FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- At this time last year, Chris Ray was one of the biggest story lines during the Orioles' spring training. Not only was he in his first major league camp, but he also was being asked to take over the closer's role from departed All-Star B.J. Ryan.
But after a solid 2006, when Ray had 33 saves in 38 opportunities and a 2.73 ERA, he has managed to maintain a low profile since arriving last week. Much of the attention has been on the Orioles' four relief additions, all of whom were brought in to set up Ray.
"I don't mind that at all," Ray said. "I still do the occasional interview and stuff, but I don't feel like I have to justify them putting me in that closer role. I am just enjoying myself. I can go out there and do my business and I don't have to worry about that kind of stuff."
Ray said he has talked with all of the Orioles' relief additions - Danys Baez, Chad Bradford, Scott Williamson and Jamie Walker - and that the bullpen has already started to form a bond.
Orioles relievers last season had a 5.25 ERA, second worst in the American League. Ray, 25, was about the only positive from the 2006 bullpen, though he says he grew tired down the stretch as manager Sam Perlozzo often asked him to secure more than one-inning saves.
"I think toward the end, my arm was dropping down a little bit and that was probably due to my shoulder getting a little bit tired," he said. "I did more strength training this offseason."
Perlozzo talks with Trebelhorn
Perlozzo yesterday spoke to his bench coach Tom Trebelhorn, who left the team Monday and returned home to Arizona to be with his wife, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth "Bo" Black, 61, underwent surgery after suffering a stroke this week, her family said in a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The stroke was caused by a ruptured aneurysm in the posterior part of her brain, the statement said.
She is in critical condition at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, a hospital spokesman told the Journal Sentinel.
A `different' Tejada
In the two days after his declaration that he would be a "different Miguel," Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada has been true to his word. Not only has Tejada been one of the first position players to report to Fort Lauderdale Stadium the past two mornings and the most vocal player during drills and batting practice, but he also has been the last one to leave the field.
Tejada has been doing individual workouts after team workouts. Yesterday, as Perlozzo was doing his post-workout interview with the media, Tejada was running up and down the bleachers under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach Jay Shiner.
"He's having fun again. He's excited," Perlozzo said.