Closing argument (and spring training note)

The snow is coming, the snow is coming.

Still love the changing of the seasons?

Still think this is better than 75 and sunny?

Listen closely and you'll hear my eyes rolling.

The forecast is calling for two to four inches here, which probably means a foot. Fortunately, Santa brought me gloves.

Reliever Kevin Gregg is scheduled to take his physical today. He might want to limit the small talk and get back to the airport before the storm hits.

Gregg probably will be made available to the local media tomorrow in a conference call. He'll become the 39th player added to the 40-man roster.

The Orioles haven't stated that Gregg is their closer. Gregg hasn't stated that he's their closer. But it's obvious that he wanted to sign with a team that would allow him to close.

It figures that he'll go into spring training as the front runner for the job, and it's not an awkward arrangement. Koji Uehara told reporters last month at Dave and Buster's that he's fine working in a setup role. He won't make a huge fuss over it.

I'm not real familiar with Gregg. I've seen him pitch, but I haven't studied him. I'm getting a crash course.

I do know that he hates when his manager removes him from a game in the ninth inning. His reputation played out at Camden Yards last summer. He walked 30 and gave up 52 hits in 59 innings, and his 1.390 WHIP jumps out at you like Cito Gaston asking for the ball in the ninth inning.

Uehara set a franchise record by not walking a batter in 32 straight appearances, and he ended the season with 44 strikeouts since his last free pass.

His pinpoint control has become his most appealing trait - along with his sideburns, which may wrap completely around his head twice by the time pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota.

I preferred to have Uehara close and pushed for the Orioles to re-sign him for that purpose, but Gregg is a good addition. They could end up sharing the load, and Uehara remains a health risk until he proves otherwise.

I'll be curious how Gregg's signing and Uehara's possible role change affects Jim Johnson. When healthy, J.J. has been the eighth-inning setup man, but he could be pushed back to the seventh a little more often.

I still haven't heard any talk of Johnson going back into the rotation or competing for a spot in it. That would be his preference, but I'm more interested in the condition of his right elbow and whether he can avoid the disabled list and surgery in 2011.

NOTE: Individual spring training tickets for all 16 games at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota will go on sale Saturday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. Call 941-954-4101 for more information.

You can pick up tickets in the clubhouse building adjacent to Ed Smith Stadium, which will open on Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and every Monday through Friday at the same times beginning Jan. 24 until further notice. You also can purchase tickets at Walmart locations throughout the Sarasota area, at www.orioles.com, by calling 1-800-745-3000, by fax at 941-365-1587 or by mail at 2700 12th St., Sarasota, FL, 34237. You can request a ticket order form by calling 941-954-4101.

The first home exhibition game is March 1 vs. Tampa Bay.

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