Williams still question mark

Orioles notebook

Injuries persist for frustrated O's reliever


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- For the first time this spring, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo acknowledged that it is becoming more and more possible that right-handed reliever Todd Williams will not be ready for the start of the season.

Williams, who was perhaps the Orioles' top reliever last season aside from closer B.J. Ryan, hasn't pitched at all this spring after departing the Orioles' second workout with soreness in his throwing shoulder. His shoulder significantly improved, and he was expected to throw batting practice earlier this week, but he was shut down because of a sore right calf muscle.

"I'll admit that's starting to worry me a little bit, that he could not be ready in time, or at least not to where I am comfortable," Perlozzo said. "I would think that after [Monday's day off], if Todd is not ready to do something, we're obviously real borderline then."

Williams said that he has never had a calf injury, so he's unsure how it will feel by early next week.

"I worked my butt off, killing myself to get my shoulder ready," Williams said. "I get it ready, and the calf came from me trying to get it loose. I know Sammy is probably frustrated, but there is nobody more frustrated than I am. It's been a bad-luck spring. I just want to get over this and get over the hump, get totally healthy and move on."

Williams said that he plans to err on the side of caution, rather than push himself back without being fully healthy.

"I just know that if I try a violent push-off, [the calf muscle] tightens up pretty good," Williams said. "And I think by doing that, I aggravate it. I am just trying to do as little as possible to aggravate the area. It's just really, really frustrating. I want to be out there for the team. I want to be ready."

Roberts raring to go

Perlozzo approached Brian Roberts yesterday and asked the rehabbing second baseman if he'll be ready to make his spring debut Tuesday. The Orioles manager got the answer he was looking for.

"I said, `Are we still on target for the 21st?' and he said, `Believe it,'" Perlozzo said. "That's the words I've been looking for from him for a while. It put a smile on my face."

Beltway rivalry

Yesterday's game between the Orioles and Nationals was the second of five exhibitions the two teams will play this season, including a home-and-home series at RFK Stadium and Camden Yards on March 31 and April 1.

Perlozzo said that he doesn't think that all the exhibition meetings will take the luster off the home-and-home series the teams will play in the regular season.

"These games are spring training games," Perlozzo said. "Obviously, early on, there weren't many of our guys here. Basically, they don't count. When there are 45,000 people sitting in the stands and the game counts, it's a different story."

Around the horn

The Orioles were expected to make some roster cuts yesterday, but Perlozzo said the decisions might be held off until Tuesday. ... Rodrigo Lopez and Geronimo Gil are expected to rejoin the team today after playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Perlozzo said that Lopez will likely pitch tomorrow. ... The Orioles are holding ballboy and ballgirl tryouts for the 2006 season today at Camden Yards at 9 a.m., and Tag Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fans interested in purchasing a full-season plan or a mini-plan can select from seats that are tagged and available throughout the ballpark.


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