Middle relief puts on middling performance vs. Marlins

March 23, 2010|By Peter Schmuck | peter.schmuck@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

JUPITER, Fla. — Orioles manager Dave Trembley likes to talk about the "dogfight" going on for roster spots in the bullpen, but it wasn't apparent after Jeremy Guthrie left the mound in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Florida Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

Cla Meredith and Matt Albers, two of the middle relief candidates who have been the most effective throughout the exhibition season, struggled in their one-inning appearances.

Meredith had not allowed a run in his first seven appearances and had allowed just two hits in six innings, but he allowed two runs on two hits and a hit batsman in the sixth inning. Albers allowed a pair of doubles for a run in the seventh and Kam Mickolio walked two in the eighth.

Those so-so outings probably won't change the landscape in the bullpen, however. All three middlemen still have solid numbers after eight Grapefruit League appearances.

Roberts update

Brian Roberts could make his 2010 exhibition as soon as Friday, but the Orioles are still holding back on any firm timetable.

"He hit good the other day," manager Dave Trembley said. "I'm hoping to get him in by the end of the week."

Trembley said Roberts went through another full workout on Tuesday, and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells was heading back to Sarasota on Tuesday to evaluate him. No decision is expected on his timetable until after the entire team returns from the two-day trip to Jupiter.

Uehara says he'll be ready

Trembley said that Koji Uehara has assured him and pitching coach Rick Kranitz that he'll be ready to pitch on Opening Day.

"He said the command is there, the arm strength is there," Trembley said. "He's confident he's going to be ready. Kranny asked him if he had to pitch right now, could he pitch. He said yes, though obviously, you don't want to do that."

Outfield shuffle

The Orioles lineup against the Marlins included every projected starting position player except Roberts, but Nolan Reimold was in the leadoff spot as the designated hitter. Luke Scott was in left field, Adam Jones was in center and Nick Markakis in right.

The outfield for Wednesday's game against the Cardinals will feature an outfield of Reimold, Felix Pie and Lou Montanez.

"I'm going to try to get them going as much as nine innings tomorrow," Trembley said.

Club officials may be watching Reimold closely when he tries to go the distance in left field. He's still working through some soreness in his surgically repaired heel but has shown some improved mobility over the past week or so.

"We're going to find out a little better tomorrow when he plays the outfield," Trembley said. "He's been better since he got the orthotics [custom shoe inserts]. The first few days of camp didn't look very pretty."

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