Aubrey Huff

Huff top DH

Major League Baseball released the voting for the 2008 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award and -- drum roll please -- it went to Orioles DH Aubrey Huff.

Huff won in a close vote over likely Hall of Famer Jim Thome, breaking a string of six straight awards for Red Sox star David Ortiz.

This has been quite a different offseason for Huff (at right celebrating a home run) than last year, when his comments critical of Baltimore on a shock jock radio show had fans calling for his head. He said in the spring that he would have to win back the loyalty of the fans by performing on the field, and he did just that, batting .303 as a DH with 23 homers and 77 RBI. Overall, he batted .304 with 32 homers and 108 RBI.


Huff wins Silver Slugger Award

The Orioles' Aubrey Huff was awarded the Silver Slugger award Thursday as the top designated hitter in the American League. The award, voted on by coaches and managers, is given to the best offensive producer at each position in both leagues.

It's the first Silver Slugger award for Huff, who became the eighth different Oriole to garner the honor and the first since shortstop Miguel Tejada did it in 2005.

"It's a tremendous honor for me and something I've always wanted to win," said Huff, who led the A.L. with 82 extra-base hits to go along with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs. "Some guys try to win a Gold Glove, but as a DH, this is the ultimate honor for an offensive player."

Edgerrin James among University of Miami hall-of-famers

The University of Miami has announced its 2009 class of inductees to the UM Sports Hall of Fame.

The six former student-athletes range from a track-and-fielder to a golfer to baseball and football players. All were stars in their respective sports, though some are more well known than others.

UM football fans will immediately recognize running back Edgerrin James, who also will soon be introduced as a new member of UM's Ring of Honor. James played from 1996-98 and holds the school record of 299 yards in 39 carries against UCLA in 1998. He is second all-time in rushing yards (2,960) and rushing touchdowns (32).

James, whose cousin Javarris James currently plays for UM, was drafted fourth overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 1999 and now plays for the Arizona Cardinals.

The other soon-to-be inducted UM Sports Hall of Fame members:
• Warren Bogle, baseball, 1966-1967.
• Davian Clarke, track, 1995-1998.
• Aubrey Huff, baseball, 1997-1998.
• Cathy Morse, golf, 1974-1977.
• Mike Sullivan, football, 1987-1990.

The induction ceremony will be April 23 at Jungle Island in Miami.


Huff's Key To Success: Kick Back, Chill Out

As the Orioles head into the offseason with twice as many questions as they have answers, one problem they do not have for 2009 is cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff.

Huff was named winner of the Louis M. Hatter award as the Most Valuable Oriole on the final weekend of the season. It was well deserved as Huff finished the season hitting .304 with 32 home runs, 48 doubles and 108 RBIs. 

Not bad for a guy who was booed on Opening Day for some controversial comments he made about the city of Baltimore during the offseason. “Maybe it motivated him,” said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. “Maybe it was his way of trying to do things a little better. Maybe it was his way of trying to undo some of the things he wishes he could take back. That’s the way I look at it. He certainly didn’t let anything bother him.”

That’s because Huff set goals for himself before the start of the year, and those goals were no different this year from what they have been in the past.

“I go into spring training every year wanting to hit .300 and hit 30 homers and drive in 100, that’s usually a goal I shoot for,” Huff said. “You know, I was fortunate enough to get those numbers this year, and it makes it a little sweeter when you consider what I went through in the offseason with the fans and everything. Hopefully all is forgotten, and we can go into next year and try to do it all over again.”

Part of Huff’s success came in the early part of the season. A notoriously slow starter, he wasn’t hitting for average in April and May, but he was being productive in the middle of the lineup.

“The average wasn’t there early on, but the satisfaction was that late in the game I was getting big hits,” the 31-year-old veteran said. “I was driving in some runs and winning games. I don’t think I was over .240 or .250 before the first two months of the season, but there were good power numbers and RBIs, so that was definitely a confidence builder going into the rest of the year.”

Now Trembley doesn’t have to go into next season wondering who is going to provide power in the middle of the order.

“He has put up incredible offensive numbers,” Trembley said. “Total bases, I mean every category, runs scored. He has been a legitimate No. 4 hitter. That’s what he’s been.”

For the first time in years, Huff said he did very little in terms of heavy workouts in the offseason.

“Whether I started earlier than December, later than December, lifting harder, running harder, nothing ever worked,” he said. “Then this year I did absolutely nothing except for maybe stretching and cardio. I didn’t pick up a ball or a bat until spring training, and I guarantee that’s what I will do again.”

Huff credits his season to the success of guys at the top of the order, leadoff man Brian Roberts and right fielder Nick Markakis.

“If it wasn’t for those two getting on for me all year, I’m not driving in 100 runs,” Huff said. “I mean, these guys are the on-base guys. Nick has a .400 on-base percentage, they both play spectacular defense, [are] great hitters, and they are definitely the key to this team.”

“He was tremendous,” Roberts said. “That’s the kind of player and hitter we saw in Tampa for so long. … I think that the way he swung the bat this year was for a long time just fun to sit and watch. There was probably a handful of us in there watching his video and trying to figure out how we could hit like him.

"It’s fun to watch guys have years like that, and I think he’s capable of repeating it. It’s not like this is the first time he’s had that kind of year. If you look back on his numbers, he’s had years like this before, so we’ll expect nothing short of that next year.”

In fact, Roberts may just try the Aubrey Huff offseason conditioning program.

“Sit and eat donuts," Roberts said. "That’s what he did. I might try the donut plan this winter.”


Huff Named 2008 Most Valuable Oriole

Aubrey Huff, who leads the American League with 82 extra-base hits and set career-highs with 48 doubles and 96 runs scored, has been voted winner of the 2008 Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award by members of the local media who cover the team on a regular basis. 

Huff, who completes his ninth major league season and second with the Orioles Sunday, was the only player named on all 27 ballots. He enters today's season finale with a .306 average, 32 home runs and 108 RBI. It is the second time in his career he has hit more than 30 home runs and the third time he has topped the 100-RBI plateau. In addition to leading the league in extra-base hits, Huff enters today's game second in the AL in total bases (330), tied for third in doubles, fifth with a .555 slugging percentage, sixth in RBI, tied for eighth in home runs and 10th with 182 hits.

The 31-year-old earned American League Player of the Week honors twice this season, for the weeks ending July 6 and August 31. He put together hitting streaks of 14 (August 27 – September 14) and a career-high 19 games (July 22 – August 11) during the year and saw time at first base, third base and designated hitter in 153 games for the Orioles.

Huff is the first Oriole to hit at least 30 home runs since 2004. Of his 32 homers, 14 either tied the game (2) or put Baltimore ahead (12). He homered in consecutive games seven times this year and recorded five four-hit games in 2008.

Huff is the 36th different player to win the Most Valuable Oriole Award, which is named in honor of the late Lou Hatter, a former sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun who covered the Orioles for 27 years.  Balloting for the Most Valuable Oriole Award is conducted with voting on a 5-3-1 basis.

