Solid spring for Albers

The dogfight continues for the last spot or two in the Orioles' bullpen. Matt Albers and Kam Mickolio each posted a scoreless inning yesterday, proving again that their bite is worse than their bark. Or something like that.

Albers is out of options, so he'd have to pass through waivers before being sent down. He's going to make the decision especially difficult for manager Dave Trembley.

Albers gets a lot of attention for his weight, but his ERA certainly looks lighter. He's allowed three runs in 10 2/3 innings, though the 11 hits show that it hasn't always been a breeze.

"My arm feels stronger, just the way I've been able to bounce back. I've been throwing every other day for the last four outings, so I guess eight days, and my arm's bounced back well," said Albers, who was handled more carefully last year after declining to undergo surgery on his torn labrum.

"It really helps me when my arm feels strong. I have better location."

Will he be located in the Orioles' bullpen on Opening Day? We're still waiting to find out. Trembley says the competition will continue into the final week of spring training, which is fast approaching.

"I knew coming into spring that it's always a possibility, but I haven't really thought about it," Albers said. "I know the situation, the guys going for the last few spots and I'm out of options and all that. But I think if I throw the ball well and show them what I can do, hopefully I put myself in a good spot, either with this team or another team."

It didn't look good for Albers during the first few days of camp. He posted a 5.51 ERA last season and allowed 80 hits in 67 innings. Trembley challenged him publicly to lose weight, but he showed up looking about the same this spring. And Trembley heaped praise upon Mickolio, one of Albers' challengers, for working out hard over the winter and having end-of-the-game stuff.

Albers could have made the decision easy for Trembley. He's done the opposite.

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