Sorting through the bullpen

Is it true that Kurt Warner will hold a press conference today to announce whether Brett Favre is retiring?

Perhaps I misunderstood.

The Orioles' news is slowing again, but not because president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is letting the market play out. We're approaching spring training and the camp roster is pretty much set.

We'll probably see a left-handed reliever signed to a minor league contract. Try to control your breathing.

Erik Bedard reportedly is throwing, but that doesn't mean he's close to pitching. The Orioles don't appear to be waiting around with fingers crossed. Maybe he comes back to them later.

Once Mark Hendrickson passes his physical, the Orioles will make a corresponding move to clear space on the 40-man roster. Though it would seem logical to eliminate a left-hander, Armando Gabino might be receiving some disappointing news. He's been on the bubble since his name appeared on the roster.

The bullpen on Opening Day is rounding into shape. Hendrickson, closer Mike Gonzalez, set-up man Jim Johnson and right-hander Koji Uehara appear to be set - though Uehara must prove that he's healthy. David Hernandez and Jason Berken are candidates for long relief (Hernandez also could be a one- or two-inning power guy later in the games).

The Orioles held onto Cla Meredith, so you have to like his chances, but there's plenty of competition among right-handers, including Matt Albers and Kam Mickolio. And a third left-hander could emerge - either Alberto Castillo or someone who hasn't been signed yet.

Wilfrido Perez made a strong impression last spring - he easily ranked among the most impressive pitchers in camp - but he underwent elbow surgery over the summer. The innings that he lost might need to be made up at Double-A or Triple-A before he makes his major league debut.

I received a text message from reliever Dennis Sarfate last night, requesting that I pass along a message:

"Please tell the fans of Baltimore I loved FanFest when I was there. And nothing means more to me than giving back to the kids."

Sarfate's frustration at being designated for assignment surfaced in our interview earlier this week when he noted how he would have preferred to avoid a cross-country trip to Baltimore if he knew that he'd lose his roster spot a few days later. He doesn't want to give the impression that the event was a burden to him. Quite the opposite.

Shameless plug alert: The Hot Stove Show airs tonight from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on 105.7 The Fan and ESPN 1300. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz and DH/outfielder Luke Scott are scheduled to call us.

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