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Dump Mora? Not so fast.

Melvin Mora has not been himself for the past month or so, but it's premature to start clamoring for the club to release him and (a) play Ty Wigginton there full time; (b) play Oscar Salazar there; or (c) move Aubrey Huff over there to make room at first for Luke Scott or surging minor league prospect Brandon Snyder.

Don't give up on Melvin just yet. He hasn't hit for power in awhile, but he appears to be heating up and he still is -- easily -- the best defensive option at third base. Defense matters, even on a team that isn't in contention, because it makes your pitching staff better and affects the development of your young arms.

The Orioles hold an option on Melvin's contract for the 2010 season. If he stays on pace to bat .250 and drive in 44 runs over the whole season, you start experimenting in late August and September and don't consider keeping him for that extra year. I'm going to go out on a limb, however, and predict he makes that decision harder than you think.

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