Perlozzo said he expected the team to convene and discuss Palmeiro's return.

"I would assume at some point in time we will talk about it, whether it is Raffy talking to them about it or me talking to them or them talking to each other with Raffy," the manager said. "I am sure there will be something going on."

The challenge for the Orioles is to remain focused even as fans boo and the clubhouse is occupied by "reporters we have never seen before," Gibbons said.

Said Perlozzo: "For us to be a real team, I mean a real team, we're going to have to stick together, flat out going to have to stick together somehow. And it is going to be our jobs to make sure that happens. I'm not going to say it is going to be easy one bit. We're going to get boos, we are going to hear the calls and we are going to have to get over it."

Some fans have said in Internet fan forums that Palmeiro should retire. But Perlozzo said he told Palmeiro he wanted him back this season. "I am expecting him to walk in the door tomorrow," the manager said.

As it investigates Palmeiro, the congressional committee isn't trying to push him into an early retirement.

"Baseball needs tougher [steroid] penalties, but I do not think Palmeiro should retire," said panel member Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican. "The point is that it's time to clean up baseball's drug policy, not clean out its rosters."

If he is to play well, Palmeiro - and his teammates - are going to have to block out fans' taunts.

"I think professional athletes are very good at compartmentalizing negative developments," said David Carter, president of the Sports Business Group in Los Angeles. "I truly think the ability to do that is a skill."

It may get tougher when the Orioles leave Camden Yards.

"What's it going to be like when he hits the road? The road is going to hit back," Carter said. "They're going to have some fun with him."