Quick Montanez update; remembering Elrod

Former Orioles outfielder Lou Montanez texted me earlier today and mentioned that he's receiving a lot of interest, "especially from AL East teams."

A few Japanese teams also are interested in the free-agent outfielder.

Montanez is batting third for first-place Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League. He's 13-for-28 with two doubles, a triple and four RBIs. He writes that his team's starting nine is comprised entirely of former major league players.

Today would have been Elrod Hendricks' 70th birthday. He died five years ago yesterday - leading to a late-night phone call from the Orioles that I'll never forget.

I picture Elrod walking around heaven wearing his shin guards, as he usually did at the ballpark, just waiting for a game of catch. And that huge smile never leaves his face.

When the Orioles provided a room for their coaches to dress before games, Elrod still wanted to stay in the clubhouse at his usual locker. He loved the interaction with players and reporters.

He also came in handy when we needed an interpreter for a few Spanish-speaking players, including former pitcher Willis Roberts.

We still laugh at the time that a reporter asked Roberts whether the right-hander had taken a "quantum leap" by turning in a solid outing after his previous struggles.

Elrod stared at the reporter, thought about how he'd translate the question and blurted out, "What the (expletive) is a 'quantum leap?'"

It became one of our favorite catch-phrases.

Happy Birthday Elrod. We miss you.

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