Sarasota in the rear view mirror (updated)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Counted among the yearly traditions of spring training is the sudden realization that I can't consume all of the food that I bought during my seven-week stay.

How many packets of oatmeal can I possibly eat before check-out this morning? And honesty, the bags of frozen broccoli and Brussels sprouts seemed like a good idea at the time. No way they're coming with me to St. Petersburg.

I'm down to three bottled waters. I think I timed that one just about right.

Anyway, the Orioles will hold a 2 p.m. workout at Tropicana Field. The clubhouse opens to the media at 12:15 p.m.

We'll make absolutely sure that president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail doesn't swing a late trade or make a late waiver claim. Manager Buck Showalter assumes that his 25-man roster is set, but he did say yesterday that "there's some things floating around out there that you've got to kick around before you say no or yes."

I'm sure that Chris Tillman is excited to make Sunday's start, but we'll ask him anyway. And we'll check on Brian Matusz's left arm and Brad Bergesen's right arm. As always, I'm grateful that nobody pulled a groin muscle.

I didn't sense much enthusiasm from readers over the announcement that Tillman is the No. 3 starter - that was before all the comments disappeared during the latest masnsports.com makeover - but he'll be given another chance to establish himself as a major league pitcher. He'll obviously need to cut down on the baserunners and be more economical with his pitches. Better command of the strike zone should bring better results.

If it doesn't happen, his stay in the rotation could be brief. Justin Duchscherer is slated to come off the disabled list and make the April 21 start, though he could arrive sooner if he's physically sound and the need arises. And something tells me that we'll see Zach Britton before the month of April ends. Just a hunch.

Guys will need to produce or step aside. And not only Tillman.

Showalter didn't anoint Kevin Gregg as his closer yesterday, but the smart money is on the right-hander if the Orioles take a slim lead into the ninth inning Friday night. However, it seems pretty clear that Koji Uehara will get some chances, as well. He just can't pitch on back-to-back days right now.

The Orioles need to save those bullets and get him through a 162-game schedule.

I'm not counting the postseason, of course.

OK, time for a quick breakfast and an hour-drive to St. Pete.

Anybody want dry wheat toast with their Brussels sprouts?

Update: Left-hander Mark Hendrickson accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk after spending the last few days exploring other options.

Hendrickson was bumped from the bullpen picture when the Orioles purchased Josh Rupe's contract.

Hendrickson could end up in Double-A Bowie's bullpen, which would keep him closer to his York, Pa. home. For now, he's assigned to Norfolk.

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