Cespedes, arbitration, Chen and Cordero

Because you can’t get enough of the Yoenis Cespedes updates, I’ll pass along that he went 1-for-4 last night for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League. He was removed for a pinch runner in the ninth inning.

Miguel Tejada started at second base. I’m serious.

Actually, Tejada made four starts at second base for the Giants last season - the only four of his career.

As for Cespedes, he’s 2-for-19 with six strikeouts in five games. He’s gotten two balls out of the infield.

I’m facing another busy day, which includes a trip to the warehouse to tape an interview for “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report.” The Orioles will send out a release with information on the arbitration-eligible players they did and didn’t sign before today’s noon deadline.

As a reminder, the Orioles are down to four names: Robert Andino, Brad Bergesen, Jeremy Guthrie and Adam Jones. And as another reminder, they’re all under team control, no matter how much they’re being paid. Don’t sweat it.

In case your subscription to The China Post ran out, here’s an article from yesterday’s press conference in Taiwan for new Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. It’s not exactly filled with quotes.

Chen apparently told reporters that he’ll need to adjust to the new rhythm of pitching every five days in the majors instead of every six or seven days in Japan. The same goes for Tsuyoshi Wada, who could end up in the bullpen. That’s the primary concern with team officials - durability.

I’ve been asked to comment on The Sun’s report that the Orioles have some interest in free-agent closer Francisco Cordero. OK, well ... I guess that’s a good thing. The stronger the late-inning relief, the better.

It doesn’t sound like the two sides are close to an agreement. The Orioles have contacted a variety of agents and executives. But this is another indication that they’re not planning on going into the 2012 season with Kevin Gregg as their closer.

I’m still expecting Jim Johnson to remain in the bullpen. That’s the current plan, no matter what other moves are made before opening day. But it’s subject to change, like just about everything else around here.

If Gregg isn’t traded - and I seriously doubt that he’d be released - he could work the seventh inning on some nights, serve as more of a set-up man on other nights, and pitch the ninth if the closer isn’t available. That’s not what the Orioles envisioned when they handed him a two-year, $10 million contract that included a $6 million option in 2013, but executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t negotiate that deal. He’s not married to it.

Gregg is still owed $5.8 million this season. The Orioles would have to eat a chunk of that contract before another team takes him.

As much as I like Johnson in a set-up role, I’d rather see him close or be given a shot in the rotation. But I could certainly live with a Johnson-Cordero tandem after the seventh.

We’ll see how far the Cordero talks advance. This could be one of those fall-in-their-laps scenarios, as fewer teams go searching for a closer. He’s saved 44, 34, 39, 40 and 37 games the last five seasons. He’s got a track record. But a closer isn’t a major priority on this team.

If they’re going to spend money, I’d prefer that it were earmarked for the lineup or rotation.

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