On-base or rounding the bases?

There are times when interviewing executive vice president Dan Duquette is like being a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune."

At any moment, I'm liable to blurt out, "I'd like to solve the puzzle!"

Unfortunately, I haven't figured out his plans for a designated hitter. Maybe I should buy a vowel.

The Orioles have watched Manny Ramirez take batting practice at least once since the Winter Meetings. It could be two or three times, but Duquette won't confirm it. His stock answer is he's aware that Ramirez is working out in Miami. Sometimes, he'll mention that Ramirez is an interesting and entertaining character.

Until Duquette flat-out says that he's not interested in signing Ramirez, we have to assume that there's at least a slight possibility that it happens. However, Ramirez must serve a 50-game suspension once he signs.

Alfonso Soriano doesn't appear to be an option. The Cubs are trying to move him - or dump him, if you want to get technical - but a team source indicated that there isn't a match.

Duquette mentioned again at FanFest that he wants to improve the Orioles' "on-base capability." Unless he's referring to a second baseman/leadoff hitter, that would mean he's less interested in power at the DH spot.

Manager Buck Showalter is rooting for Nolan Reimold to win the left field job. It doesn't appear that the Orioles want to make him the primary DH.

We're back to Johnny Damon, who's still on the market. Duquette might be more inclined to sign a player like him, though Damon's average the last four seasons has fallen from .303 to .282 to .271 to .261, and his on-base percentage has gone from .375 to .365 to .355 to .326. The Tigers are a potential fit for Damon.

Duquette has made on-base percentage a priority, and he could decide to sacrifice power at DH.

Maybe I should spin the wheel again. I'm not ready to solve the puzzle.

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