Who's on first?

Who's on first?
We still don't know. Orioles manager Dave Trembley remains convinced that the first base situation "will be addressed before spring training," as he wrote in an e-mail to me earlier today. That could mean Garrett Atkins or an acquisition from outside the organization. It doesn't sound like Trembley expects to rummage through the inventory, but he might be playing a hunch. More likely, he's basing that opinion on conversations with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. I've...
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Trembley on Pie

Trembley on Pie
Felix Pie returned to Sarasota before the final out in today's 6-6 tie because George M. Steinbrenner Field doesn't have the necessary X-ray equipment. I thought the Yankees splurged for everything. "They don't think it's anything serious, but they have to get an X-ray," manager Dave Trembley said. "That's standard. If somebody gets hit, they get an X-ray. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it until you find out tomorrow where he's at or you get the word on the X-ray." Expect...
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Lugo's "welcome to the Orioles" moment (w/Pie update)

Lugo's "welcome to the Orioles" moment (w/Pie update)
Julio Lugo's first at-bat with the Orioles came with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game. No pressure. Lugo struck out on four pitches, failing to check his swing on the last one from non-roster reliever Grant Duff, but Robert Andino followed with a two-run single. Orioles 6, Yankees 4. Andino homered yesterday after learning of the trade. Now he's snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning. You figure it out. Pie update: Felix Pie suffered a "lower right leg contusion." He'll...
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Game update

Game update
Alfredo Simon retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced, Mark Teixeira's single the only interruption. Four of the five hits he allowed, and all four runs, came in the first inning. Simon didn't walk a batter and struck out two. His velocity was outstanding. Ross Wolf has replaced Simon. We're not used to seeing him enter a game this early. The Orioles collected seven hits off Andy Pettitte in 4 1/3 innings, including singles by Brian Roberts and Nolan Reimold in the fifth. Naturally,...
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Two observations

Two observations
Alfredo Simon allowed four runs in the first inning and almost took off Derek Jeter's head in the second, but the guy's pumping 97-mph fastballs to home plate. It's easy to forget that Simon underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow 10 months ago. Most guys aren't back on the mound this early. Simon is bringing his best heat. Simon made Jeter look foolish while striking him out on a curveball after flashing that 97-mph fastball. Felix Pie doubled in the second inning...
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Nothing new on Andino (w/game update)

Nothing new on  Andino (w/game update)
No sense teasing you and referring to this entry as an "update." The Orioles don't appear close to finding a trade partner for utility infielder Robert Andino, who became expendable once they acquired Julio Lugo from the St. Louis Cardinals. It's worth noting that the Orioles didn't think they would obtain Lugo until a few days ago. Things can change quickly. Andino is out of options, so he would have to pass through waivers before being outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. And you can...
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Pre-game notes

Pre-game notes
Kam Mickolio made it through a bullpen session without reinjuring his groin, and he'll follow Brad Bergesen to the mound in Sunday's intrasquad game. The game will be closed to the media. The entire complex will be closed to the media. And we're not complaining. The Orioles' roster must be finalized and turned into the MLB office by 3 p.m. Sunday. "I would say we're close," manager Dave Trembley said. "You never know, though. I've been in this game long enough to know things happen...
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Yankees lineup

Yankees lineup
Derek Jeter SS Nick Johnson DH Mark Teixeira 1B Alex Rodriguez 3B Robinson Cano 2B Nick Swisher RF Curtis Granderson CF Brett Gardner LF Mike Rivera C Andy Pettitte LHP
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Running the option

Running the option
One of the more commonly asked questions in spring training involves players who are out of minor league options. You wants names. I want to pass them along to you. It's the perfect storm. It also won't require that you put on a heavy coat and grab a shovel. You can check out this list from mlbtraderumors that contains players who are out of options and have less than five years of service time. They have to clear waivers before being sent down. The Orioles' representatives are Matt...
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The keys to Koji

The keys to Koji
Any reference to the Orioles' bullpen has to include Koji Uehara. And any reference to Koji Uehara has to include a mention of his health. Uehara missed two weeks in spring training with a strained hamstring and went on the disabled list with the same injury in late May. He returned to the disabled list on June 24 with a sore right elbow, later diagnosed as a partial tear of the flexor tendon. The Orioles finally sent him home in September. The last time we checked, Uehara was playing catch...
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Because You Asked - The Final Insult

