Because You Asked - The Wrath of Khan

Everybody loves a good sequel. If only there was more than a small handful.

The Godfather Part II. Rocky II. Kill Bill Vol. 2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Empire Strikes Back. Aliens. And every single “Because You Asked...”

They should have done Cast Away II, where the plane’s going down and Tom Hanks is thinking, “Really? Again? Oh come on!”

And how could they resist squeezing out one more Police Academy? There were still so many unanswered questions.

Speaking of which...

You keep asking them, and they must appear to go unanswered because someone else asks the exact same ones. Let’s avoid scrolling the comments and just post them here.

Sorry there isn’t popcorn to go with them, but at least your feet won’t stick to the floor. (And seriously, if they do, contact a cleaning service).

• Any chance of the Orioles re-signing Melvin Mora for one season, until Josh Bell is ready?

I’d say there’s an equal chance that they’ll re-sign Deivi Cruz to play shortstop. In other words, it’s not happening. Mora’s contributions here are appreciated, but his flare-up with manager Dave Trembley was the clincher. He wasn’t likely to return before it happened. All doubts were removed once the smoke cleared. It’s time for him to move on. We’ll always have our memories.

• What do you think about the Orioles signing Miguel Tejada to play third base, until Josh Bell is ready?

I think life would be so much simpler if Bell was ready right now. The Good Ship Tejada has sailed. He’ll never wear an Orioles uniform again. Or as my last date said to me, “Keep dreaming, because it ain’t happening.”

• I read that the Orioles signed catcher Michel Hernandez to a minor league contract. Does this mean he’ll end up being the backup next season?

Yeah, in the same way that Robby Hammock was. Hernandez will compete for the job. So will a bunch of other guys. Chad Moeller is the favorite, and he still hasn’t fully committed to staying in the organization. I’m predicting that Hernandez is squatting behind International League plates in April. We can only hope he’s wearing catcher’s gear.

• Is there any news on...

OK, let me stop you right there. I promise that if I have news, I’ll write about it. I’m not sitting on it and waiting for it to hatch. There’s never a reason to ask me whether I’ve got news or if I have any updates on a particular player or topic. If it’s in my notebook, it’s going in my blog.

• Did Andy MacPhail say anything about...?

See, you’re doing it again. I’ll pass along everything that’s on the record. And I’ll warn you if I’m stretching the interview over a few entries.

• Are you going to keep interrupting me?

Sorry. Go ahead.

• Did MacPhail say anything about first base or a starting pitcher?

I’ll ignore that.

• Should we be concerned about Brad Bergesen’s injury?

Worrying isn’t going to make him heal any faster, but I’m sure he appreciates it. Manager Dave Trembley told me that Bergesen was starting his running program this week and he’ll be full-go by spring training. No restrictions, no concerns. He’s been doing everything else. The guy played 18 holes of golf before returning my call. He’d probably do fine on “Dancing With the Stars.” And he’ll be running sprints before you know it. Hopefully, he’ll chase down Billy Butler and give him a two-fisted beating.

• Why has it taken so long for his leg to heal?

X-rays and CT scans didn’t reveal any breaks, but Bergesen is convinced that he sustained a hairline fracture that didn’t show up in the exams. That sounds right. And to think, he was supposed to be part of a six-man rotation in September. Sounds pretty absurd now, don’t you think? But hey, who knew?

• Do you think the Orioles excluded Steve Johnson from their 40-man roster because they’re working on a trade?

That’s not how I interpreted it, though I haven’t placed any calls yet. The Orioles are rolling the dice that no team will claim Johnson and keep him on their 25-man roster for an entire season. That said, I’m still surprised that he was left unprotected. I thought his inclusion was a slam-dunk certainty.

• Why would the Orioles place more value on guys like Brian Bass, Alberto Castillo, Chris Waters and Radhames Liz? Are they insane?

Crazy is as crazy does. Whatever that means. The Orioles don’t necessarily value those guys more than Johnson or the other prospects who were excluded. You must remember, as I pointed out to a couple readers yesterday, that they’re going to clear more room on the 40-man after they acquire some players over the winter. For instance, if they re-sign Mark Hendrickson. They can trim the fat later, so to speak.

• Any chance they add Johnson or Josh Perrault before the Rule 5 draft?

None. You can’t add players from within your organization after tomorrow’s deadline. Teams must have enough time to prepare for the draft, and as an Orioles official told me yesterday, it would be bedlam if guys were suddenly made unavailable at the last minute. The only players who can be added are the ones acquired via trades or free agency. Nothing in-house, but J.R. House would be OK.

• Can you believe how bad the Cleveland Browns looked Monday night?

To save time, I hear they’re going to line up in punt formation while boarding their flight to Detroit.

• How long have you been sitting on that joke?

Long enough for it to hatch like one of my news items.

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