Guthrie is asked to return to camp

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

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March 20, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -With Jeremy Guthrie not expected to pitch this weekend for the United States in the final rounds of the World Baseball Classic, the Orioles have asked their No. 1 pitcher to rejoin the club and start preparing for his expected Opening Day start.

"I thought it was time for him to come back and get on his regular turn here," said pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who watched Guthrie allow six runs (two earned) on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings in Team USA's loss to Venezuela at Dolphin Stadium on Wednesday. "I have him tentatively penciled in to pitch [Sunday]. I don't think they really need any starters. In my mind, there is no need for him to be there. He needs to be here, and he needs to pitch."

The Orioles, however, believe WBC rules make it unlikely Guthrie will come back unless the pitcher requests it.

Guthrie has thrown only nine innings this spring. In two outings in the World Baseball Classic, Guthrie has totaled 3 2/3 innings, allowing 10 runs (six earned), 14 hits and two walks while striking out two, giving him an ERA of 14.73. He pitched 2 1/3 innings in a Team USA exhibition game against the Philadelphia Phillies and threw three innings for the Orioles in a Grapefruit League game Feb. 28.

"I'm not worried, but I don't think it's where everybody wants to be," Guthrie said yesterday in a phone interview. "It doesn't discourage me. [Wednesday] was as good as I felt all spring. My preparation has been better. The results just have not. But, hopefully, the strength and command will be where you'd like it to be at the start of the season."

Team USA plays Sunday in the semifinals of the tournament at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. If the Orioles had their way, Guthrie would be pitching for them that day rather than cheering on his WBC teammates. Guthrie, who planned to fly to California with Team USA, acknowledged that he would love to stay with it for the rest of the tournament but has no problem rejoining the Orioles and pitching Sunday or Monday.

"We'd like him to pitch on a regular basis and get in a routine, but I don't know what can be done about it," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "If he is committed and has to stay with Team USA until the end, we'll just have to make do."

Hill not sharp

Orioles starter Rich Hill threw another bullpen session yesterday and reported no pain in his left elbow, but he still didn't feel good about the roughly 60-pitch session. Hill, who has yet to pitch in a Grapefruit League game this season, struggled with his command, even throwing one ball over the head of Kranitz, who was standing in as a batter.

"It wasn't as consistent as the last two," said Hill, who acknowledged that he got a little bit fatigued. "I'm not discouraged by it."

Hill will throw a bullpen session Sunday that will include facing hitters. He could get his first game action Wednesday.

Around the horn

The New York Mets offered Rule 5 reliever Rocky Cherry back to the Orioles, who did not add him. The Mets paid the Orioles $50,000 to select Cherry, and the Orioles could have brought him back for $25,000. ... Hayden Penn, a candidate for a rotation spot, allowed a two-run homer in one inning.

Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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