Tejada enjoys reunion

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Playing on Dominican team, shortstop says 'it's always good' to see former O's teammates

March 05, 2009|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -Former Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada was fashionably late to Fort Lauderdale Stadium yesterday, but he still had time before the game between the Orioles and the Dominican national team to reminisce about his days in Baltimore.

"It's always good to come back and play against the Orioles and see all my old teammates," said Tejada, who started at third base in the absence of Alex Rodriguez. "Last year, when I played against them during the season, it was kind of a little bit strange. But I was happy to come back. The Orioles are still on my mind."

Tejada said he stays in touch with Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts and got to see Jay Gibbons when the Dominican team played the Florida Marlins on Tuesday. He applauded the Orioles for signing Roberts to a long-term contract.

"It's pretty nice for the Orioles and good for Brian," he said. "They are going to have the big boy for a long time."

Clearly, he has no hard feelings toward the Orioles, who traded him to the Houston Astros last winter for Luke Scott, Troy Patton, Matt Albers, Dennis Sarfate and Mike Costanzo.

"I always enjoyed to be with the Orioles," Tejada said. "I'm a free agent this year. You never know. I might come back."

Tejada didn't say much about his legal issues - last month, he pleaded guilty to lying to congressional investigators - or his connection to baseball's steroid scandal, except to say all of it has made him care even more about the sport.

"I enjoy the game more than I used to, because I know I'm a strong guy. I [used to] let whatever happened off the field [bother him], but I don't let it affect me on the field. Now I love the game and I respect the game more than I used to."

Eaton on Eaton

Newly signed pitcher Adam Eaton underwent his physical yesterday and took a few minutes to talk about his expectations for the coming season. He's hoping the switch from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Orioles will help him revive a career that hit the rocks the past three years.

"I look forward to getting acquainted with Camden Yards," he said. "From what I understand, it's a little bit bigger than Citizens Bank, so it should be a little bit more relaxing to know that there's a little more grass out there on the outfield. And, obviously, you guys know that the defense that they put out on the field is second to none, so I'm looking forward to that."

Manager Dave Trembley said Eaton's experience will not give him any advantage over the other candidates for the rotation, but Eaton seemed confident there will be a starting job for him if he pitches well.

"With their interest in me, I think I have a good shot," he said. "They wouldn't be interested in me if they didn't think I had a shot. I respect that and appreciate the fact that I will have a shot."

Eaton will throw a bullpen session today, and then the club will determine where he fits into the exhibition rotation. He last pitched a week ago.

Hendrickson sore

Yesterday's injured pitcher was Mark Hendrickson, who was scratched from his scheduled appearance today with a sore back. Trembley said Hendrickson estimated he would need a couple of days to rest it.

In other injury news, Rich Hill said his elbow swelling has subsided and he'll resume throwing today.

Simon finally in camp

Pitcher Alfredo Simon has arrived in camp after a long and winding trip through the work visa process. He's off to a late start in the competition for places on Trembley's 12- or 13-man pitching staff, but there's still plenty of time for him to get a decent look from the coaching staff.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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