Huff will be honored in a ceremony prior to Sunday's 1:35 p.m. game.


Huff happy for old Rays teammates

Aubrey Huff remembers vividly when Tampa Bay was a last-place team. Now that the Rays are headed to the playoffs, he's delighted to see a few old friends enjoying success.

Huff spent five long seasons in Tampa Bay. He was traded to Houston late in the 2006 season, and signed with the Orioles as a free agent in January 2007. The Orioles are in last place, and his former team has clinched a spot in the postseason.

"I am happy for a few guys I played with," Huff said Tuesday. "If we're not going to be in there, I'd love to see them in there and go all the way."

Huff played 799 games with Tampa Bay -- second-most in club history. He is the career leader in home runs, RBIs, doubles and extra-base hits.
When Huff played in Tampa Bay, the Rays never won more than 70 games. The Rays began Tuesday's doubleheader against Baltimore in first place in the AL East with 93 wins.

"I knew they'd be good. I had no idea they'd be that good," Huff said.

Huff hoped that when he signed with the Orioles, they'd be able to contend. He still thinks that can happen, in part because the Rays did it.

"If they can, we can. They turned it around in two years," he said. "There's no reason this organization can't do it as well. (Tampa Bay) stockpiled a lot of young talent, and gave it time to develop."


Huff plates four as Orioles roll over Tribe

Aubrey Huff went 3-for-5 with a grand slam as the Orioles crushed the Indians 14-3 on Monday night.
The Orioles trailed 3-2 after five but broke out with a seven-run sixth inning that culminated with Huff's slam. He and Adam Jones both drove in four runs in the lopsided win. Huff is having an unbelievable season and is now hitting .316/.372/.581 with 31 bombs and 102 RBI, and has driven in 38 runs in his past 35 games.


Huff takes award

Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff was named the American League Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Last week, Huff hit .478 (11-for-23) with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBI.

During a three-game set against his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays, Huff went 6-for-12 with a home run, three doubles and four RBI.

The 31-year-old slugger is batting .311 with 30 home runs and 98 RBI this year.

Other nominees included Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, Adrian Beltre of the Seattle Mariners and Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals.


Huff Puffs on Track for Best Season Ever

Aubrey Huff has always said he is a notoriously slow starter, which has hindered his production the last three seasons. But this year, the Orioles' designated hitter is well on his way to matching or surpassing the best two seasons of his career.

Through Monday, Huff was hitting .305 with 28 home runs and 91 RBIs. He also has 69 extra-base hits. Not since 2003, when he hit .311 with 34 homers and 107 RBIs, and 2004, when the numbers were similar, 29 and 104, has Huff put together such a season.

Huff usually doesn’t like to talk about his success at the plate. In fact, when searching for answers earlier this season as to why he has been one of the Orioles' clutch performers in the middle of the lineup, he said, “I don’t know. See ball, hit ball.” 

That wasn't exactly the explanation many were looking for, but it was consistent with what he said last weekend.

“It just seemed like this is a ‘do’ year,” he said. “I have had three off-years in a row.”

Whatever it is, there is no question what Huff has meant to this offense. He is hitting .329 with 11 homers and 74 RBIs with men on base. With runners in scoring position, he has batted .328 with five homers and 60 RBIs. With runners in scoring position and two outs, he is at .315 with two homers and 24 RBIs. His on-base percentag5 is .361, and he is slugging .560.

“I feel pretty confident in the year I’ve had,” Huff said. “The big thing was slow starts, and even though this wasn’t a fantastic start, it was a lot better than what I have had in the past. You know, I was around .240 the first two months, and that’s not great, but I managed to drive in some runs, so that was nice, but for some reason, the second half has always been a little more friendly to me.”

It is always important when a player is struggling at the plate to still be able to contribute to the team, and Huff took a tremendous amount of pride in doing that early in the year. “I wasn’t hitting for average, but I was getting a lot of big hits and driving in some big runs, and that means a lot,” he said. “You look at Carlos Pena in Tampa. He’s not having the year he had last year, but every time he’s up in the late innings, he’s getting the big hit, and you got to do that when you are not hitting for average."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he has watched Huff closely this year and thinks there are reasons Huff has been able to put together the impressive offensive numbers.

“I think he’s a lot more relaxed, and I think he is standing up straighter at the plate,” Trembley said. “He uses the other side of the field. He’s a very good cripples hitter, and for me, a cripples hitter is when [opposing pitchers] get ahead in the count, and they throw him the fastball, he usually doesn’t miss it. His swing doesn’t seem to be as long or as big as it was.”

Trembley thinks something else may have turned Huff around.

“It’s the second year with the organization, and he seems to be a lot more comfortable,” he said. “I think some personal things in the offseason with him as far as losing his best friend woke him up and put some other things in perspective for him.”

Huff came into spring training coming off a very emotional winter. He lost friend and former Tampa Bay teammate, pitcher Joe Kennedy, who died unexpectedly from heart disease on Nov. 23, 2007. As a tribute, Huff asked Kennedy’s wife if it would be all right to honor him by wearing Kennedy’s No. 17, which he wore in Tampa. She agreed it would be a great gesture by Huff. So Huff switched from No. 19 to No. 17 to start the year. 

Kennedy’s death is something Huff still thinks about every day.

“He was one of my best friends, growing up in the Tampa organization,” Huff said. “In baseball, you probably have five or six real close friends you keep up with your whole career and throughout your whole life, and he was one of them. … He lives on in my memory by wearing the jersey."

After being swept by the Yankees over the weekend, and splitting an unconventional doubleheader with the White Sox, the Orioles find themselves a season-high seven games under .500. Huff would rather look at the overall big picture to this season than just the recent struggles.

“We’ve played well all year,” he said. “You can look at the pitching being bad the last couple months, but we were terrible hitting-wise the first couple of months, and they were brilliant. If we could have put it all together at once and played consistent baseball, we would probably be about 10 games over .500, but that just hasn’t been the case."

Huff also attributes the competitive nature of the Orioles to Trembley. “Dave has been great,” Huff said. “He lets you play. He is a young manager in terms of major league experience. He is a guy that’s going to let you play and be positive. He’s not a yeller or a guy who is a screamer who is going to get a lot of the young guys nervous or anything like that, so I think in that aspect he’s great.”

Trembley appreciates that sentiment and what his cleanup hitter has done the whole year. “He’s been a dangerous hitter in the middle of the lineup and a very reliable, two-out RBI guy,” Trembley said. “He’s gotten a lot of big two-out RBI hits for us.”


Huff drives in three as O's top Sox

Aubrey Huff went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer as the Orioles defeated the White Sox on Wednesday night.
He also hit a sacrifice fly, giving him three ribbies on the night. Melvin Mora and Kevin Millar both hit solo shots for Baltimore, and Brian Roberts also drove in three. The Orioles have had no trouble scoring runs this season: they have the fifth-ranked offense in baseball.


