Roch around the clock

ROCH AROUND THE CLOCK

The Kickoff

March 27, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO

A source tells me the Orioles have placed catcher Geronimo Gil on waivers, and if he goes unclaimed, they could remove him from the 40-man roster and outright him. And if he's claimed, they don't believe they've lost much. He hasn't drawn much interest around baseball.

I'm hearing the Orioles are willing to go with two catchers now, making Javy Lopez the backup to starter Ramon Hernandez. The team risks losing the designated hitter if Lopez begins a game in that role and has to replace Hernandez in the late innings, but how often would that be an issue? And if he must shift from first to catcher, they have plenty of other players who could replace him.

Not keeping a third catcher would free up a spot for another player, perhaps enabling them to keep an extra outfielder as insurance in case Nick Markakis struggles or Jeff Conine or Kevin Millar is injured. They're still interested in acquiring another outfielder, but teams want their young pitching, and they're hesitant to part with it.

It's becoming more likely that Markakis starts in center field. And I heard again how the Orioles have grown disenchanted with Corey Patterson and would like to move him, though his contract and brief stay in the organization make it difficult.

Patterson came to the Orioles expecting to start in center field, but it looks as though Markakis has moved ahead of him. Starting in left field today, Patterson couldn't run down Carlos Delgado's towering fly ball near the left-field line, and it dropped in for a single.

"I see a deflated guy," an official from outside the organization told me recently.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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