This, that and the other (and more)

I wonder whether the Orioles will announce Lee Thomas' hiring as assistant general manager, or whatever title they'll give him, or make us wait until everyone is in place, including scouts and the minor league managers and coaches.

My assumption is they'll announce Thomas sooner, since they already confirmed Gary Rajsich as director of amateur scouting.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette declined comment on Thomas during yesterday's teleconference.

Thomas was the Phillies' general manager from 1988-1997. He built the team that won the National League pennant in 1993. He was a Red Sox special assistant from 1998-2003, which explains his connection to Duquette.

Rick Peterson spent about four hours at the warehouse yesterday while interviewing for the minor league pitching coordinator job.

The Orioles will need to remove someone from the 40-man roster if they want to select a player in the Rule 5 draft, which will be held Thursday in Dallas. It's the last order of business before the winter meetings conclude and everyone checks out of their hotels and rushes to the airport.

Yes, I'm going to pass along the list again. Here it is:

Pitchers:
Jake Arrieta
Brad Bergesen
Jason Berken
Zach Britton
Dylan Bundy
Oliver Drake
Willie Eyre
Kevin Gregg
Jeremy Guthrie
Tommy Hunter
Jim Johnson
Brian Matusz
Darren O'Day
Troy Patton
Zach Phillips
Clay Rapada
Jo-Jo Reyes
Alfredo Simon
Pedro Strop
Chris Tillman
Rick VandenHurk

Catchers:
Taylor Teagarden
Matt Wieters

Infielders:
Ryan Adams
Robert Andino
Matt Antonelli
Josh Bell
Chris Davis
Pedro Florimon Jr.
J.J. Hardy
Joe Mahoney
Mark Reynolds
Brian Roberts
Brandon Snyder

Outfielders:
Matt Angle
Kyle Hudson
Adam Jones
Nick Markakis
Nolan Reimold
Luke Scott

Hey, look!Two catchers on the 40-man roster!

I don't know what number Teagarden will wear, but that will be the first thing I pass along when pitchers and catchers report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

Speaking of Ed Smith Stadium, manager Buck Showalter checked on the renovations yesterday, including more changes to the practice fields, after making a quick trip to Sarasota. I swear, that guy's never home.

At least the Winter Meetings are in Dallas, so he'll have home-field advantage.

I'm counting eight former Rangers on that 40-man roster. No wonder Teagarden says he'll be comfortable with the Orioles.

Teagarden calls Strop "a power arm who comes right after you with electric stuff. I think he has three plus pitches."

So what about Hunter?

"Tommy's just a bulldog," Teagarden said. "He's got a great arm, a lot of movement on his fastball. He can cut it, he can sink it. And I love his curveball. I think it's a plus pitch. He's a guy who can get deep in games. He's got a lot of weapons and a good feel for his changeup. He won a lot of big games in Texas."

It's too early for me to pick a darkhorse or sleeper in spring training - and I'm usually way off - but one member of the organization chose infielder Steve Tollesen, who signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Someone else in the organization raved about pitcher Miguel Socolovich's arm. The Orioles also signed Socolovich to a minor league deal.

Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie has been elected to the Major League Baseball Players Association's executive board as an association representative.

You probably know that the Red Sox signed former Orioles farmhand Chorye Spoone to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. You might not know that the Phillies also were interested in him.

You heard Brady Anderson's side of the Scott Beerer story. Now here's Beerer's version of how they connected and what resulted:

"My roommate knew him," Beerer said. "I had met him while I was a pitcher in 2006 or 2007. I was pretty burned out on baseball because my arm was hurt. I was trying to figure out what to do. I asked my roommate to put me in touch with him. I asked if he could look at my swing, and he looked at me like I was crazy. I was 26 and trying to come back as a hitter. He decided to take a look and we really clicked.

"He let me hit off a tee. This was the first day. He was telling me to try to hit the ball as far as I could, and I barely got it to the fence. In an hour, he made a few minor adjustments and I was hitting home runs. It's just the genius of his hitting methods. And since then, we've been training together and hitting. Our mentalities and strength are very similar.

"Obviously, he had a lot to do with me signing with the Orioles. That's somewhere I wanted to be. There were other teams interested, but I let it be known through my agent that Baltimore is where I wanted to be and to make it happen. I know a bunch of guys over there. We're close because of him training them. It's a comfortable move for me. In my heart, it felt right to go to Baltimore."

Beerer is a longshot to play in the majors, considering his late transformation from pitcher to outfielder, but that's his goal. He could start out at Triple-A Norfolk and be a phone call away.

"I want to be in the big leagues at some point," he said. "It may be unrealistic to make the team in spring training. I don't know. You never know what will happen during the year. Right now, I plan to go to Triple-A. I really have nothing to lose.

"It's been an amazing comeback story so far. I'll be 30 in July. I don't put expectations on myself anymore. It's been a fun ride and I can't believe where I've gotten the last 2 1/2 years. I still only have a handful of at-bats. It's a big learning curve for me. I'm still learning the ropes. But I hope at some point this year to be in the big leagues."

NOTE: According to multiple reports, the player to be named later in the Taylor Teagarden trade will come from a list of four players from the Orioles' organization who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft. That's why his identity won't be revealed until Thursday at the earliest.

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