Our countdown to the unofficial start of spring is ticking in the BSR sidebar, as recommended by ‘The Bruz’, and I’m itching for Orioles baseball.
I feel like the hot stove is still cooking, but lots of news has come and gone so I decided to look at the questions the Orioles face heading into Spring Training next week.
The Birds rotation is much more settled than it was going into last season, although anything is better than bringing 37 pitchers into Spring Training. Kevin Millwood is the ace, then the birds have Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, David Hernandez, Jason Berken, and I suppose even Koji Uehara as potential starters. That’s a question mark right there. It appears to be six pitchers fighting for the final three sports in the rotation.
The Orioles brought back Matt Albers, Mark Herndrickson, Jim Johnson, and Kam Mickolio to pitch out of the bullpen. I’m assuming Johnson will pitch out of the set up position as he did before the Orioles traded George Sherrill. Michael Gonzalez was brought in from Atlanta and will be the Orioles new left handed closer according to the skipper Dave Trembley.
Last week the Orioles picked up Will Ohman to a minor league deal. They are still looking for a left handed specialist and Ohman has held left handed hitters to a .204 batting average over 324 appearances with three different NL clubs.
As far as pitchers go I think Matusz and Bergesen should be in the starting rotation. Tillman pitched well and probably has the best chance of locking up that final spot in the rotation. I could definitely see David Hernandez having success out of the bullpen in long relief work, he throws hard but seemed to dwindle in late innings in his 2009 season.
Besides the pitchers, the positions seem to be all set with Garrett Atkins playing first base and Miguel Tejeda moving to third. The only real question is whether Chad Moeller will get the reserve catcher spot, but my guess would be yes.
Who knows though, a lot can happen when the Orioles report to Spring Training. The pitchers and catchers will be there in just over two days. I’m ready for baseball, and especially spring weather.