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The NFL and the Atlanta Falcons have come up with a clever way to punish Michael Vick: Hire Lindsay Lohan to be his chauffeur.

Perhaps the Orioles have discovered the key to allowing Daniel Cabrera to reach his potential: Limit his throwing between starts.

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Cabrera threw only one side session instead of the usual two before holding Tampa Bay to one hit over seven innings last night. Cabrera did some extra running, but limiting his bullpen work seemed to make a difference - at least for one night.

Cabrera's fastball stayed in the 96-97 mph range throughout the game. He also mixed in an effective curveball. He trusted his stuff, with catcher Ramon Hernandez setting up in the middle of the plate and Cabrera letting it fly.

Dave Trembley is 16-13 as interim manager. The Orioles are only eight games below .500 for the first time since June 14.

Stop the nonsense and announce that he'll manage through the remainder of the 2007 season. See who's available and interested over the winter, but make Trembley the frontrunner. Somebody will have to prove more worthy.

Retreads need not apply. The same is true of anyone with zero experience at this level. If you're going that route, keep Trembley. I can live without Joey Cora calling the shots.

Of course, Trembley's job will become much tougher if the Orioles make a trade that weakens the current lineup. They've been known to go into an August swoon.

Scouts from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins attended last night's game, though that doesn't mean they were all focused on the Orioles.

Perhaps the Braves are interested in Kevin Millar. They just signed Julio Franco, but they might be headed toward a youth movement.

John Maine homered last night and won his 11th game - his first since the break. Let's all have a group cringe.

Paul Shuey shared an amusing Cal Ripken anecdote with me yesterday. As a young reliever, he tried to throw inside to Ripken during a game in Baltimore - with The Streak still alive and Lou Gehrig still holding the record.

Bad idea.

"It was an eighth-inning situation, a normal count, so I figured that I'd run one up and in," he said. "I did it, and I thought I was going to get killed. I thought I was going to get murdered. I never heard a stadium rise to its feet so fast. I thought, 'Oh, what did I do?' I'm out there talking to myself.

"I was young and just trying to get people out and not really considering exactly what was going on and who you were facing, but I got a real good reminder that day. Sometimes, you've got to pay attention."

Nice quote from Melvin Mora concerning Ripken:

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"I don't think you can compare Cal to anyone. As a player, he's the best I've seen. As a person, he's the best I've seen."

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