O's consider signing Dotel

ORIOLES NOTEBBOK

January 15, 2008|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

Though the Orioles don't consider finding a closer to be a top priority this winter, they have been talking with the representative for free-agent reliever Octavio Dotel.

Team president Andy MacPhail spoke again with Danny Horwitz a few days ago. Neither side will disclose specifics, but the Orioles are believed to be exploring a one-year deal.

Dotel, 34, went 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA and 11 saves with the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves last season. The Orioles consider him an option to replace Chris Ray, who is expected to miss the entire 2008 season after undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow.

Horwitz said he continues to talk with five teams "on a regular basis."

"He's had the ability to have a deal for a while now, but we're still gathering information from other clubs and going back and forth," Horwitz said. "I'd hope by the end of the week, we'll have a deal done."

Dotel, who earned $5 million last season, has gone 39-32 with a 3.76 ERA and 82 saves in 428 games over nine seasons. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2005 and has been limited to 56 innings the past three years.

MacPhail and manager Dave Trembley prefer a veteran closer to a young, unproven reliever. They're also considering Greg Aquino, who saved 16 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004. The Orioles claimed him off waivers in December.

Loewen appears sound -- The training staff checked out Adam Loewen yesterday at Camden Yards, and his left elbow and shoulder didn't bring any immediate concerns. Executive vice president Mike Flanagan spoke with Loewen earlier in the day and said the projected No. 3 starter appeared to be in "great shape." Loewen had a screw inserted in his left elbow June 14 to repair a fracture and didn't resume throwing until a month ago, which could explain some earlier tightness in his shoulder. "He's worked really hard at rehabbing," Flanagan said. "He's done everything you could ask him to do."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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