Huff homers but O's can't catch Yanks

Aubrey Huff went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI Sunday but the Orioles dropped one to the Yankees.
The O's put together a four-run second inning and a three-run fourth, but the Yankees hung with them and delivered a tie-breaking home run in the seventh inning to secure the win. Huff doubled twice and hit his 28th dinger of the season. He's batting .304 with 91 RBI.


Huff Makes ESPN's "Silver Lining Team"

Hey, it's easy to muster enthusiasm for the stretch drive when your team is in a pennant race, showing a pulse in the wild-card chase or playing at least .500 ball. Every minor league call-up, positive news on the injury front or Freddy Garcia signing brings an adrenalin rush and renewed faith that things will work out OK in the end.

Still, positive omens can be found amid the rubble. In this week's installment of Starting 9, we pay tribute to major leaguers who have made unexpectedly strong contributions to give losing teams a reason to feel good amid all the bad news. With apologies to San Francisco's Brian Wilson, Detroit's Armando Galarraga and Seattle's Jose Lopez, here are nine members of what we like to call our "silver lining" edition.

1. Joakim Soria, Royals (32 saves, 1.51 ERA)

2. Brad Ziegler, Athletics (37 innings, 21 hits, 0 runs)

3. Aubrey Huff, Orioles (.302 batting average, 24 homers, 76 RBIs)

Here's a great way to fall out of favor in the town that worshipped Cal Ripken Jr: Hit 15 home runs in the first year of a three-year, $20 million contract. Perpetuate a reputation for slow starts, a half-hearted work ethic and a penchant for producing only when your team is out of the race.

Add some ill-advised comments about Baltimore and its lack of night life on the "Bubba the Love Sponge" radio show, and it's easy to see why the locals viewed Huff with skepticism in April.

Four months later, Huff is Mr. Popularity at Camden Yards. He leads the AL in extra-base hits, ranks third in total bases, fourth in doubles, sixth in homers, seventh in slugging and eighth in RBIs. Huff and Kevin Millar, who combined for 32 home runs out of the first base-DH spots in 2007, already have 42 homers with seven weeks left to play.

Huff started slowly in spring training after January surgery for a sports hernia, but a mechanical alteration at the suggestion of Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley has made a huge difference. During a one-on-one tutorial in July 2007, Crowley urged Huff to stand taller in the batter's box and make a greater effort to use the entire field. Huff hit .346 in August and September 2007, and he's never looked back.


Aubrey Huff Could Be Traded

Aubrey Huff has cleared revokable waivers, therefore he can be traded to any team at any time. Huff has been a big suprise this year in Baltimore and could provide some prospects from a contender in need of his services.


Huff streaking through Baltimore, At 19 and counting, resurgent slugger showing no signs of slowing down

Team: Baltimore Orioles Position: Designated hitter Stats: .302 AVG, 24 HR, 76 RBIs, .550 SLG Measurements: 6'4", 235 lbs. Nicknames: None. Don't know if one is really necessary when your name is Aubrey. Signature: Returning to A-list slugging form after a three-year hiatus.
Mysteries: Where did this resurgence come from? Did anyone actually call it? What has he been doing the past couple seasons? How impressive is his 19-game hitting streak? How obvious is it that his streak will snap within 24 hours now that he is being profiled as an Unusual Suspect? How traumatizing was the "Three Little Pigs" story for him growing up? Did you know that there have been five players in the history of baseball with the first name Aubrey?

Aubrey Huff used to be awesome.

Back in the early years of this millennium, before the days of the iPhone and the Montauk Monster, Huff was the one Tampa Bay Devil Ray worth drafting in fantasy leagues.

And for good reason. In 2003, the then-26-year-old hit .311 with 34 homers and 107 RBIs, which -- according to, earned him 24th place in American League MVP voting, roughly 400 spots better than Bobby Higginson.

Simply put, Huff had the look of a future superstar.

But it didn't exactly turn out that way. He finished his 2005 and '06 seasons with batting averages in the .260s and clubbed a pedestrian 15 home runs just a season ago. Now with a 19-game hitting streak and a whopping .550 slugging percentage under his belt, Huff is back swinging his big bat of yore and looks every bit the hitter many thought he would be.

So how did the reinvention of Aubrey Huff come about?

To the evidence!

The evidence
Cleaning up: Huff has absolutely been loving life as the Orioles' cleanup hitter this season, hitting .320 with 14 homers, 46 RBIs and 18 doubles over 70 games in the four-hole. That's a huge improvement over the .190-0-3 line he posted in his 14-game audition as the team's cleanup hitter just a year ago.

Free bird: One of the main reasons for Huff's slugging resurgence can be traced to his improved fly-ball rate. The 31-year-old primary designated hitter has been smashing the ball in the air a career-best 41.6 percent of the time, a full 10.3 percentage points better than the mark he posted in his career year of 2003. More balls in the sky means more homers. Yes, it's really that simple.

ISO good: If it looks like Huff is swinging a more powerful bat this year than ever before, it's because he is. Charm City's finest is sporting a career best .248 isolated power average (ISO), a formula created by people much smarter than me that looks something like this: 2B+3B+(HR*3))/AB. See, moms and dads? Unusual Suspects is not just some column stacked with baseball rubbish and nonsense -- it can also help your kids with their algebra homework!

Too legit to quit: As per usual, it's time to see if Huff's comeback campaign is actually legitimate or merely a result of some favorable luck. Huff is currently donning a .312 batting average on balls in play, which is a bit higher than average but surely not enough to blemish his genuinely stellar year.

Conspiracy theory
Of course, there are always alternative explanations.

In November 2007, just a couple months after the Orioles finished a disappointing 69-win season, Huff offered some disparaging remarks about Baltimore's not-so-hoppin' nightlife on the "Bubba the Love Sponge Show."

Now, as both one who grew up in the humdrum suburbs of Detroit and who's watched every episode of "The Wire," I can somewhat empathize with Huff's sentiments.

However, the Orioles' ardent fan base did not take Huff's comments lightly and busted out the boo birds (see what I just did there?) every time their starting designated hitter came up to the plate on Opening Day 2008.

Clearly, it behooved Huff to get his loyal fans back on his side. So he did what any other player would do in such a circumstance. He took a page straight out of Frank "The Tank" Ricard's playbook and started going streaking.

From the quad to the gymnasium, Huff has been streaking for 19 straight games, hitting .390 with five homers, 15 RBIs and 14 runs while becoming the toast of Baltimore in the process.

With such staggering numbers, Huff is back having an awesome time in Baltimore. In fact, I think the entire town knows Huff's having an awesome time.

And wouldn't you want those times to keep on going?


Relaxing helps Huff rebuild confidence

BALTIMORE -- Comebacks can be found in the strangest of places. Aubrey Huff will freely admit that his confidence was in freefall for the last few years, spiraling downward with no relief in sight. Baltimore's designated hitter found his swing during a winter in which he was too hurt to work out and mentally conflicted about his life and his future in baseball.

