Talking starters, Hoes and Jones

So Derrek Lee is traded to Pittsburgh and he hits two home runs in his debut. Of course he does.

Trade Felix Pie and watch him win the Triple Crown. Deal Kevin Gregg and watch him have a 1-2-3 inning.

The Orioles are back on the field tonight, and that means more roster moves are coming.

New pitcher Tommy Hunter will be added to the 25-man roster, and Brad Bergesen will return after being placed on paternity leave. The Orioles have two openings after they optioned left-handers Pedro Viola and Mike Ballard to Double-A Bowie following Sunday's game in New York.

The road trip continues in Kansas City. And look who's waiting for the Orioles.

Yes, it's left-hander Bruce Chen, who pitched for the Orioles from 2004 to 2006. He's 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA lifetime against his former team.

Chen is 5-4 with a 4.29 ERA this season. In his last start, he gave up a career-high 10 runs and 10 hits in four innings in Boston. He threw 114 pitches ... in only four innings. He also walked three batters and gave up three home runs ... in only four innings.

Vladimir Guerrero is 9-for-16 lifetime against Chen, with a double, two homers, three RBIs and three walks. Adam Jones is 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBIs. Nick Markakis is 3-for-8 with a double.

Orioles starter Alfredo Simon has a 6.23 ERA in 4 1/3 career innings against the Royals.

Shifting gears, Bowie's LJ Hoes was named the Eastern League's Player of the Week yesterday after batting .462 (12-for-26) with a double, four home runs, seven RBIs and seven runs scored.

Hoes is hitting .318 in 61 games since the Orioles promoted him from Single-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie, but he hasn't spent much time at second base with the Baysox. He's appeared in only five games at second, six at third and 46 in the outfield - 38 in left, eight in right.

At Frederick, Hoes appeared in 25 games at second and 17 in left field. In four minor league seasons, he's played 263 games at second, 63 in the outfield and seven at third base.

So why is he moving around so much at Bowie, with so few starts at second?

John Stockstill, the Orioles' director of player development, said classification is the key. The Orioles could have kept Hoes at Frederick, and at his natural position, but they felt it was more important to challenge him at the plate. That meant moving him up to Bowie, where opportunities to play second weren't as plentiful with Greg Miclat on the roster. Miclat has appeared in 91 games at second for the Baysox.

"If we were just going for defense, (Hoes) would have stayed a level lower," Stockstill said. "We felt he needed to be challenged with his at-bats, so we moved him, but we don't have a full-time second base position for him. He's also been an outfielder by nature, so he does a good job there. And he can play third and short. But we're not moving him off second. He'll continue to play second. There's just no place for him to play second every day at Bowie."

In 61 games with Bowie this season, Hoes is batting .318 with 11 doubles, four home runs, 35 RBIs, 29 runs and 13 stolen bases.

I'm going to close this entry by bringing Jones back into the discussion.

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail had no interest in moving Jones at the non-waiver trade deadline. That doesn't mean rival executives weren't interested in finding out whether MacPhail would change his mind.

MacPhail didn't make Jones available. He didn't dangle his center fielder.

"I'm sure had we put him on the market, he could have brought us back a good haul," MacPhail said on Sunday, "but we didn't see the wisdom in exploring that option at the present time."

Now here's my question: Should MacPhail have considered taking that good haul? Should he have treated Jones like he did Erik Bedard?

You can argue that Jones is too important to the rebuilding process. He's a guy you build around. He isn't a free agent until 2014, so you've got him under control for a while.

You can argue that he isn't enough to turn around this franchise, and it makes more sense to get back multiple pieces - position players, pitchers, prospects - who can speed up the process.

Who's right?

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