By this time tomorrow, I’ll probably be standing in line to check my bag at the AirTran counter. Or I’ll be sitting in the back of a cab on my way to the airport to stand in line to check my bag at the AirTran counter. Or I’ll be trying to calm my nerves while standing in line to book another flight at the AirTran counter after mine is cancelled because of the snow.
I’m not looking forward to tomorrow.
I’ve packed a carry-on bag, but I still have to load up my suitcase. I’ve gathered all my bills so I’ll have the phone numbers and due dates with me. I’ve hugged my daughter once, for her birthday yesterday, but more are coming and she’ll just have to deal with them.
I’ll flip open a notepad later, before flipping out at the airport, and jot down some blog ideas for spring training. I already had rated Miguel Tejada’s adjustment to playing third base as the No. 1 storyline, and it might still hold up, but Brad Bergesen’s shoulder injury will demand much of my attention.
It wouldn’t be spring training without a little injury intrigue. Rich Hill’s elbow, Koji Uehara’s hamstring, Troy Patton’s shoulder, Brad Hennessey’s...whatever it was. We go through it every year. Only the names change.
Manager Dave Trembley usually begins his media sessions in the dugout by providing health updates. If Trembley doesn’t single out a player, we don’t need to ask him.
We ask anyway.
The camp battles are pretty clear. Fifth starter, backup catcher, last utility spot, last three bullpen spots. The list expands if Bergesen isn’t ready to go when the Orioles head to St. Petersburg for the opening series, though he’s expected to be fine.
Will Chris Tillman be the No. 5 starter? Will Chad Moeller beat out Craig Tatum and Michel Hernandez? Will Robert Andino beat out Justin Turner and anyone else who emerges as a candidate? Which three relievers will join Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara and Mark Hendrickson?
It’s obvious that the Orioles would like to include a lefty specialist, though they won’t force the issue if the contenders turn out to be pretenders. Will Ohman is the early favorite, since the Orioles have been interested in him for the last two winters, but he’ll have to hold off Alberto Castillo and Mike Hinckley.
Along with Trembley and his coaching staff, additional instructors will include Gary Allenson, Mike Bordick, Butch Davis, Bobby Dickerson, Dave Engle, Brian Graham, Mike Griffin, Richie Hebner, Moe Hill, Miguel Jabalera, Gary Kendall, Bruce Kison, Dave Schmidt, Kennie Steenstra, Denny Walling and Don Werner.