SARASOTA, Fla. -- For John Oates, the biggest difference between spring training now and when he broke in as a player in the late 1960s is simple.
"The days of guys sitting around all winter eating hot dogs and drinking beer, then getting in shape after they report, are gone," said Oates. "Conditioning is now a 12-month job -- and if you don't do it, you get left behind."
Having said that, Oates commented on the physical appearance of the 28 pitchers and catchers who participated in the Orioles' first workout yesterday.
"I saw one guy who looked like he might have seven or eight extra pounds," said Oates. "But I won't say who it is, because I haven't seen the chart and I'm not sure.
"Nobody else is overweight, and several of them are lighter and look like they're in great shape."
Oates was particularly impressed by right-hander Bob Milacki, who weighed in at 224, about 15 pounds fewer than his playing weight last year. "Having a more confident Milacki is one reason why I think we can expect our starting pitching to be better," said Oates.
"He's gone through stages of pitching well , struggling with some injuries  and then pitching well again [the second half of last season]. I think he'll come into this season with a lot more confidence, and he looks like he's done a good job of preparing himself for the season."
Fresh from an arbitration victory that set his 1992 salary at $1.18 million, Milacki comes into spring training as the club's unofficial No. 1 starter. "I've been throwing [at his Arizona winter home] since December," said Milacki, "and I feel good. I'm going to try to stay at this weight all year."
All of the pitchers in camp threw for 10 minutes yesterday, and will do the same today. "After that we'll separate the ones who are the most advanced, and that group will throw again Sunday," said Oates.
From that point, 11 pitchers will throw every other day leading to the exhibition season. Oates plans to play two intrasquad games before the Orioles leave their training facility here March 5 and set up in St. Petersburg, which will serve as their home base for preseason play.
Dwight Evans and Glenn Davis, the only position players the Orioles requested permission to have in camp early, participated in yesterday's workout.
"Dewey [Evans] missed a lot of time last year because of his Achilles' injury," said Oates. "He needs to get in shape, and he needs to go slower [than the rest of the players].
"We have to realize he's not 25 any longer -- but he can be a valuable part of our club. I don't need him March 6, but I may need him April 6.
"And I just thought that, because of the time he missed last year, it was important for Glenn to be here."
In order for position players (other than catchers) to participate in official early workouts, teams must get permission from the commissioner's office, usually a routine procedure. The Orioles had also received permission for Worthington to report early before trading him earlier in the week.