The new double play combination speaks

The new double play combination speaks
Shortstop J.J. Hardy and second baseman Brian Roberts stepped behind the stage to meet with reporters a few minutes ago. Hardy is impressed by today's fan turnout. "This is pretty good," he said. "I don't know how many people it is. They said about 10,000. It sounds like everyone is pretty excited." That includes Hardy. "This offseason, I didn't know what was going to happen," he said. "I felt like I was going to get traded. I didn't know where. With all the moves that the...
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Quick Duchscherer update

Quick Duchscherer update
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he received a positive report on free-agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer, who threw for their Arizona-based scout yesterday. The Orioles retain interest in Duchscherer, but MacPhail warned again that you can't read too much into a pitcher's winter bullpen session. "We're pleased with the way he's come along at this point," MacPhail said. "As I mentioned before, that is not an uncommon occurrence for us. We have seen this year three or...
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Talking Millwood, J.J. and Vlad at FanFest

Talking Millwood, J.J. and Vlad at FanFest
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and manager Buck Showalter are taking questions from season-ticket holders at the first forum of today's FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. Showalter received a rousing ovation and chants of "Buck, Buck Buck." MacPhail told the crowd that the Orioles have interest in bringing back Kevin Millwood, saying the idea hasn't been ruled out "by any stretch," but the hindrance in signing any of the remaining free-agent starters is the...
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Orioles sign utility infielder Nick Green (updated)

Orioles sign utility infielder Nick Green (updated)
The Orioles have added another candidate for their second utility infield job, agreeing to terms with veteran Nick Green on a minor league contract with a spring training invitation. There's your big FanFest announcement. OK, not really. But he did agree to the deal. Green will compete with Robert Andino and Brendan Harris for the chance to join Cesar Izturis on the bench. If this sounds like a repeat, the Orioles almost had a deal done with Green last month, but he was hoping to land a...
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Luke Scott wants Guerrero in the lineup (updated)

Luke Scott wants Guerrero in the lineup (updated)
The Orioles' search for a left-handed reliever won't lead them to Joe Beimel. He's apparently decided to sign with the Pirates, according to this tweet from Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Beimel was born in St. Marys, Pa. and pitched at Duquesne. He spent his first three major league seasons in Pittsburgh. Sounds like he wants to go home. We'll find out later how much the Pirates are paying him for that warm and fuzzy feeling. Yes, they beat out the Orioles. They also beat out the Red...
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Updates on Guerrero, Duchscherer and Beimel

Updates on Guerrero, Duchscherer and Beimel
After making another round of calls today, I can pass along the following nuggets on a few of your favorite free agents: The Orioles have, indeed, made an offer to Vladimir Guerrero this week, and it falls in the $3 million to $5 million range. They most certainly did not exceed $5 million. I'd say it's a lot closer to $3 million. Also, team officials don't expect a FanFest announcement similar to what transpired with Miguel Tejada last winter. In fact, while they understand that the...
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Your incremental Vladimir Guerrero update

Your incremental Vladimir Guerrero update
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, citing a major league source, says the Orioles have made an offer to free-agent designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero. Rosenthal estimates that the offer falls in the $3 million to $5 million range. If this is true, the offer must have come this week, because the two sides hadn't been in negotiations. The Orioles always left open the possibility of signing Guerrero, but only at a discount price. Guerrero has sought a multi-year deal, but he can forget it. And...
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Remembering the Jackson-Dempsey collision

Remembering the Jackson-Dempsey collision
I was watching the MLB Network's "Top 50 Most Incredible Collisions" last night, and No. 8 was Bo Jackson plowing into Rick Dempsey and almost sending the former Orioles catcher flying into the dugout. I counted three backward somersaults. When I texted Dempsey, he replied, "Well, I've got that going for me." Which is nice. Dempsey, in his only season with the Cleveland Indians in 1987, missed the last six weeks with a broken left thumb. And get this: A proctologist in Kansas City set...
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More on Rapada

More on Rapada
Clay Rapada will compete for a left-handed relief role with the Orioles, but the Triple-A Norfolk Tides will gladly welcome him to Harbor Park if he's reassigned. Rapada, 29, is a Portsmouth, Va., native who pitched at Virginia State University. He won't hurt attendance. Rapada posted a 4.00 ERA in 13 games with the Texas Rangers in 2010, his third team since the Chicago Cubs signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2002. The Tides put out a release with more information on Rapada, in...
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This and that (and more)

This and that (and more)
Welcome to another morning of "What the heck am I going to write about?" I really need a sponsor. And some news. I had a brief conversation with a team official last night, and we discussed left-hander Clay Rapada, who agreed to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Rapada will be given a chance to win a spot in the bullpen as the second southpaw, joining Michael Gonzalez, but here's my guess: He'll be Mike Hinckley, who lost out to Will Ohman last spring and pitched at...
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Revisiting the market for Vladimir Guerrero