Paradoxically, Huff's path back to stardom started when he was too dispirited to worry about it. The veteran was coming off a trying season with a new team and a sports hernia that kept him from picking up a bat over the offseason, but perspective in the form of impending fatherhood and the passing of a former teammate helped him snap back to reality.

"I wasn't sure anymore. My numbers had gone down for two seasons before last season, and then I had that year. It was pretty much the lowest season I've ever had," he said of 2007. "My swing hadn't felt the same for three years. I'm starting to think, 'What happened? I'm 30. It's not like I'm 40.' I think, more than anything, it was a confidence thing. 'What's going on, and why is this happening?' Before you know it, your mind gets in the way. It just got more and more miserable.

"It got tough to even think about the game. It was just so frustrating that I couldn't get anything going. But this year, I just came in and said, 'I'd better have a good year or I won't have much more of a chance to do it again.'

Things had gotten that desperate for Huff, who spent the first six years of his career in Tampa Bay and described himself as "beaten down mentally" by the end of his tenure there. He had seen personal success -- four straight seasons of 20 or more home runs -- devalued by his team's losing records.

Huff's career had gotten stale at the ripe old age of 28, and then came a trade to Houston which saw his fortunes briefly revived and a free-agent contract with the Orioles that led to his worst season and the revival of all his doubts. That's where Huff was this winter when close friend and former teammate Joe Kennedy passed away from heart disease.

All of a sudden, his mind was transported from his professional despair and onto something more important.

"I just realized how short life is and why worry about things," Huff said of Kennedy's untimely passing. "You play a kid's game and ultimately, this is third in life for me behind God and my family. There's no need to come in here and stress out about a kid's game. I think about [Kennedy] every day, and it reminds me every time I put that jersey on. The guy was 28 years old when he died. He had a lot of life left. He had a baby on the way and he already had a 1-year-old.

"I know he's in a better place, but I just feel for his wife and kids. It's funny, because he reminded me a lot of myself. He'd give the media a hard time, but it was a sarcastic hard time. And he was the same with the boys in the clubhouse. He was just a genuinely sweet guy. And if he met you once, he'd know your name again in a year."

Against that backdrop, Huff found it hard to rededicate himself. He had a hernia injury that took him six weeks to rehabilitate, and when that didn't fix the problem, he had surgery and had to sit out another six weeks to recover. He came to Spring Training without having picked up a bat all winter, but he found that his second season in Baltimore just clicked.

Hitting coach Terry Crowley, who had helped Huff find a flaw in his swing late last season, said that things were better from the first day. He could tell Huff was more relaxed and prepared to resume hurting baseballs on a regular basis.

"I think he's maybe a little more happy-go-lucky. I know he's a little more comfortable with his surroundings," said Crowley, who had a 15-year playing career of his own. "Anytime a player -- whether it's a young guy or a 20-year veteran -- changes teams, it's a very different feeling when you go to the ballpark. It happened to me a couple times in my career. When you don't know your teammates, psychologically, you feel like you have to produce every day. 'These guys don't know I can hit, and I've got to show them every day.' And when that doesn't happen, you have a tendency to put pressure on yourself."

And when all of that evaporated, Huff and Crowley could just work on the basics. The pair found last season that Huff hit better from a more upright stance, and that combined with his newfound mental clarity to give him a needed boost. All of a sudden, Huff went right back to the metronomic slugger who could be counted on to fill out the middle of a lineup.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound left-handed hitter has bounced back with a big season, batting .302 with 22 home runs and 73 RBIs after a 2007 season in which he hit .280 with 15 home runs and 72 RBIs.

"I think it was physical, and then when he got the feel -- 'I can see the ball better from this position, and when I get my pitch it's easier for me to drive it' -- it allowed everything to fall into place," Crowley said. "Consequently, this year, he's been a much better offspeed hitter without sacrificing anything at all on the fastball. Some guys, when they become a little better offspeed hitters, all of a sudden they're late on the heater. That's not the case with Aubrey. He's right on every fastball."

"I don't know if he looks more relaxed, because he always looks the same to me," added manager Dave Trembley. "I know he's in much better shape, it would appear. He doesn't take himself too seriously. He hits the ball the other way. He's just been a very good, consistent No. 4 hitter for us. I'm sure any time somebody comes in the organization the first year, they put a lot of expectations on themselves. That's kind of a good quality because that means they want to do well and they care. But I think after a while, they adjust, they kind of get comfortable. It's probably best for everybody that way."

Huff's success has bred more of the same, and he's helped frame Baltimore's lineup by protecting Nick Markakis and getting on base for guys like Kevin Millar and Luke Scott. He's gone from the new guy to one of the most popular players in the clubhouse, and Huff said that knowing that his wife, Barbara, is expecting has given him something new to play for.

"That's another thing. I feel good about saying, 'I know I'm going to have a little one,' and it changes my perspective on baseball," said Huff of becoming a parent. "When I was going good in 2003 and '04, I came to the field and thought, 'If I get some hits, great. If I don't, I'm not going to let it bother me.'

"I was coming in here, working hard early and thinking about my swing too much, studying more video. And I never used to do that. I kind of got back to that this year, where I'm not studying too much video and not doing too much early work," he said. "I'm just taking my batting practice and trying to make things as simple as possible. The fact that I'm going to have a little one on the way has made it much less stressful at the ballpark."


Huff Leads Orioles Past Yankees

Aubrey Huff had four RBIs as the Baltimore Orioles held off the New York Yankees 7-6 Tuesday night for their third straight win.

Huff hit an 0-2 pitch into the gap with the bases loaded in left-center to make it 5-1. Huff hit his second homer in two days and 22nd of the season in the ninth to make it 7-3. He tied a career high with four hits and is 17-for-34 in an eight-game hitting streak.


Tweak Helps Huff Hit as Well as Ever

About five hours before first pitch, and about two hours before the rest of his teammates arrived for batting practice, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Aubrey Huff met hitting coach Terry Crowley on the field at Fenway Park, hoping that together they could find a solution.

It was last July 31, about three months after Huff had come to Baltimore with a record as an elite offensive player, owner of a smooth left-handed swing that would boost any lineup. He was just three years removed from hitting 37 homers and driving in 107 runs in 2003 with Tampa Bay, his best offensive season in the majors.

But after signing a three-year, $20 million free agent contract, his first few months with the Orioles yielded lots of frustration and very few hits. With Huff's batting average languishing around .240 and his power numbers down, Crowley reached out to the underachieving player. "When he asks, that means he wants you to," Huff said about meeting the coach for early work.

When Huff arrived as instructed, Crowley gave him but two pieces of instruction: 1. Stand taller in the batter's box. 2. Aim for the Green Monster.

"If we didn't have that session, who knows?" said Huff, looking back at the moment he rediscovered his swing. "Something clicked."

