Fitful night for Perlozzo

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Veteran manages little sleep heading into first camp as O's skipper

Orioles

February 16, 2006|By DAN CONNOLLY | DAN CONNOLLY,SUN REPORTER

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- No matter what happens this season, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo may already have had his longest night of the year.

"I didn't sleep at all [Tuesday]," said Perlozzo, who is in his first training camp as manager after 19 years as a coach. "I got up at 4 o'clock in the morning and rolled around. Then 5 o'clock, then 5:30, and I said, `Holy cow.' At quarter of 6, I said, `Just give it up.' And I got up."

Perlozzo, who was named interim manager in August when Lee Mazzilli was fired and given the full-time job this winter, will run a team that has had eight straight losing seasons.

But yesterday, when pitchers and catchers officially reported for spring training, Perlozzo refused to entertain negative thoughts.

"I'm going to enjoy it, I really am. It's something I've been wanting to do," he said. "I am looking forward to working with our guys, and we've got a good staff, so it is hopefully something we can do for a long time."

Today is the official first workout for pitchers and catchers, and Perlozzo said he can't wait to see his longtime friend and new pitching coach Leo Mazzone interact with the club's staff.

The rest of the players report Tuesday, but the entire group only will be together until March 1. The following day, as many as 11 Orioles on the 40-man roster -- including four starting pitchers, three catchers and All-Stars Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora -- will leave for their respective World Baseball Classic teams.

Perlozzo said he believes the interruption will not be a problem. In fact, he figures he can deal with nearly anything after the nightmare of 2005, which included a steroids suspension, two trade requests from key players and a drunken-driving arrest of the team's highest-paid pitcher.

"I think I've kind of gotten to a point where those things are gone. It's done," Perlozzo said. "Almost everything we talk about now, we want to talk about these guys."

Tejada to address O's

Although Perlozzo said he does not expect to have a team meeting about Tejada's offseason trade demands, the shortstop said he will address the team when he arrives Tuesday.

"Yeah, I'm going to explain to my teammates what happened, all that happened in the offseason," Tejada said yesterday during a teleconference promoting the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic team.

After playing winter ball in the Dominican, Tejada said, "My body is in great shape, and my mind. I am looking forward to going to spring training."

R. Lopez loses case

Starter Rodrigo Lopez will make $3.75 million for 2006, after an arbitrator ruled in favor of the Orioles yesterday. Lopez and his agent, Scott Boras, had asked for $4.5 million for the right-handed starter, who was 15-12 with a 4.90 ERA in 2005.

It still represents a raise for Lopez, who made $2.575 million in 2005.

H. Russell Smouse, the Orioles' general counsel, is 6-0 in arbitration cases in which he is the lead presenter. The team is 8-1 in arbitration since Peter Angelos assumed club ownership in 1993.

"We feel we had filed at the appropriate figure and this was a case that should be tried if we were unable to get near that figure. The opportunity never presented itself," Smouse said.

The Orioles have one more potential arbitration case looming, that of All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts, who is asking for $3.6 million. The Orioles have countered with $2.4 million. The two sides made progress yesterday and team officials are optimistic an agreement will be reached before Monday's scheduled hearing.

Around the horn

Brooks Kieschnick, the pitcher-outfielder whom the Orioles signed to a minor league contract this winter, informed the club last week that he has decided to retire from baseball. Kieschnick, 33, played in parts of six major league seasons. ... Nonroster pitcher Tyler Yates was assigned to minor league camp to rehab his surgically repaired shoulder, reducing the number of players in camp to 64 -- including 39 on the major league roster. ... Potential closer Chris Ray and outfield prospect Nick Markakis each agreed to a one-year deal.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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