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News » Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2009-04-06

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2009-04-06

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2009-04-06
Luke Scott opened spring training explaining why being in the field is crucial to his approach at the plate.

He ended spring training like he began it, as the club's regular designated hitter. But manager Dave Trembley suggested the left-handed slugger could see some time at first base in 2009.

"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 in Washington. "The key with Luke is to get his bat in the lineup."

Scott made 106 appearances in left field in 2008, his first year in Baltimore. But the club acquired former Cubs outfield prospect Felix Pie in a trade during the offseason, and the 24-year-old is expected to get the bulk of the starts in left field.

Another knock against Scott is his inability to hit left-handed pitching. Scott batted .257 with 23 home runs in 2008, but he hit only .215 with five home runs against southpaws. The Orioles signed veteran right-handed slugger Ty Wiggington in the offseason, and the corner infielder/outfielder will take some at-bats away from Scott.

THE ORIOLES WILL CONTEND IF ...: The rest of the American League East is stricken by the injury bug and Matt Wieters is the second coming of Babe Ruth. With upstart Tampa Bay joining perennial powers Boston and New York, the Orioles will have a long road toward preventing a 12th consecutive losing season, let alone reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

PRIMED FOR A BIG SEASON: CF Adam Jones put on 20-plus pounds of sheer muscle during the offseason and entered spring training in terrific shape. He'll get most of his early season at-bats in the No. 2 slot in the order, tucked securely between Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis. The five-tool talent should improve on a .270 average and nine home runs from 2008.

ON THE DECLINE: LHP Jamie Walker is typically relied upon for only one or two batters a game. So when he struggled against left-handed hitters last season, his ERA ballooned to 6.87. The 37-year-old was shut down in September because of elbow discomfort, a rough sign for a bullpen dominated by right-handers.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 6, 2009

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