Huff credits the changes made during the 20-minute session that afternoon to what's shaping up to be an impressive comeback season. With 17 home runs and 54 RBI through Baltimore's first 87 games, Huff is on pace to hit 32 homers and drive in 100 runs, production that approaches his career-best numbers of 2003.

"He's just simplified things," Orioles Manager Dave Trembley said. "He's seeing it, hitting it and using the whole field, not overthinking it. Obviously, his M.O. has been a slow first half and a very strong second half so, with that in mind, we have a lot to look forward to if he stays the course in the last 2 1/2 months of the season."

A notoriously slow starter throughout his career, Huff has bucked that trend with an impressive first half, another unlikely development after sports hernia surgery prevented him from even picking up a baseball bat until spring training. Nevertheless, Huff has been a catalyst in an Orioles offense that has defied expectations.

When Trembley moved Huff into the cleanup role earlier this season, the Orioles broke out of an early hitting slump. And in recent days, Trembley has placed Huff in the third spot to offer protection to Nick Markakis.

"It's made it really easy for me to put him in the three spot," Trembley said. "I think it's a nice tandem with he and Nicky hitting back to back."
Said Crowley: "He's everything we dreamed he was going to be when we brought him over here as a free agent."

Such a statement would have been unthinkable a year ago, when, by his admission, Huff was in a rut. At some point that he said he can't recall, his swing devolved into what he called a lunging motion, leaving him unable to make consistent contact.

He resorted to trying to pull the ball on nearly every at-bat and pitchers adjusted, feeding Huff a steady diet of breaking pitches and change-ups. Even though he rallied with a strong second half to finish with 15 homers and 78 RBI, his performance was so alarmingly subpar that some experts projected him to finish with worse numbers this season.

Just one year into his deal, many considered Huff a free agent flop.

"Hitters go through strange things in their career," Crowley said. "He had drifted away from being the force that he was. When I think back to '03, I remember a monster. He had just gotten away from that a little bit."

So that afternoon at Fenway, Crowley and Huff set about turning back time. By simply putting Huff in a taller stance, Crowley said it allowed for better leverage on the ball, which made it easier to hit breaking pitches. Just as important, the Green Monster in left field gave Huff an inviting target to reinforce the second key idea: going the other way.

Just a few pitches in, Crowley said that even Huff's bat speed appeared improved.

"He instantly started driving balls off the Monster, balls that I thought were going to go through the wall, hitting balls over the wall," Crowley said. "And every time we threw the ball in to him, he hit it into the seats in right field. I knew we had touched on a comfort zone."

Several times this season, Trembley has attributed Huff's rebound to the ability to hit to the opposite field.

"From that moment on, it's been a total turnaround," said Huff, who has hit .304 with 26 homers and 82 RBI since that fateful clinic at Fenway. "This feels about the way I felt in '03."


Huff named AL Player of the Week

Orioles slugger hit .345 with three jacks for week of July 6

Kevin Millar has a term to describe the Orioles' season thus far. He calls it "Orioles Magic," which is named after the song and is meant to sum up a team that has been in pretty much every game this season, and also sports a winning record in July, despite not having a true superstar.

Millar says that all throughout the season, the entire team has stepped up to keep Baltimore afloat in the highly competitive American League East.

Last week, it was obviously Aubrey Huff's turn.

The Orioles' designated hitter knocked in a run in six out of seven games and, on Monday, he was named the Bank of America AL Player of the Week.

Huff, in his second year with the Orioles, hit .345 (10-for-29), with three home runs, nine RBIs and three doubles to go along with a .333 on-base percentage and a .759 slugging percentage last week. In a four-game series against the Royals -- which Baltimore split -- the 31-year-old went 7-for-17 with three home runs, seven RBIs and four runs scored.

"I've had some hot streaks," Huff said after a two-homer game on Thursday against the Royals -- a game that ended in a 10-7 loss for his Orioles. "But, over the last month, it's probably the best I've felt in a while."

Over his last 11 games, Huff is hitting .372 (16-for-43) with five home runs and 15 RBIs. This was the second time that Huff has won the award and the first time since September 2005, when he sported a Rays uniform.

But 2008 didn't start off on the right foot for the nine-year veteran. In January, Huff underwent hernia surgery that sidelined him for the early part of Spring Training. And in the first few games of the season, Huff was booed at Camden Yards for some controversial comments that he made about the city of Baltimore on a radio show last winter.

It seems like Huff handled it well.

Fast-forward three months and Huff leads the team in power numbers with 17 home runs and 54 RBIs, while also sporting a .281 batting average. And, after a 3-4 week, his Orioles stand at 44-43 and 11 games back of the Rays for first place in the AL East.
For a while, Huff has said he's feeling as good as ever.

"It just seems like my timing feels good right now," Huff said two weeks ago. "I'm seeing the ball, even if it's an offspeed pitch, and I've been able to lay off the bad pitch.

"It's timing, man. It comes and goes. I'm just trying to ride it as long as I can. Tomorrow, it can go away just like that. That's how baseball is. You just never know. It can turn right around."


Huff finds sweet spot

If anyone needed further proof that Aubrey Huff was back in the good graces of most Orioles fans, it surfaced during the seventh inning of Saturday night's game against the Texas Rangers. And it didn't require him to get a big hit or drive in a crucial run. The point was made when nothing happened.

Huff came to the plate with two runners on base and two outs, but his ground ball ended the threat. Returning to the dugout, he was showered with silence. No booing, no jeering, no obscene chants.

"Time heals everything," first baseman Kevin Millar said.

So do 17 home runs and 54 RBIs, which Huff brings into tomorrow night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays that begins the final road trip before the All-Star break.

A notoriously slow starter, Huff has erased some of that reputation, along with the controversy that he stirred up in the fall during an appearance on a Tampa, Fla.-based shock jock's satellite radio show. Two more hits on Sunday, including his 26th double, raised his average to .281. He also had a sacrifice fly. Who saw this coming?

Before the season, Huff was a career .236 hitter in March and April, with when he hit 13 of his 156 home runs, and .255 in May. He didn't pick up a bat or ball until spring training after undergoing sports hernia surgery over the winter. And he showed up at Fort Lauderdale Stadium still grieving the loss of close friend Joe Kennedy, the former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher who died unexpectedly in November -- leading Huff to change his uniform number to 17 as a tribute.

He was set up to fail, except he didn't. Though bypassed for selection to the All-Star team, he ranks among the American League leaders in doubles, homers, RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases.

"I think I've found an offseason routine that works for me, finally," he said. "I've tried everything from hitting extra, working out harder, doing all kinds of stuff. And it turns out what I needed was less. Less is more for me."

When spring training began, hitting coach Terry Crowley consulted daily with the training staff to gauge what activities Huff could handle. Crowley worked with Huff on the side, having him hit 20 balls off a tee for three straight days, then 25 soft tosses. He would take ground balls one morning, then go back to the tee.

