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Baltimore Orioles Roster Report 2009-03-29


Baltimore Orioles Roster Report 2009-03-29
The Orioles' roster on Opening Day will be much different than the one that takes the field in July, let alone in 2010. The starting rotation has only two guaranteed members, and the starting lineup has two veteran hitters -- Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora -- in the final year of their respective contracts. The highlight of the 2009 season will be the impending promotion of top prospect Matt Wieters, a 22-year-old switch-hitting catcher who is due in Baltimore before June.

ROTATION:

RHP Jeremy Guthrie

RHP Koji Uehara

LHP Mark Hendrickson

RHP Adam Eaton

RHP Hayden Penn

ROTATION ANALYSIS: After Guthrie and Uehara, there are no assurances. Manager Dave Trembley prefers Hendrickson in the bullpen, but he might not have a choice. Eaton is a stopgap, and the No. 5 spot was up in the air in the final week, with Penn, Brian Bass and Alfredo Simon in the running.

Top prospects Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz probably are a year away from contributing, but RHP Brad Bergesen could join the mix by late spring.

BULLPEN:

LHP George Sherrill (closer)

RHP Chris Ray

RHP Jim Johnson

RHP Dennis Sarfate

LHP Jamie Walker

RHP Matt Albers

RHP Danys Baez

RHP Brian Bass

BULLPEN ANALYSIS: A weakness only three years ago, the Orioles bullpen might be the club's greatest strength in 2009. After a break-out debut, All-Star closer George Sherrill has a formidable two-inning bridge before him, with former Orioles closer Chris Ray and Jim Johnson from the right side and left-hander Jamie Walker as a situational short reliever. There were two spots open in spring training, and those slots might be filled on a rotational basis throughout the summer.

LINEUP:

1. 2B Brian Roberts

2. CF Adam Jones

3. RF Nick Markakis

4. 1B Aubrey Huff

5. 3B Melvin Mora

6. DH Luke Scott

7. C Gregg Zaun

8. LF Felix Pie

9. SS Cesar Izturis

LINEUP ANALYSIS: The Orioles are fast and athletic, particularly at the top and bottom of the order. The lineup is lacking a right-handed slugger in the middle of the lineup, which is dominated by the left-handed bats of Markakis, Huff and Scott. If Huff can duplicate his .304 average, 32 home runs and 108 runs batted in, the Orioles will have a lineup built to compete.

Roberts, Jones, Markakis, Izturis and Pie each have the ability to steal 20 or more bases. Jones, who put on strength in the offseason, could flip-flop with Mora in the lineup if his power numbers improve from his first full big-league season.

The lineup will improve with the May or June addition of top prospect Matt Wieters. He likely will bat in the lower third of the order to start, a la Nick Markakis in his rookie year of 2006, but his future is as a No. 3, 4 or 5 hitter.

RESERVES:

1B/3B Ty Wiggington

C Chad Moeller

INF/OF Ryan Freel

RESERVES ANALYSIS: The Orioles are more versatile than they have been in more than a decade. Wiggington and Freel combine to cover every position but shortstop and catcher. Moeller will back up Zaun until Wieters is recalled. By carrying 13 pitchers, the Orioles must rely on Freel as the emergency shortstop.

ROOKIE WATCH: C Matt Wieters showed a glimpse of what the next half-decade will look like in Baltimore, batting .343 in spring training before being re-assigned to Class-AAA Norfolk. 2B Justin Turner put himself on the radar, batting .375 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in his first spring training after coming to Baltimore in a trade with Cincinnati. RHP Brad Bergesen had a 3.09 ERA with 11 strikeouts and one walk in 11 2/3 innings and will be recalled from Norfolk at some point in 2009.

MEDICAL WATCH:

LHP John Parrish (small tear in left shoulder) will not pitch in 2009.

RHP Jim Johnson (sore right shoulder) was shut down during spring training but is back on track for Opening Day.

RHP Danys Baez (ligament-transplant surgery, right elbow) seems fully recovered and will factor into the Orioles bullpen. He'll be more of a long reliever than a short, power arm.

RHP Chris Ray (ligament-transplant surgery, right elbow) will pitch in the eighth and, occasionally, ninth innings after missing the 2008 season. His velocity has been close to his pre-surgery mid-90s.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 29, 2009

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