Roch Around the Clock

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December 28, 2005|By ROCH KUBATKO

Athlon magazine has asked me to assist it again with its Orioles preview. The deadline is Dec. 28. Hence, my problem. I can turn in my copy on time, but imagine what it's going to look like. I have to give a projected lineup, rotation, bullpen and bench. And I don't want to make the Orioles look like the '62 Mets. ...

I'm thinking this preview should be rated PG-13 to protect impressionable young children. If the season started today, I guess Jeff Conine would be the left fielder, Walter Young the first baseman and Javy Lopez the designated hitter. Or maybe Young is the DH and Lopez plays first. Or maybe they should have brought back B.J. Surhoff. Heck, Eric Byrnes would look pretty good right now.

The rotation? I have Rodrigo Lopez, Daniel Cabrera, Erik Bedard and Bruce Chen in the first four slots. It's a tossup whether John Maine or Hayden Penn is No. 5.

The bullpen has two left-handers with B.J. Ryan and Steve Kline gone: Tim Byrdak and Eric DuBose. Remember that Byrdak hadn't been in the majors since 2000 before the Orioles purchased his contract on July 2. DuBose isn't that far removed from surgery and a DUI.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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