Scott 'an option' for first base

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

April 05, 2009|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,childs.walker@baltsun.com

WASHINGTON -Luke Scott played first base in Thursday's exhibition game and will be an option there during the regular season, Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

"I think he's an option there for us, though I don't think he's the first one by any means," Trembley said before Saturday's exhibition finale against the Washington Nationals. "The key with Luke is to get his bat in the lineup."

With Felix Pie in left field, Scott will probably get most of his at-bats at designated hitter. He has never played first base in the major leagues and ranks behind Aubrey Huff and Ty Wigginton on the club's depth chart.

"Of course, I could probably use more reps and practice to get comfortable there," Scott said. "It's something I haven't done in quite a while."

Asked whether he likes the position, he said, "It's fine."

Scott fielded a ground ball cleanly and started a double play during his exhibition appearance at first. He will get repetitions during pre-game workouts, Trembley said, "in case we need him to step up."

The manager would not say whether the left-handed Scott will appear Monday against New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia.

"I'm not ready to announce my Opening Day lineup," he said.

Trembley said he's pleased that the versatility of players such as Wigginton and Ryan Freel will give him so much flexibility.

"It's a nice problem to have," he said. "We really didn't have that luxury last year."

Zaun returns

Gregg Zaun returned to catching Saturday after missing five spring training games with elbow soreness.

Trembley pronounced the veteran ready to go for the season. "If he wasn't good to go, he wouldn't be playing tonight," the manager said.

Zaun had bone chips removed from his right elbow in the offseason and will need regular days off throughout the season to protect his throwing arm, Trembley said. He's likely to get them once top prospect Matt Wieters makes his way to Baltimore.

Zaun has impressed Trembley with his deep knowledge of pitchers and hitters around the league. "I didn't know he was such a resource," he said.

Mixed finish for Simon

Alfredo Simon, who unexpectedly pitched his way into the No. 3 spot in the rotation this spring , struggled early in his final exhibition start Saturday night.

Simon, who allowed just two earned runs in three previous starts, gave up a grand slam in the first inning to the Nationals' Josh Willingham. He also walked two. Simon recovered, allowing just one hit and one walk over his last 4 1/3 innings.

Trembley said he didn't need to see anything else from the burly Mexican League product, who is expected to start against the Yankees on Thursday.

"He's been a real nice find for us," Trembley said. "Tonight's just a tuneup for him. I hope he throws strikes and gets his pitches up. But the cake's in the oven. We're not changing anything at this point."

Around the horn

Second baseman Brian Roberts said he felt fine after returning to the lineup Friday from an upper-respiratory infection and a sore left oblique. ... The announced attendance at Saturday's Fan Fest at Camden Yards was 10,000.

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