Because You Asked - The Final Insult

Spring training starts, but the questions won’t end.

You know them, you need them, you want them, you can’t live without them. And you’ll keep reheating them and pretending they’re fresh. Sort of like the side dishes in the press dining room.

No matter how many times I shovel the snow off my sidewalk, the questions are piled much higher. And while no two snowflakes are alike - at least in my personal collection that I keep in a safe deposit box - your inquiries look strangely familiar.

Here we go again:

Why don’t the Orioles have any interest in Chien-Ming Wang?
I chose this one over, “Do the Orioles have any interest in Chien-Ming Wang?” It was a close call. I’ve never been given a list of reasons, but you can guess it starts with concerns over his health and his ability to rediscover the form that made him a two-time 19-game winner. There’s probably a financial consideration, too. Teams weren’t exactly lining up to sign him. I believe the Nationals are now favored to out-bid the Nationals for his services.

Why would the Orioles reserve a spot on their 25-man roster for Robert Andino when Miguel Tejada can slide over to shortstop for an inning or two?
I must have missed the report that Cesar Izturis was going to start all 162 games this season. The Orioles need a backup shortstop, and they don’t want to use their starting third baseman in that role. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail pretty much shot down that idea during Tejada’s introductory press conference. Andino also backs up at second base. Ty Wigginton can slide over there, but that’s not an ideal arrangement. And speaking of Wigginton...

Isn’t Ty Wigginton expendable now that the Orioles have signed Tejada and Garrett Atkins?
Man, you’re fast. And that’s what she...nevermind. I don’t see how their presence makes Wigginton a goner, since he backed up first baseman Aubrey Huff and third baseman Melvin Mora last season. It’s the same role. He’s a right-handed bat off the bench. But I also would hope to draw his name in my pool if we were selecting players most likely to be dealt before the final out of the last exhibition game. I’m not saying the Orioles will try to unload him, but he could draw interest from other teams. But the Orioles would need another backup at the corners who, ideally, has some pop. Maybe he’s already on the roster, just waiting to stake his claim.

Are the intrasquad games open to the public?
I’ve never covered them in Sarasota and I’m not sure what rules will be implemented. I could have sworn they were closed to the public in Fort Lauderdale last spring, because the stands were pretty empty as I charted pitches and tried not to sweat all over my keyboard. But I’ll let you know once I find out how it’s going to work in the new location.

Are you really going to file this entry somewhere over Atlanta?
I’ll admit that I’ve never blogged this high in my life, though my stuff often reads like it.

Is that anything like the Mile High Club?
I’m not sure, but when the flight attendant comes around, I’m choosing the pretzels.

Think about it.

No thanks. What’s the word on Troy Patton?
I wasn’t aware that Patton had a word associated with him, though “labrum” seemed to stick. The Orioles still like him. He came down with a tired arm last summer after dominating at the Double-A level. He has an outside shot to make the rotation, especially if Brad Bergesen starts the season on the disabled list - which we’re not anticipating. My guess is he’ll rejoin Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation and perhaps earn a promotion later in the summer if he’s healthy and effective. He’ll be in camp, and he won’t be ignored.

Why don’t the Orioles have more interest in Russell Branyan?
Why don’t all the other teams?

Since when did you start asking the questions?
I started to feel left out. Branyan had some back issues during the second half, and he’s been passed around more than a bottle of Jack at a biker rally. Check out his career stats. He easily could revert to previous form.

Are you hearing anything about...
Got to stop you again. Same rules apply, no matter if it’s a major league free agent, a minor league free agent or a Cuban defector. If I hear something, such as the Orioles having interest in a particular player, I’ll pass it along. I’m not keeping any secrets. I promise.

Will manager Dave Trembley make it through the season, or will he get the ax by the All-Star break?
I’d rather not press down on his neck while fans place it on the chopping block. That’s just tacky. The won-loss record matters more this season, or so we’re told, but I would expect Trembley to complete the season, no matter what happens - unless the cavalry storms the manager’s office and tries to overthrow him.

Was Bergesen overthrowing in that commercial?
You just had to go there.

Do you Twitter?
I refuse to pay attention to anything trendy, and that includes Twitter, i-phones, Lost, 24 and restraining orders.

When will MASN announce it’s spring training schedule?
It just happened. Click right here.

Thanks. Which player are you picking as your camp surprise this spring?
Brad Hennessey. I’m going to keep choosing him until I’m right.

Considering that he’s no longer in the organization, that would be a really big surprise. Could you try again?
The roster is mostly set, and anyone who fills out the last few openings probably won’t be regarded as a darkhorse unless I pick someone like Michel Tatum or Craig Hernandez.

I think you mean Michel Hernandez or Craig Tatum.
Do you want to be surprised or don’t you?

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