Back to baseball

If you couldn't stay up long enough to watch the entire NHL All-Star Game (and I sympathize, since it lasted until almost 9:30), the East beat the West 12-11 on a shootout goal by our local hero Alex Ovechkin.



Just an aside, but I've always suspected that they juice the baseballs for the MLB Home Run Derby, ever since one of the home runs in 1993 hit the Domino Sugar sign across the harbor. Now, I'm thinking the NHL is sewing the pucks a little tighter for All-Star weekend.

Before somebody writes to tell me that there are no seams on a hockey puck, let's look ahead to this week in baseball. I mean, there's really nothing else going on the sports world this week, is there?


I'm sure a lot of people are hoping that Brian Roberts comes home from his honeymoon early to get a contract done with the Orioles. I have no reason to think anything will happen this week, but I still believe the O's and Brian need each other and will figure this thing out. Other than that, I have to think that free agent speculation will start to heat up again, if only because time is running short before pitchers and catchers report to Fort Lauderdale.

Don't have a real handle on the pitching situation, but I was kicking it around last night with Jeff Zrebiec and we came to the mutual conclusion that left-hander Mark Hendrickson (right) almost has to end up in the rotation. The Orioles cast him as a potential swingman when the club signed him, but the departure of Garrett Olson leaves him as the most logical lefty to insert into the middle of the pack.

The other candidates, barring a late acquisition, are Brian Burres, Chris Waters and maybe Troy Patton, though it appears the club wants to slowplay Patton after he was set back by injury last year. Right now, the only sure bets for the rotation are Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara. That leaves three spots to fill and you have to assume Dave Trembley will want to have at least one left-hander.

The way I see it -- and there are still 2 1/2 months for things to change -- the rotation will be Guthrie, Uehara, Hendrickson, Hayden Penn (barring a skateboard accident or something) and an ad hoc No. 5 slot that could feature Radhames Liz, newly acquired David Pauley, Waters and maybe even Danys Baez.

Getty Images