Upbeat Tejada returns `ready to go'

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

He and Cabrera are last back from World Classic

reliever Williams has setback

March 22, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- At long last, manager Sam Perlozzo was able to survey his clubhouse yesterday and see all the key components of the 2006 Orioles together. Shortstop Miguel Tejada and pitcher Daniel Cabrera rejoined the club yesterday after playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

After making his way around the clubhouse to greet several of his teammates, Tejada pronounced himself ready for April 3, the season opener against Tampa Bay.

"I am in a good spot," Tejada said. "I am ready to go. ... I liked to play over there. It was like spring training, too. ... I know it's a little hard because in spring training you just want to be with your team the most time you can. I know it is not easy, but what can you do?"

Tejada started at shortstop in the Orioles' 6-5 victory over the New York Mets at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. He singled in his first at-bat and finished the game 2-for-3.

He said he enjoyed the experience of playing for his country and said he was not disappointed by his team's failure to win the Classic.

"It was tough," said Tejada, who hit .292 in the tournament with no home runs and three RBIs. "We had a good team. There are a lot of guys on our team that were not ready to play, and at the same time, we have to give credit to the other teams that beat us. It's no matter how good your team is. It's not about names. It's about how you play on the field and that's what happened to us."

Cabrera turned in one of the most dominating pitching performances in the Classic, allowing no hits and striking out seven in four innings of the Dominican Republic's 2-1 victory over Venezuela. Tejada said that it's the best he's seen the right-hander pitch.

"I know how good he did is going to be great for me, too, because I am going to be behind him all season," Tejada said.

Cabrera credited new Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone for his performance.

"I tried to do everything Leo told me," Cabrera said. "It's working. He can make a big difference, in where I [was] before and where I am right now. He gives me a lot of confidence. He doesn't try to put too many things in my head. Working with him is really what I need."

DL for Williams?

Reliever Todd Williams' scheduled throwing session from off the mound was postponed yesterday, making it extremely likely that the right-hander will start the season on the disabled list.

Williams, who hasn't pitched this exhibition season first because of a sore right shoulder and now a sore right calf, will have a magnetic resonance imaging test on his lower leg today. He arrived at the stadium still feeling soreness and felt some discomfort while throwing off flat ground.

"There's a good chance that he's not going to be ready [for Opening Day]," Perlozzo said. "It's a precautionary thing. He wants to make sure everything is OK. This will clear his mind and we'll try to get him going as quickly as we can."

Perlozzo and Parcells

When Perlozzo made his way behind home plate yesterday to watch his players take batting practice, he found a familiar face waiting for him. Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells showed up at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, alongside former NFL general manager Ron Wolf, to visit Perlozzo and take in yesterday's game.

Parcells met Perlozzo in the early '90s through Lou Piniella, when the Orioles manager was a first base coach in Cincinnati.

"He met my dad that day and kind of took a liking to my dad and we've been friends ever since," Perlozzo said. "He's fun to talk to. He gives you a little insight on what he does, how he handles things. He says he can get my signs in one inning."

Parcells signed autographs and posed for pictures with several Orioles and then retreated to Perlozzo's office for a chat before the game.

"I guess I just like guys with that competitive nature, that just have a fire in their belly to win and there is nothing acceptable other than going out and winning," Perlozzo said.

Asked how he'd handle Terrell Owens, the controversial wide receiver who signed with Dallas last week, Perlozzo said, "He hasn't done anything wrong yet as far as I know."

Around the horn

Perlozzo held off naming his Opening Day starter yesterday because he didn't have a chance to address his starting pitchers as a group. He'll do so today, with Rodrigo Lopez the likely choice to start on Opening Day. ... The Orioles brought right-handed pitcher Tyler Yates, who has been rehabbing a torn right rotator cuff injury, over from their minor league camp in Sarasota. ... Anna Benson, the model wife of Orioles starting pitcher Kris Benson, attended yesterday's game.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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