Townsend retires, Urrutia and projecting the Keys’ rotation

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Tyler Townsend, a Key in 2010, ’11 and ’12, retired yesterday.

A Key for the last three seasons, Tyler Townsend retired yesterday. A third-round pick by the Orioles in 2009, the left-handed hitting first baseman produced well when he was on the field, hitting .295 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs in his Keys career.

Injuries, however, plagued Townsend, 24, and his career lasted just four seasons. Townsend’s best season came in 2011, when he  played 67 games for Frederick, batting .317, slugging 24 doubles and 13 homers while driving in 50 RBIs. For his career, he hit .272 with 36 home runs, 64 doubles and 158 RBIs.

MASN’s Steve Melewski wrote a short story about Townsend retiring, which you can read here.

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Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia could start the 2013 season in Frederick.

*The plan when the Orioles signed Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia was to have him start the season in double-A Bowie and then quickly make his way to the majors. But visa issues delayed his arrival at spring training, which came on Feb. 28, and reports are that he may start his American baseball career at a lower level — Frederick or low-A Delmarva.

Urrutia, 26, defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in 2011, but hasn’t been able to play since 2010, when Cuba suspended him from baseball for attempting to defect. This Baltimore Sun article written by Dan Connolly gives some good background on Urrutia and how he ended up with the O’s.

O’s director of player development Brian Graham told Melewski that Urrutia could start with the Keys or the Shorebirds in this story.

*In another Melewski story, Graham said the O’s could employ six-man rotations with some of their minor league clubs. Given that possibility, let’s try and project the Keys 2013 rotation come opening night.

Potential Keys starters include Eduardo Rodriguez, Branden Kline, Tim Berry, Parker Bridwell, Zach Davies, Tyler Wilson, Miguel Chalas, Trent Howard and Devin Jones.

2012 Delmarva Shorebirds Rodriguez and Bridwell, though both young, seem fairly certain to move up to Frederick this season. Kline, a Frederick native, pitched briefly for short-season-A Aberdeen last season after being drafted out of Virginia and seems like a prime candidate to start the season in his hometown, though he could start the year as a Shorebird.

Berry, Wilson, Howard and Jones all pitched for Frederick last season and all could move up to Bowie. Davies is just 20 years old, but pitched in Delmarva all of last season, his first as a professional, and performed pretty well. Chalas has a little more professional baseball experience, but is also just 20 years old.

My guess for the Keys’ rotation on opening day, in no particular order:

  • Rodriguez
  • Kline
  • Berry
  • Bridwell
  • Howard
  • Davies

Who do you think will wind up in the rotation this season?

*KeysFest is Saturday at 11 a.m. Single-game tickets go on sale at the event at Harry Grove Stadium, which is free. The Tots2Tweens.com Egg Hunt will be held during the event and there will also be free food samples. More info here.

Shake your Keys.

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