Finally, he was cleared to take live batting practice and appear in exhibition games, long after his teammates had grown tired of the routine.

"Make no mistake, he's talented," Crowley said. "And any time you have a talent like that, as long as you don't injure him or have a setback, good things are going to happen."

Huff, signed to a three-year contract in January. 2007, went on his usual tear after the break last season, batting .346 with nine homers, 28 RBIs and a .592 slugging percentage beginning Aug. 1. And nothing that occurred once he returned home has bumped him off that course.

"I really feel like at the midway point of last year, Aubrey Huff found his swing again and maintained it," Crowley said. "Once he was healthy, he just picked it up -- the same approach, the same stance, the same everything, -- and it carried right through."

It also moved him past the regrettable comments he made about the city of Baltimore on Bubba the Love Sponge's show, which Huff insisted were uttered in jest as part of an act. His lewd remarks about his favorite pre-game activities only further incited fans and team officials, who levied a hefty fine.

"That seems like a decade ago now. It really doesn't enter my mind anymore," he said. "I still hear some Bubba Army fans in the stands, but that's about it." Huff made a pre-emptive phone call to his mother, Fonda, after learning that he caused an uproar in Baltimore.

"He said, 'You may as well know this because you're going to hear about it,' " she said. "It got all blown out of proportion. He knew better. When he went to the University of Miami, that's the first thing they taught him. Things will get turned around if you're not careful. He just forgot. He let his guard down. He really likes Baltimore."

Manager Dave Trembley said he wasn't concerned about Huff because "success takes care of a lot of the negative things, especially in this city, where it's so work-oriented."

"People are very blue-collar," he said, "and they're willing to give people a second chance."

Crowley said: "He's a funny guy," Crowley said. "He likes to laugh at himself as much as he likes to laugh at other things. I know he didn't mean to hurt anyone." Said Millar: "There's nothing vicious in his body. It's just a bad body."

"When people were talking about how we needed to get a bigger bat, Aubrey Huff can be that bat," Millar added. "He hit 30 home runs in the big leagues (34 in 2003). You have that guy here for $7 million a year. I'm glad to see him doing what he's capable of doing."

And it all started by doing less.

"In '03 and '04, when I was having the best years of my career, I remember thinking, 'What was I doing?' I didn't really hit a lot in the cage, I didn't really look at a lot of video. I went out there and took batting practice and played the game, made it simple as possible," Huff said.

"Then I found myself constantly going in the cage, working early, looking at video. Now I've tried to go back to making it as simple as possible. Just see it and hit it."

And if he makes a key out, which hasn't occurred nearly as often this season, he's more likely now to be forgiven. He's hearing less, as well.

"There's some boos in the other dugout," Crowley said. "That's the only booing."


Huff homers as O's top Royals

Aubrey Huff went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer as the Orioles defeated the Royals on Wednesday night.
Huff is hitting .340 with six homers since the beginning of June. He now has 15 homers, matching his total from last year. He probably won't top his season-high 34 long balls from 2003, but he's on pace to make a run at 30.


Huff Is Hot In Baltimore

Aubrey Huff’s transformation from fantasy scrub to stud continues. On Thursday, the Orioles third baseman had 4 hits, scoring 3 runs, while driving in 2 RBI. His average is now up to .357 for the month of June, after hitting just .231 in May. Once a perennial fantasy slugger for the Rays, who reached career highs with 34 homeruns and 107 RBI in 2003, Huff has stumbled since a trade sent him to Houston midway through the 2006 season. At the age of 31, it is not too late for Huff to turn things around. With 14 homeruns and 45 RBI, Huff should be owned in the majority of fantasy leagues.

Huff who has spent the majority of the season as the team's designated hitter, started at third base for the 11th time yesterday. And in the third inning, he made a highlight-reel catch. Bernadina hit a liner that Huff jumped for and snagged, showing solid leaping ability. He also turned two 5-3 double plays, including a key one in the eighth inning.


Huff leads O's past Cubs

Chicago, IL (My Sportsbook) - Aubrey Huff went 4-for-5, knocking in two runs and scoring three as the Orioles trounced the Cubs in the deciding game of their three-game series at Wrigley Field, 11-4.

Jay Payton added two hits and knocked in three more runs as the Orioles posted their second-highest run total this year - Baltimore scored 12 runs in a 12-2 win over the Yankees on May 20. Guillermo Quiroz went 3-for-4, knocking in two runs and scoring one.

"This is definitely one of the most satisfying series we played this year," Huff said. "As far as it being a satisfying win, I think you look at the big picture. We came in here and played very well against a good team."

Radhames Liz (2-0) threw five-plus strong innings, giving up two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks. It marked Liz's third consecutive start in which the Orioles posted a victory and the sixth win for Baltimore in its last nine games.

"The reason we won this series was that we have a team that plays good, fundamental baseball," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "We have a team that will compete every night, and I guarantee you we'll bring our best game every night. The other team better bring theirs, too."


Aubrey Huff Fantasy News

Aubrey Huff, 1B/3B, Orioles. Huff has quietly put together an impressive (and surprising) .271-14-42 season thus far. Those stats look a little more impressive after a recent six-game hitting streak in which he went 12-for-25 with five long balls and seven RBIs. He's hot, but just as the Orioles may be looking to sell high soon, so should fantasy owners with other needs.


Huff Drives O's Powerful Show

A few hours before game time, Aubrey Huff surveyed the grounds at Miller Park and declared it could be a good night. Though he has spent most of his career in the American League East, Huff played six games here during his short stint with the Houston Astros in 2006. And though he put up modest numbers then, he remembered just how far a well-hit ball could carry.

"It's a hitter's park," Huff said. "The ball carries pretty good. The batter's eye in the background is pretty good. It's very friendly for the hitters."
So when the Orioles outslugged the slugging Milwaukee Brewers, 8-5, on Friday, guess who was at the middle of it all?

Huff finished 4 for 5, including a pair of solo homers and an RBI single. It was enough support for an Orioles bullpen -- that despite issuing seven walks -- kept the Brewers off the scoreboard for seven innings. George Sherrill capped the effort by enduring a scary ninth inning for his 25th save.

Sherrill allowed an infield hit and walked two to load the bases. But in a show of poise, Sherrill induced a game-ending double play by Gabe Kapler to preserve Baltimore's fourth straight victory, which pushed them four games over the .500 mark for the first time since May 20.

"The National League style of game is two games within one," Orioles Manager Dave Trembley said. "It's the first five or six innings, and then seven, eight and nine get interesting. You have to keep your poise. If you don't, you're going to play right into the fast pace, and that's not what you want to do."

Huff turned in his first multi-homer game since Aug. 21, 2006, at Cincinnati. In his past 10 games, Huff has 5 homers, 11 RBI and a .476 batting average.

"So far this year, it's the best I've felt," said Huff, whose homers pushed the Orioles' lead to three. "It just seems like my timing feels good right now. I'm seeing the ball even if it's an off-speed pitch, and I've been able to lay off the bad pitch."


