Dusty Baker is not that familiar with the Braves' roster

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One final note from that Braves-Reds game yesterday.  After the game, Dusty was being asked about his bullpen usage. Specifically, why he pulled Arthur Rhodes after he struck Jason Heyward out with the bases loaded rather than have him face the grand slam-hitting Brooks Conrad.  Dusty’s response:

“He wouldn’t have faced Conrad,” Baker said. “It would have been Clevlen.”

That’s Brent Clevlen, the Braves’ right-handed bench jockey.

To which I ask whether or not Baker is aware that Brooks Conrad is a switch hitter, thereby obviating the need for Cox to bring Clevlen into the game to face Rhodes. That is, if he even would have done so had Rhodes stayed in. Clevlen has had exactly one plate appearance so far this year, and that came after he was used as a pinch runner in a blowout. I’d be shocked if Bobby Cox would have gone with anyone other than Conrad in that situation, regardless of who was pitching.

Of course this is Monday morning quarterbacking, and in saying what he said I think Dusty was exhibiting more frustration about an obviously crushing game than he was exhibiting ignorance about Brooks Conrad’s handedness (which I didn’t even know until it was pointed out to me).

To be honest, if I were Dusty I probably just would have said “look, what are the friggin’ odds that Brooks friggin’ Conrad would hit a friggin’ grand slam off my friggin’ $45 million closer? Go ask Cordero why it happened. Go ask my defense why they gave the Braves so many damn chances today.  I’m gonna go get on the team plane and drink whiskey until they run out of it, OK? We done?”

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.