinyard is hitting .432/.500/.727 with two home runs and 16 RBIs. His slugging percentage is second in the league; the only player ahead of him is highly-touted D-Rays draftee Evan Longoria (.879) who has already been promoted to High-A. He seems like a great sleeper prospect (the O's drafted him in the 38th round of last year's draft!) and is already drawing early comparisons to Nolan Reimold based on his hitting. Plus he looks like an above-average fielding first baseman.
O's sixth-round draft pick Jason Berken, a pitcher out of Clemson (9-3 in 16 starts at CU, 3.22 era, 75/34 K/BB), will soon join the team...
Former Miami Hurricane outfielder Danny Figueroa (.182/.265/.205) is now a former Aberdeen IronBirds outfielder after being promoted to Delmarva... Go' Canes