DALLAS - And down the stretch they come ...
I'm expecting a stampede to the airport today as the Winter Meetings break up. The last order of business for most teams is the Rule 5 draft - and we've been threatened with bodily harm here if we write Rule V - which begins at 9 a.m. Central time.
The Orioles might not be finished, however. Executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated yesterday that he could make a trade or two, so the local beat reporters are on high alert.
I'd just appreciate if the news broke before I'm being told by the flight attendants at American Airlines how to buckle my seat belt and turn the passenger next to me into a floatation device.
The Orioles have the fourth pick in the draft, following the Astros, Twins and Mariners. They're expected to take a pitcher. And I'm expecting that he'll be returned to his original team for half the $50,000 claiming fee.
It's tough to keep a pitcher or player on a 25-man roster for an entire season, though the Mets did it with reliever Pedro Beato.
If the Orioles lose anyone today, it's most likely to be left-hander Cole McCurry, who went 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. Other notables who are exposed to the draft today include pitchers Steve Johnson, Tim Bascom, Wynn Pelzer and Sean Gleason, infielder Greg Miclat, and catchers John Hester and Caleb Joseph.
Miclat's name came up last week in the Taylor Teagarden trade talks with the Rangers.
Last winter, the Orioles selected reliever Adrian Rosario, who even looked overmatched while unpacking his bags in Sarasota. He had no shot. The Orioles gave him back to the Brewers, who returned pitcher Pat Egan to the Orioles in a unique Rule 5 swap.
Rosario went 4-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 35 games, including 14 starts, for Single-A Brevard County and Wisconsin. He was dealt to the Mets on Sept. 1 as a player to be named later that completed the Francisco Rodriguez trade.
Egan is eligible to be taken again. Johnson was selected by the Giants in the winter of 2009 and bypassed in 2010.
As long as we're chatting about the minors, infielder Mychal Givens, the Orioles' second-round pick in the 2009 draft, was chosen to the inaugural Australian Baseball League All-Star Game on Dec. 21 in Perth. I will not be covering it.