Because You Asked - The Final Insult
Spring training starts, but the questions won't end. You know them, you need them, you want them, you can't live without them. And you'll keep reheating them and pretending they're fresh. Sort of like the side dishes in the press dining room. No matter how many times I shovel the snow off my sidewalk, the questions are piled much higher. And while no two snowflakes are alike - at least in my personal collection that I keep in a safe deposit box - your inquiries look strangely...
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Postcard from the edge

Postcard from the edge
I have seven weeks to fall in love with Sarasota. Right now, I want to take it out for a nice seafood dinner and never call it again. Let's just say my first impression of the city hasn't been a good one. There's not a lot to see and do on Fruitville Rd., at least the stretch that I've traveled since leaving the airport. I can't imagine that this particular area is a hot tourist attraction unless you're into medical buildings and auto repair shops. In that case, you'll want to keep...
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First sign of spring

First sign of spring
It wasn't much of a challenge to find Ed Smith Stadium today. Just hang a left at the huge sign, complete with the cartoon Oriole bird, which welcomes you to the team's new spring training home. I'm seeing a lot of orange and black around here. That Cincinnati red has been covered up nicely. Jim Johnson just threw off flat ground, with Chad Moeller providing the target. "I'm back home," said Moeller, who trained here with the Reds in 2007. Koji Uehara is jogging in the outfield. And a...
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Arrieta and Mickolio

Arrieta and Mickolio
Jake Arrieta showed up today with a neatly trimmed beard that will be gone tomorrow. Arrieta has thrown about 12 bullpen sessions since Jan. 4. He'll try to squeeze into the rotation, perhaps bumping Chris Tillman from the fifth spot. Assuming Brad Bergesen avoids the disabled list, that would be Arrieta's best shot. "Whether there's an opening or not, I have to do everything I can to come out here and perform to the best of my ability and be confident in myself that all the hard work...
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General info on Patton

General info on Patton
Catcher Caleb Joseph still can't believe that he's in major league camp. He's waiting for someone to pinch him - though that might not be a good idea in the shower area. "All of these names," he said, gazing at the rows of lockers. "It's like Christmas in February." Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman reported to camp earlier today and ducked inside the weight room, which also is much bigger than my townhouse. No more tents set up in the parking lot. Championship banners have been hung...
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Wrapping it up

Wrapping it up
Day One didn't bring any major surprises in camp beyond the drastic differences between the Sarasota and Fort Lauderdale facilities. No more bumping into players inside a crowded clubhouse. No more tents posing as weight rooms. No more contact highs from the gas fumes at the executive airport. It will take some time before I stop shouting my questions to manager Dave Trembley. It wasn't easy being heard over the sound of planes taking off beyond the outfield fence. I can't get used to...
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Sending out another postcard

Sending out another postcard
I've been known to rush into relationships, and I'm ready to pay Sarasota's bills and buy it a sports car. Let's just say the place is growing on me. And fast. It's funny what happens once you venture a few miles from your hotel. If you're heading down here to catch a few spring training games and avoid the next blizzard, you'll want to visit Mediterraneo on Main St., but only if you can handle one of the best Italian meals of your life. Dine at your own risk. I'm listed as...
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The morning scene

The morning scene
Players are lined up in the clubhouse to take their physicals before the first workout. Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman arrived together again today, and they walked out together to grab breakfast. They stretched on the field together yesterday. You could say they're inseparable. Reliever Wilfrido Perez said his left arm is fine after he underwent surgery over the summer to remove bone chips from his elbow. Perez will compete for the job of lefty specialist, but I'm still guessing that he...
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Pie and Jones report

Pie and Jones report
Felix Pie and Adam Jones have reported to camp, joining the pitchers and catchers who are required to be here. Pie missed the last nine games after straining his left quadriceps muscle, and the healing process has been painfully slow. He's been in Sarasota for 1 1/2 months and finally is able to run sprints. "My leg is completely better," he said. "It took me like five months to be ready. Every time I'd start to run, it hurt, but it doesn't hurt anymore. "I'm ready to do my...
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Simon says...

Simon says...
After undergoing Tommy John surgery during the first week of May, right-hander Alfredo Simon has thrown off a mound twice and doesn't expect to be under any restrictions. Simon believes that he's ready to compete for a spot on the 12-man pitching staff - that's the number we're figuring until we're told otherwise - but the odds are stacked against him.
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