Springing forward - Part II

If you missed it, former Oriole John Parrish signed a minor league deal with the Royals.

Here's hoping that Parrish doesn't report to spring training in a body cast.

Also, ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting that the Cardinals and outfielder Matt Holliday are close to a deal, which has pretty much been the word around baseball today. And SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Red Sox are nearing an agreement with third baseman Adrian Beltre.

I walked outside earlier today and noticed an Orioles official laying in my weeds. I pretended not to notice.

My earlier list of things that need to be emphasised by the Orioles in spring training is expanding to eight, since I mentioned earlier that five was only a starting point. Thanks for the input.

• Practice bunting until their hands hurt
Again, this isn't a fresh idea. The Orioles used to conduct bunting drills on the back fields in Fort Lauderdale, though I often wondered if they were afraid to swing away and smash the windows of the planes parked beyond the outfield fences. Brian-Roberts_Home-Bunting.jpgBut there's no excuse for a player not getting the bunt sign because he can't do it. Just don't wrap your hand around the bat like Luis Matos. That's a good way to break your fingers.

Brian Roberts seemed more willing to bunt last season. Let's hope it continues. Anything to get him on base and turn him loose.

• Stop running into so many outs
This one is a little tricky, since many decisions are made in an instant. It takes a certain amount of instinct to know whether to stretch a single into a double, or go from first to third, without stopping for a consultation. You can work on it in Sarasota until you're blue in the legs, but once the games start, you can't always rely on your coaches or what you practiced.

• Work with Adam Jones on positioning and hitting the cutoff man
There are times when Jones appears to be playing too shallow in center and can't always rely on his speed to make up the ground. The dugout can assist him. Get him used to taking a step or two back once in a while. There's no law against charging the ball.

Jones won a Gold Glove, and I'm not picking on him, but he also needs to hit the cutoff man with more regularity. His throws tend to sail, and runners have taken the extra base on him. His arm is strong, but it can become more accurate.

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