Revenge a dish best tossed fast

Hit batters like staff's retaliation

Cabrera named as No. 2 starter

March 27, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN REPORTER

FORT MYERS, FLA. -- It could have been pure coincidence that in the same inning shortstop Miguel Tejada was hit by a pitch Sunday, Orioles starter Jaret Wright drilled St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy.

Wright said he didn't hit Kennedy on purpose, and the circumstances in the game back that claim. By hitting Kennedy, the veteran loaded the bases with no outs.

But the Orioles also know what they are getting in Wright, who has a reputation of protecting his teammates. That's a quality several players welcome after a year in which the Orioles were hit by pitches 73 times, tied for fifth most in the majors. Orioles pitchers hit 48 batters, the third fewest.

"There were certainly a few times last year where I thought teams were taking advantage of us," manager Sam Perlozzo said. "Like I said, I don't feel like I should have to go tell somebody. That's not right. I don't think I'll have to do that this year. Sometimes you just have to do it. When you don't do it, the players lose a little confidence in you. It's all part of the game. Everybody protects their people."

Perlozzo said he didn't think Wright hit Kennedy on purpose, but acknowledged there are times when it is necessary.

"I think we'll be better at that," he said. "I'm not a head hunter by any stretch. Sometimes you need to take care of your guys if we get hit intentionally from somebody and they take a shot at us. That is part of the game."

Designated hitter Jay Gibbons said he didn't notice it last year, but he does remember times in past seasons when he felt Orioles hitters were hit on purpose and there was no retribution.

"I think it is big when pitchers have your back," he said. "If someone like Miguel Tejada gets hit and it looks on purpose, who is to say that the other guy shouldn't get the same?"

Rotation set

Perlozzo confirmed yesterday that, barring a late injury to one of his starters, Daniel Cabrera will pitch the second game of the season in Minnesota, followed by Wright in the finale of the series against the Twins.

Adam Loewen will open the New York Yankees series, with No. 5 starter Steve Trachsel and Opening Day starter Erik Bedard going against the Yankees in games 2 and 3.

Bedard, Cabrera, Loewen and Trachsel likely will pitch about three innings each in their next exhibition starts, though Perlozzo said he wants to get five innings from Wright, who hasn't pitched more than four this spring.

Donachie gone

The Orioles sent Rule 5 catcher Adam Donachie back to the Kansas City Royals after a deal couldn't be worked out between the teams. The Orioles acquired Donachie in December when they swapped Rule 5 selections with the Philadelphia Phillies.

As a Rule 5 selection, Donachie had to stay on the 25-man roster the whole season. After he cleared waivers, the Orioles tried to keep the 22-year-old in the organization, but the Royals wanted one of their top prospects or major league relievers in return. Donachie hit .250 this spring with one home run and four RBIs.

"He was a good young kid," Perlozzo said. "He came in here and played very well, caught well and in an organization where we need some more catching, we would have liked to have kept him."

Around the horn

The Orioles plan to send only three regulars to Viera for the split-squad game against the Washington Nationals tomorrow and will use only minor league pitchers in the game. ... Scheduled to bat leadoff and play center field yesterday, Adam Stern was scratched from the lineup because he was sick.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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