Revisiting the market for Vladimir Guerrero
Mike Napoli was traded to the Blue Jays. Then he was traded to the Rangers. I believe 12 minutes passed between deals. When the music stops, grab a team. The Blue Jays appeared to be out of the running for free-agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero after sending Vernon Wells to the Angels for Napoli and Juan Rivera. Now they might have an opening after sending Napoli to the Rangers earlier today for reliever Frank Francisco. Rangers president Nolan Ryan stated yesterday that he retained interest...
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Ripken going into Hall of Fame - again

Ripken going into Hall of Fame - again
I was getting my hair cut this afternoon when I received an e-mail from the International League, announcing its Hall of Fame class. I opened it when I got home and discovered that former Rochester Red Wings third baseman Cal Ripken is being honored. The accolades just keep pouring in for baseball's Iron Man. And you really should try his Power Shred jerky. Ripken will join Steve Balboni and Wade Boggs as members of the Class of 2011. All three players starred in the International League...
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Leadoff item: Brian Roberts needs to stay healthy

Leadoff item: Brian Roberts needs to stay healthy
Jorge Cantu is off the board after reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with the Padres. I'll stop pitching him now. It's not a certainty that the Orioles will bring in another utility candidate, but they could ink somebody to a minor league deal and toss him into the mix with Brendan Harris and Robert Andino. As it currently stands, Cesar Izturis is the backup at second base if Brian Roberts is injured. He was re-signed to be the utility middle infielder. I'm fine with Izturis on...
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Troy Patton arrested on DWI

Troy Patton arrested on DWI
Another Orioles pitcher is dealing with legal issues, though the severity doesn't match what's transpiring in the Dominican Republic with Alfredo Simon. According to this report from a Houston television station, left-hander Troy Patton was arrested Saturday night and charged with a DWI after police officers reported that the pitcher's car sped over a curb. Officers said he failed a Breathalyzer test, blowing a 0.14. The legal blood alcohol content limit in Texas is 0.08. Patton posted a...
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Three weeks and counting until the first workout

Three weeks and counting until the first workout
So here we are, exactly three weeks from the day when pitchers and catchers hold their first workout at the spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla. The roster won't be set until the Orioles secure another starting pitcher and left-handed reliever. They could add another bat, perhaps for the bench, though Vladimir Guerrero will continue to cast a large shadow until he finds a home. You would expect more interest in a guy who hit .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBIs last season. Is he still...
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Still pitching for Cantu, wondering about a lefty reliever

Still pitching for Cantu, wondering about a lefty reliever
We can't let the morning escape without another Vladimir Guerrero update. This one barely qualifies, but SI.com's Jon Heyman tweeted that the Orioles and Guerrero haven't talked in two weeks. Again, the Orioles could end up with Guerrero simply because he's lounging in the bargain bin and the discount is too good to ignore, but nothing appears to be imminent. Perhaps that one phone call that changes everything is made this week, but it won't mean that the Orioles were "close" a few...
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Did things change? (updated twice)

Did things change? (updated twice)
I went to bed a little less confident that the Orioles were passing on Vladimir Guerrero as the day's events unfolded. Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez signed with the Rays as part of a unique Scott Boras package deal, and the Blue Jays traded Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. The Rays and Blue Jays became the latest teams to eliminate Guerrero. At first glance, the Angels would still appear to have room for the veteran designated hitter, since Wells is an outfielder,...
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Don't book any plans with Vladimir Guerrero

Don't book any plans with Vladimir Guerrero
So I'm back in the Carroll County Public Library this morning, not far from the Military History section. I also see a Graphic Novels section. I just wonder how graphic we're talking here. My laptop worked for a few hours last night. Like brand new, actually. But sure enough, it's back to its old tricks today. It's playing dead. I shot down the Vladimir Guerrero rumor last night, which might put my entry in the Military History section. However, I expect to field more questions about...
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Quick Vlady update

Quick Vlady update
Before my time runs out on this library computer - 19 minutes and counting - I wanted to address the report that the Orioles have the inside track on signing free-agent outfielder Vladimir Guerrero. I just checked with a team official to see whether something had changed since I was told recently that the Orioles didn't expect to add a designated hitter, and certainly not Guerrero unless his price came tumbling down. I received a text back saying "nope." At this point, it doesn't sound...
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Reminder about spring training tickets

Reminder about spring training tickets
I'm having serious laptop issues. And by "serious," I mean that it stopped working. It does make a neat grinding sound once in a while, but that's about it. So do I, but it depends on the meal. I'm currently using a computer at the Carroll County Public Library. Just seemed easier than blogging on my Blackberry. And yes, it took a busted laptop to get me inside a library. Ewwww, what are all these books doing here? Anyway, I'm getting assistance from the Web studio in moving...
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