Huff Has Career Night

Aubrey Huff matched his career high with four hits, including a tying two-run single, and the Baltimore Orioles came from behind twice to hand the Boston Red Sox a rare home loss, 10-6 on Tuesday night.

Baltimore rebounded from deficits of 1-0 and 6-4 and overcame homers by Manny Ramirez and J.D. Drew as the Red Sox lost for only the second time in their last 17 games at Fenway Park.

On a steamy night with a game-time temperature of 93 degrees, the Orioles scored in just three innings with four runs in the second, three in the seventh and three in the ninth. They've scored 29 runs in their last four games, three of them wins.

Huff's two-run single tied the game at 6 in the seventh and chased Hideki Okajima (1-2). Kevin Millar then hit a sacrifice fly off Manny Delcarmen.


Huff, Olson help O's cool off Rays

Aubrey Huff hit a two-run homer as the Baltimore Orioles downed the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-4, in the opener of a three- game set at Camden Yards.

Melvin Mora drove in a pair of runs while Luis Hernandez went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Orioles, who snapped a two-game skid. Garrett Olson (1-0) picked up the win as he gave up just two runs on four hits with five walks and six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of work.

B.J. Upton smacked a two-run homer while Carl Crawford and Akinori Iwamura each drove in a run and scored a run for the Rays, who had a six-game winning streak stopped. Jason Hammel (2-2) got the loss as he was banged up for three runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.

The Orioles grabbed the lead in the second with a pair of runs. With one out, Ramon Hernandez and Luis Hernandez hit consecutive singles. After Brian Roberts flied out, Mora and Nick Markakis hit back-to-back RBI singles and Baltimore had a 2-0 lead.

Baltimore grabbed another run in the third on an RBI double from Ramon Hernandez that scored Huff, who led off the inning with a walk, for a 3-0 lead.

Tampa threatened in the fifth when the team put its first two runners on base. However, Olson retired the next three batters to get out of the jam.

The Orioles further padded their lead in the sixth with four runs. With runners on second and third, Mora lifted a sacrifice fly to left that scored Luis Hernandez. After Scott Dohmann took the mound, Kevin Millar punched a run-scoring single to center and Huff followed with a shot over the center field wall for a 7-0 lead.

The runs proved fortunate as Tampa plated four runners in the seventh inning to get back into the contest. With Jason Bartlett on first, Iwamura punched a double to center to score Bartlett. After Randor Bierd took the mound, Crawford belted a run-scoring single to center and Upton followed with a shot over the right field fence to make it a 7-4 game.

The Rays were unable to get any closer, though, as George Sherrill worked around a two-out walk to pick up his 10th save of the season.


Orioles DH Aubrey Huff ejected

CHICAGO (AP) — Baltimore Orioles' designated hitter Aubrey Huff was ejected in the 10th inning of Monday's game against the Chicago White Sox after arguing a call with first base umpire Mark Wegner.

Huff hit a slow roller past the mound that White Sox's second baseman Juan Uribe fielded and threw to first. Huff was called out and immediately began to argue with Wegner on the close play. Orioles' manager Dave Trembley also came out. As Huff continued to argue from the dugout, he was tossed by Wegner. Replays appeared to show that Huff beat Uribe's throw.


Staff writer Josh Land conversed with Aubrey Huff about the roots of the Orioles’ hot start before they left for Texas.

TIMES: With the start you guys have had, the clubhouse seems even looser than early last year. Why has that been?

AUBREY HUFF: Last year, I think there was a lot of expectations we didn’t live up to. This year, there’s none and we’re just having fun and playing loose, playing relaxed and just having a good time. It’s paying off so far. I know it’s early, but we’re off to a better start than last year and a lot of that has to do with the young guys and the energy they bring.

TIMES: Did you see it coming this spring?

HUFF: You just never know what the season’s going to bring. The Rockies last year, look at those guys. You never know. We could be that team this year. You just never know how that works out. Baseball’s a funny sport. You just can’t measure heart and payroll all the same. We’re obviously playing good baseball and hopefully it continues, but there’s going to be peaks and valleys all year as with any team.

TIMES: You’ve talked a little bit about how the media has put lower expectations on this club. Do you feel like that’s part of why the team is playing with so much energy?

HUFF: It’s kind of frustrating. You’re getting written off before the season’s even started, even before you’ve thrown out the first pitch. But that kind of gives teams fuel, man, when national media, local media’s got you counted out, [saying] it’s one of the worst teams to come through Baltimore. It really kind of heats you up a little bit, makes you want to play a little bit better and take away all those doubts and prove all those naysayers wrong.

TIMES: For you, personally, it’s been a solid start. Were you expecting coming in that maybe the fans weren’t going to receive you well and you needed a hot start to quiet them a bit?

HUFF: Well, I’m not really worried about that anymore and hopefully that’s all in the past now.

TIMES: The fan turnout also hasn’t been great early on. How much of a motivator has that been for you guys — play well, fans see the record and come back?

HUFF: I think that’s part of it. They believe what they read and everybody’s written us off. You guys have written us off. No matter what, people are going to believe the paper. So we’re going to have to go out there and win and make you guys start printing some positive stuff and maybe they’ll come out. Also, the weather’s been kind of tough here right now. It’s cold. Hopefully when we get back from this road trip, we’ll get better weather.

TIMES: Last year, you guys were playing pretty well until the Mother’s Day game when Boston came back in the ninth to win 6-5. Do you see April 5’s three-run rally in the ninth to win 3-2 as a victory that can spin you off on a reverse kind of streak?

HUFF: It was a weird feeling [last year]. When we have a game like that and we get in the ninth, it felt like, “Here we go.” We felt like, Nick [Markakis] put up that double and I know we were still down by two when he hit that double, but that just gave us some hope. It was a different feel. It was a really weird feeling. We had Felix [Hernandez] out of there, thank goodness, and we just felt like we had a chance.


Huff makes himself at home

ARLINGTON -- Watching the numerous former Texas Rangers walk out onto the field during the pregame ceremonies was like the old days for Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff.

Huff, who starred in baseball and basketball at Brewer High School in White Settlement, grew up watching the Rangers and had the chance to see one of his favorite players up close.

"I grew up watching guys like Steve Buechele here and Pudge Rodriguez," said Huff, who led Baltimore's offense Tuesday with a 4-for-4 showing and four runs driven in. "Steve Buechele was one of my favorites, so when I saw him walk by today, that was a cool experience."
Huff came into Texas with only two hits in four games against Seattle, but he did hit a game-winning home run Monday. Tuesday, he had a walk to go with his 12th career four-hit game.

Coming off hernia surgery in January, Huff is erasing the slow start he had last season.

"When he had the surgery for the hernia, he had to go through a lot more to get back and be ready to play, and I think that's benefited him," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "I said it in spring training -- there was no way that he was going to get off to the slow start this year that he did last. I was confident that he was going to hit right from the get-go and he's doing that."

