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The Orioles have appealed Daniel Cabrera's six-game suspension. They want to extend it through 2008.

Cabrera was rushed to the majors, so I expected his maturation as a pitcher -- and a person -- to take a while. But he's 26 years old. He's about to complete his fourth major league season. He should be further along.

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If nothing else, Cabrera will give you innings. That's one of his few appeals. And he pitches well at Yankee Stadium. Let's not forget that one.

So how are we supposed to feel when he squanders an early lead last night and is gone after the fifth, having thrown 113 pitches and allowing 13 baserunners? I expect more from him on Sept. 17. I expect more from him in 2007. And I'm getting less.

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Cabrera's ERA since the break is 6.29. Maybe the Orioles shut down the wrong pitchers.

Pitching coach Leo Mazzone thinks Cabrera is throwing better now than he did in 2006. He sees progress. I see a train wreck, but that's why I'm not a pitching coach.

In a perfect world, you want Erik Bedard to be your No. 1 starter until he's preparing his induction speech. Yes, that means he's been retired for five years, but he's that good.

You want a veteran as your No. 2, followed by Jeremy Guthrie and Adam Loewen. And in this same perfect world, Cabrera is the best No. 5 in baseball. You're driving around town with a bumper sticker on your car that reads: "My No. 5 starter can beat up your No. 5 starter."

You also want Garrett Olson, Radhames Liz and Hayden Penn to make up three-fifths of Triple-A Norfolk's rotation in April. Let them dominate International League hitters and wait their turn.

Let them be more fully developed than Daniel Cabrera.

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