Meredith, Albers, Mickolio struggle in relief

Performances unlikely to affect Orioles' bullpen plans

March 24, 2010|By Peter Schmuck

JUPITER, Fla. — — Orioles manager Dave Trembley likes to talk about the dogfight 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 during the exhibition season, struggled in one-inning appearances.

Meredith had not allowed a run in his first seven appearances and had surrendered just two hits in six innings, but he gave up 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.

But their so-so outings probably won't change the landscape in the bullpen. All three middle men still have solid numbers after eight Grapefruit League appearances.

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

Roberts update
Brian Roberts could make his 2010 exhibition debut as soon as Friday, but the Orioles are still holding back on any 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 Tuesday, and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells was heading back to Sarasota to evaluate him. No decision is expected on his timetable until after the team returns from the two-day trip to Jupiter.

Sarasota panel OKs stadium funds
The Sarasota County Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve the transfer of $12 million from its general fund to guarantee it can begin construction on the Ed Smith Stadium complex shortly after the Orioles return to Baltimore.

A lawsuit filed by a Sarasota taxpayers group is blocking the commission from floating an $18.7 million bond that would help pay for $31.2 million in requested improvements to the complex. However, the transfer of funds should enable construction to begin in May or June and be finished in time for 2011 spring training.

The commission could borrow an added $6.7 million in a bank loan if necessary.

Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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