Is it too early to worry?

Let's survey the issues.

Brian Roberts returns to Baltimore for further examination of his back. Kevin Millwood's ERA is 29.70. Nolan Reimold is just getting into games. Mike Gonzalez left an outing due to back stiffness. Matt Wieters is 1 for 13 at bat and the O's record is 3 and 8.

Am I wrong or is spring training not going so well?

Suddenly, how Miguel Tejada fields his next ground ball doesn't seem so important.

I hope on opening night, April 6th, I get to write this sentence: And some fans were worried when Kevin Millwood gave up 16 hits in his first two starts.

That's 16 hits in 3 1/3 innings. Were it the regular season, we might be wondering if Millwood were injured.

We could say it's too early to worry, but that won't stop some fans from fretting anyway. We can say spring stats and records don't count, but it would be nice to have more solid things to hang our hats on.

There is no need to push the panic button. Not nearly yet. But if you have it stashed away in a closet somewhere you may want to locate it for the future.

Allowing 16 hits in just 3 1/3 is awful, maybe beyond awful. But we have to acknowledge a few things here. Millwood has often had a poor spring ERA and he's been around long enough to know how to prep himself for the season. We simply should not judge him, especially, after just two outings.

Brian Roberts keeps insisting he'll be ready by opening day. But will he get enough at bats? Will he be 100 percent then or limited somewhat?

For now, there is time to resolve Roberts' injury issue. And, if he misses a few weeks at the start, the O's have enough on the bench to handle that.

If he misses time that is measured in months and not weeks, start looking for that panic button.

I think all any O's fan wants is to start seeing some better signs that some things are going well. Maybe that started Sunday with Brian Matusz's excellent five-inning, 57-pitch outing vs. Philly.

Oh wait, that doesn't count either. Still, it does the O's fans hearts a solid to see Matusz buzz through the NL Champs. Now if more of the starters could follow his lead.

There is a small segment (I believe it's pretty small) of fans, mostly the message board crowd, that is in panic mode already. Some even point to individual game results and worry.

But that group doesn't speak for all fans. My sense is that most O's fans are not too concerned yet. They have some mild trepidation for now as they watch the Roberts' developments.

Two or three weeks from now, it could all be a different story.

Better or worse.

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