Random thoughts

You probably know that new special assistant Brady Anderson has been training left-hander Brian Matusz in California. What you might not know is he’s got Matusz doing handstands to strengthen the pitcher’s shoulder muscles.

Anderson, calling into “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” yesterday on MASN, explained that the exercise stabilizes the shoulder. It’s a common method among Olympic athletes, including the ones that Anderson visited during a recent trip to Japan.

I’ve never been able to do a handstand or a cartwheel, and my backward somersault definitely needs work. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I couldn’t help but notice the reports out of Japan, passed along yesterday by NPB Tracker’s Patrick Newman, stating that Braves pitcher Keshin Kawakami is close to signing a one-year deal with his former team, the Chunichi Dragons.

Why do I care?

Well, the Orioles made offers to Kawakami and Koji Uehara in the winter of 2008. Uehara accepted it first, and many fans here suggested that the Orioles settled for the lesser of two pitchers and that they were too cheap to make an aggressive play for Kawakami, who signed with the Braves for $23 million over three years. Uehara signed for $10 million over two years.

Kawakami went 8-22 with a 4.32 ERA and 1.395 WHIP in two seasons with Braves, and he spent 2011 in the minors. The Orioles have no regrets.

They suspected that Uehara might be better suited in the bullpen, which proved to be true. And they wouldn’t mind trading for him this winter.

In case you missed it, former Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera signed a minor league deal with the Pirates. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009.

Another former Oriole, John Maine, signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox. Maine hasn’t pitched in the majors since undergoing surgery on his right shoulder on July 23, 2010.

It won’t be much longer before the Orioles release the names of the minor league free agents they signed over the winter. You’ve heard about many of them. The club prefers to make them public all at once.

The last time I checked, pitcher Armando Galarraga still hadn’t agreed to terms with the Orioles on a minor league deal. Reports out of Venezuela that he signed were premature.

I’m still expecting executive vice president Dan Duquette to sign or trade for a reliever to put on the 40-man roster. That appears to be the next move.

So what happens to Nolan Reimold if the Orioles actually sign Yoenis Cespedes and determine that the Cuban outfielder is ready for the majors? Do they share left field? Do Reimold and Wilson Betemit share DH duties?

I can’t imagine that Jai Miller would make the club, since Endy Chavez was signed to be the fourth outfielder.

Who the heck is the leadoff hitter on this team?

I’m going to be detached from the blog for much of the weekend. I’ll be joining colleagues Steve Melewski and Pete Kerzel later today at the Shorebirds Hot Stove Banquet at the Delmar VFW, and visiting with my parents for a few nights because it’s been a while since I slipped into a food coma. My mother is just the woman to make it happen.

I’ll check in once in a while, but I’m hoping to reduce the amount of time spent at my laptop and refreshing Twitter. I need to catch my breath or I’ll never make it through spring training.

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