Roch Around the Clock

ROCH AROUND THE CLOCK

The Kickoff

March 20, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

Cleaning out my notebook:

Erik Bedard had no plans to call his parents Sunday and give them the news that he was named Opening Day starter. Why make a big deal about it? "They'll probably read it on the Internet or something," he said.

Jimmy Key was, indeed, the last left-hander to start for the Orioles on Opening Day, in 1997.

Hal McRae, now the hitting coach in St. Louis, recently told Buck Martinez that Aubrey Huff will be the best hitter in the league in August and September.

The Orioles still intend to use Chris Gomez as a late-inning defensive replacement at first base, which speaks volumes about their defense at first base.

One improvement the Orioles are seeking defensively: getting Melvin Mora in better position at third base. They ranked among the league leaders last year in allowing infield hits, most of them to Mora's side. New third base coach Juan Samuel, who works with the infielders, is trying to correct this problem.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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