A bullish bullpen

In case you forgot or need to brush up on the terminology, it's called a "winning streak."

Repeat those words out loud a few times and they will start to sound familiar. I kept saying "winnie steak" before I finally got the hang of it.

I just caught the SportsCenter highlights from last night's game, including Cesar Izturis' miscue that prolonged the ninth inning.

"That's Orioles baseball," exclaimed one of the network's anchors.

At least he didn't say "The Oriole Way." That one would have hurt.

Garrett Atkins will participate in the ESPN Zone's first Q&A session today beginning at noon.

I'm expecting at least one fan to ask when he might play again.

Atkins will find his name in the lineup tonight against CC Sabathia after being on the bench for the last three games. He's 3-for-4 with two walks and two RBIs lifetime against the Yankees' ace, so perhaps the challenge isn't as daunting as you might think.

Alberto Castillo picked up the win last night and Alfredo Simon recorded his first career save.

Alberto and Alfredo. Imagine the T-shirt possibilities.

I didn't imagine back in spring training that they'd be key components of the Orioles' bullpen in late April. You just never know.

The bullpen is due to undergo another change or two. A starter must be added on Saturday, and all signs point to Brad Bergesen. Koji Uehara pitches again Thursday morning at Double-A Bowie (followed by Zach Britton), and the Orioles could decide to activate him from the disabled list if he appears sound and effective.

They'll have to create room for both pitchers on the 25-man roster, and Castillo no longer has a seat reserved on the Norfolk shuttle. He's struck out six in 3 1/3 innings and pitches with a confidence that eases manager Dave Trembley's nerves.

Trembley's found a reliever that he trusts - a strike-throwing reliever who puts out fires instead of splitting logs for kindling.

(Unfortunately, Luke Scott isn't the only Oriole who stays in shape by swinging an axe.)

Simon also figured to have a brief shelf life, but he might emerge as the closer. Trembley doesn't know how Simon's arm will respond today. This is uncharted territory.

When news broke last April that Simon needed Tommy John surgery, I was convinced that we'd never again see him in an Orioles uniform. He would be gone and easily forgotten.

Or not.

So if you include Castillo and Simon in May's projected bullpen, you'll have to cross at least one name off the list. Matt Albers looks vulnerable despite being out of options. That 9.35 ERA hangs heavy on the stat sheet, and you have to wonder if he'll be designated for assignment.

That move would only clear one spot.

Would the Orioles dare to remove a position player and go with a short bench?

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