After playing at Brewer, Huff went to Vernon College before becoming an All-American at the University of Miami. He was Tampa Bay's fifth pick in 1998 and spent five full seasons with the Rays before he was traded to Houston in 2006.

Huff signed with Baltimore last year as a free agent, hitting .280 with 15 home runs and 72 RBI. In his career, Huff has 11 homers against Texas.

"I've always enjoyed playing here and still see some friendly faces in the stands every now and then," he said. "It's a good hitter's park and the ball always travels good here. It definitely helps the offense for sure."

Huff walked on four pitches in the first inning and singled up the middle in the third, scoring on a Luke Scott home run. He had his second single in the fifth.

"I just came off a pretty bad Seattle series where I didn't get a lot of hits, and I didn't feel too great coming into this series," Huff said. "I just felt a little more relaxed and let the ball get deep."

Huff nearly had his third homer of the year in the sixth inning, as the ball hit off the yellow line in the right-field corner but bounced back onto the field. It was called a home run, but was changed to a double.

"This ballpark is friendly," Huff said. "I hit it on the barrel but didn't have a whole lot of great extension on it, but in this park I thought it was going to go."


Huff Goes 4 for 4

Aubrey Huff went 4-for-4 with four RBI and a walk Tuesday in the Orioles' 8-1 defeat of the Rangers. This makes three times in a week that Huff has been the key hitter in Orioles' wins. It might have happened three times all of last year. Huff thought he had a three-run homer in the sixth inning today, but the call was correctly overturned. Replays showed the ball hit the top of the fence in right field and bounced back into play, giving Huff a two-run double instead.


Huff's blast helps streaking Orioles sweep Mariners

Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Aubrey Huff's solo homer in the eighth inning lifted Baltimore over Seattle, 5-4, in the finale of a four-game set from Camden Yards.

Melvin Mora hit a two-run home run for the Orioles, who swept the series and have won five straight games. Brian Roberts also drove in two runs while Luis Hernandez added two hits and scored once.

Dennis Sarfate (2-0) notched the win with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. George Sherrill continued to bedevil his former club by posting his fourth save of the season and third of the series. Starter Daniel Cabrera allowed five hits and four runs over six innings, walking four and fanning five.

"The guys we brought over in trades are really helping this team right now," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Especially the bullpen."
Raul Ibanez finished 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI for the Mariners, who have dropped five of six. Ichiro Suzuki also collected two hits, including a home run.

Eric O'Flaherty (0-1) took the loss after allowing the game-winning blast. His one-third of an inning in relief reversed a solid start by Carlos Silva, who allowed nine hits and four runs over seven innings, striking out five without issuing a walk.

To start the eighth, O'Flaherty retired Kevin Millar on a grounder. Huff then stepped up and drilled a high fastball deep into the right-center field seats to give Baltimore a 5-4 lead. Following a Luke Scott walk, Sean Green entered and sent down the final two batters.

"I was looking fastball and I guessed right," Huff said. "It was a good pitch to hit."

Sherrill came on in the ninth and retired the Mariners in order to seal the win.

Huff homers, doubles to lead Orioles

BALTIMORE -- That's how you earn a reprieve. Designated hitter Aubrey Huff was the only Oriole to endure booing in the first two games at Camden Yards and did something about it on Wednesday, when the veteran drilled a two-run home run in the sixth inning and came back for a two-run double in the eighth to give the Orioles a 9-6 win over Tampa Bay.

Huff, who made some controversial comments on a radio program during the winter, won the fans back the hard way. He came to bat with a three-run deficit in the sixth, but responded by blasting a ball onto the Eutaw Street flag court. Huff faced a higher difficulty rating in the eighth, but he erased a one-run deficit by steering a two-run double to right-center.

"That was the sweetest home run I've ever hit. I'm not going to lie to you," he said shortly after the game. "I hit that ball and [thought], 'Please, just get out. I just don't want to have to deal with it.' In my next at-bat after that, I kind of heard more of a mixed crowd instead of all boos. Hopefully, like I've said, we'll win some hearts back."

"Fans are entitled to do whatever they want," added Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "They pay their money [when] they come out here. I wouldn't think one way or the other is going to really influence people. I think it probably feels pretty good for him. It feels good for our club that we won the game and we got so much out of so many different guys."

Baltimore had trailed for virtually all of the game before Huff's heroics, and it went on to seal the deal with two additional runs in the eighth. Strangely enough, the outburst was completely in character for Huff, who has throttled the team that drafted and developed him. Last year, for instance, Huff batted .365 and hit seven of his 15 homers against Tampa Bay.

"It's just one of those things," Huff said. "It's a coincidence. Hopefully, we can transfer that to the rest of the league."

"I just think he's jacked up about doing it against us more than anything," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. "I mean he hit a breaking ball, he hit a fastball today. From my perspective, obviously, you'd like to think you're not making good pitches. But sometimes hitters just get you regardless. And he's getting us right now."


Huff booed in Baltimore, and he understands why

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - He was jeered as he ran in from center field on an orange carpet during introductions. He was booed every time he walked to the plate.

Aubrey Huff understands completely why fans in his own ballpark hate him, and the Baltimore Orioles designated hitter accepted their harsh treatment Monday with a shrug of the shoulders and an admission of guilt.

While appearing on a nationally syndicated radio show during the offseason, Huff insulted the city of Baltimore with a sentence that included profanity. The fans at Camden Yards were not in a forgiving mood at the season opener.

"It was expected. If I was in their situation I'd boo me too," Huff said. "It was a stupid thing to do. But I've moved on from it, put it behind me."

Asked if expected the booing to continue, Huff replied, "It might die down a little bit, but I'm sure the fans have been itching to get at me the whole offseason. Like I say, it was a mistake on my part to make those comments. I'm human, I made a mistake."

Huff said his teammates were laughing at the rough treatment he received, and that Kevin Millar expected a similar reception for throwing out the ceremonial first ball at a World Series game in Boston.

"He got off light," Huff said.


Huff 'pretty good' in 1st spring game

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - It lasted only three pitches, but Aubrey Huff described it as the most nerve-racking spring training at-bat of his career. "It was surprising," Huff said. "My timing felt pretty good. I actually saw the ball well and everything just felt nice and relaxed and comfortable after the first pitch. It felt good just getting back out there." Huff, who had surgery to repair a sports hernia in January, made his spring debut in the Orioles' 2-1 loss to the Florida Marlins yesterday at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. As the team's designated hitter, he went 0-for-2, flying out to center field in the second inning and lining out to right field in the fourth. Click here to continue reading...

Huff almost ready

Aubrey Huff hit against live pitching again today and should get into a game later this week. "I hope it's soon," he said, smiling. "I'm getting bored." Huff, recovering from sports hernia surgery, also ran the bases today, but he still hasn't slid. "He's probably got a couple more things he's got to do," Trembley said. "But Richie told me that we're very close."