BALTIMORE — Prior to the 2012 season right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie was traded by the Baltimore Orioles to Colorado for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.
Hammel is now one of the top starters for the Orioles and was on the hill for opening day in Tampa Bay. Lindstrom was traded on Aug. 26, 2012 by Baltimore to Arizona for starting pitcher Joe Saunders, who aided the Orioles' postseason drive last year as the Orioles made the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
"I am very honest. They didn't lose much," Guthrie said of his trade to Colorado. "It turned out to be a great trade" for the Orioles.
Guthrie, 34, the Ashland High graduate and Roseburg native, returned to Baltimore this week as a member of the Kansas City Royals. He started Thursday against the Orioles and held his former team to two runs, one earned, in six innings to lead the Royals to a 6-2 victory.
After going 3-9 with an ERA of 6.35 with Colorado to start the 2012 season Guthrie was traded on July 20, 2012 to the Royals for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. Guthrie was then 5-3 with an ERA of 3.16 in 14 starts last season for the Royals. After the season, he signed with Kansas City as a free agent and, after Thursday's win, is 5-0 with an ERA of 2.28 in his first seven starts.
"The defense has bailed me out of some (possible) losses," he said. "The defense and offense has been very supportive. I could not ask for anything more when I am out on the mound."
He threw his first career shutout in a 2-0 win May 4 against the White Sox and that gave him a team-record 17 consecutive starts without a loss. That streak reached 18 on Thursday.
"He makes very few mistakes," Chicago first baseman Adam Dunn told reporters after the game. "We were trying to get to him early, and obviously, that didn't work either. When you have a guy who has that many pitches and also locates it &"
"I am striving to be low in the strike zone. I have a very good defense behind me," said Guthrie, when asked to describe why he has been successful. "When you have eight guys around you it makes the pitcher look a lot better."
Guthrie began his college career at BYU before he transferred to Stanford.
He was a first-round pick by Cleveland in 2002 and made his Major League debut with the Indians in 2004.
Guthrie was picked up on waivers by the Orioles prior to the 2007 season and he made his first big league start with Baltimore.
He became the most consistent starter for the Orioles and was the opening day starter three times for Baltimore.
"I don't expect a loud ovation from them," Guthrie said of the Baltimore fans, while standing in the visiting clubhouse before Wednesday's game. "The fans have been great, whether it is on twitter or out in the street or out in the stands. They have been great to me."
Guthrie, who did receive an ovation prior to Thursday's game, was 10-17 with the Orioles in 2009 and led the American League in losses.
He was 9-17 with an ERA of 4.33 in 2011 and again led the league in losses.
Guthrie began this season with a lifetime mark of 55-77.
During spring training with the Royals in Arizona prior to this season Guthrie was able to throw batting practice to current members of the Ashland High baseball team.
Guthrie did not have anything to do with their trip to Arizona but he was alerted to their plans to be at the Royals' camp.
"It was great to meet the coaches, and the players were great," Guthrie said. "I got to throw some light batting practice to them. It was great to see the kids and it takes you back to your high school days."
Freelance writer David Driver lives in Maryland and can be reached at www.davidsdriver.com