Go to bullpen, club tells Baez

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

5 choices for 3 spots in rotation

Hill wild

March 26, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -The Orioles continued to whittle down the candidates for their rotation Wednesday, informing Danys Baez that if he makes the team, it will be out of the bullpen. The decision leaves five candidates - Hayden Penn, Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon and Brian Bass - competing for three spots.

"I can't tell you where he's going to pitch in the bullpen, but I know we're going to try to do the best we can to not overuse him and bring him along," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

Penn will fill Baez's spot for now and start Thursday against the Florida Marlins, his first start this spring.

Baez, who missed all last season after having ligament-reconstruction surgery in his right elbow, went 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA in four Grapefruit League starts. He allowed 13 hits and five walks in 13 innings.

"I think I did the best I could to be part of the rotation," Baez, 31, said. "It's just one of those things that is out of my control. That's a management decision."

Baez, an eight-year veteran, hasn't started in the big leagues since 2002 with the Cleveland Indians. However, he asked the club for an opportunity to start because he thought it would be easier for his elbow to respond if he had four days between appearances.

"The only thing I've got to work on is pitching back-to-back," Baez said. "I don't know if I can do that now, but we have to work on it."

Baez does have an option remaining, but as a veteran of five seasons or more, he would have to approve a minor league assignment.

Hill wild in debut

Orioles left-hander Rich Hill, who will begin the season on the disabled list after being slowed by elbow problems, had a rather eventful outing in Wednesday's intrasquad game. Facing hitters for the first time in a game setting, Hill allowed three runs on two hits, a walk and two hit batsmen over two innings. The first four Orioles he faced reached base, including Luke Scott, who hit a towering three-run homer to center field.

Hill threw 28 pitches in the first inning but needed just seven to get out of a scoreless second inning. "I threw strikes and went after guys," Hill said. "Now, I just need to get as many reps as possible. Overall, it was a positive day."

Eight sent packing

The Orioles trimmed their spring training roster Wednesday to 40 players. The Orioles optioned pitchers Chris Waters, Kam Mickolio and Bob McCrory to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigned infielders Justin Turner and Donnie Murphy, outfielder Justin Christian and injured pitchers John Parrish and Brad Hennessey to minor league camp.

Turner, who was acquired in the offseason trade that sent catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Cincinnati Reds, hit .342 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

"I'd like to think that I opened some eyes here," Turner said. "I was just taking advantage of some opportunities and hopefully somewhere down the road, they'll remember me."

Around the horn

Second baseman Brian Roberts was sent home a second straight day because he was sick. ... Scott had two home runs in the intrasquad game and Ty Wigginton hit a three-run shot.

Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

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