Roch around the clock

ROCH AROUND THE CLOCK

The Kickoff

February 28, 2006

Larry writes: "Does the signing of [Richard] Hidalgo make your move of [Luis] Matos for Todd Walker more likely?"

Well, it's not exactly my move, but if the Orioles want to put me on the payroll, fabulous. I'd say having Hidalgo on the roster makes it much easier to trade Matos. Hidalgo plays all three outfield positions. But the Orioles have said they want to take a longer look at Matos before making any deals. It also becomes easier to pull the trigger on a Javy Lopez trade, if the right offer comes up, because Jeff Conine can play first while Hildago starts in left.

Craig writes: "I'm wondering about the comment you made about David Newhan getting cut. Is that likely? I thought he had finally earned a spot on this team ... especially with us leaning so far to the right (and we know there is nothing good about anything leaning to the right)."

There's no question that Newhan is on the bubble. If Todd Walker shows up, giving the Orioles a left-handed bat for the bench, it seems unlikely that Newhan stays. It also won't help if manager Sam Perlozzo keeps a third catcher. But Newhan is a useful guy on the right team, given his ability to play all three outfield positions and move to the infield. He has hit when given regular at-bats, but he'll have to prove to the Orioles, or somebody else, that he can be productive after sitting. That didn't happen last season, and Perlozzo made mention of it after being named manager.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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