Camden Yards makes an appearance in the new season of “House of Cards”

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While catching up on the second season of Netflix original series “House of Cards” this past weekend, I saw a brief scene that takes place at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. I’m not giving away any major plot points for those who haven’t seen it, but Kevin Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, is on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Red Sox. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun has a good rundown today on how the scene came together:

“For us it seemed like an exciting opportunity to showcase a show that is set in Washington and filmed in Baltimore and wants to utilize Camden Yards for an appearance by a politician, or at least a fictitious politician,” Orioles vice president of communications and marketing Greg Bader said. “We thought it was a really fun opportunity for us to showcase the ballpark.”

But before the scene could be shot, it had to be approved by the Orioles, the stadium authority and Major League Baseball. There were several site meetings and scout shoots into July involving individuals from the show’s production staff and club personnel from ballpark operations and public relations.

Some of the footage is B-roll of pregame scenes from other games, but the actual scene with Spacey was filmed last July 29 during an off-day for the Orioles. After the team reached out to the players to see if any of them were willing to participate, both Jim Johnson (now with the Athletics) and Nate McLouth (now with the Nationals) volunteered.

Spacey threw out the first pitch before an actual game at Camden Yards last July 14 and it was apparently pretty impressive. As I mentioned on Twitter over the weekend, his throwing mechanics were a bit problematic in the episode, so I’d like to believe that he’s really just that skilled as an actor.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.