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If someone had told me before the season that Luis Hernandez would be batting .243 in the second week of May, I would have assumed that the Orioles were thrilled with him - or the person passing along the news had to blow into a tube before starting his car. But Hernandez was a liability at shortstop because he had to play so deep to compensate for his deficiencies and an apparent erosion of confidence in the field. It was costing the Orioles runs, and it became too much for manager Dave Trembley.

If Hernandez had another minor league option remaining, I still believe Eider Torres would have been sent back to Triple-A Norfolk. Though not the second coming of Ozzie Smith, Hernandez is more capable of backing up Freddie Bynum at short.

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Cal Ripken is coming back to Camden Yards, but not to play shortstop. He'll be joined Monday by his brother, Bill, the staff of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Baltimore and members of area law enforcement to celebrate the final stop of the 2008 Play Ball Tour For Kids. The event will feature a clinic and Quickball demonstration.

Somebody tackle Cal and keep him there so he's more of a presence at Camden Yards. Billy, too. And anybody seen Brooks lately?

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Steve Trachsel needs a solid start tonight, and he's facing the right team. He allowed two runs in 16 innings against the Royals last season. If Trachsel is knocked around tonight, it's hard to justify keeping him in the rotation.

Former Oriole Sidney Ponson was fined an undisclosed amount for his actions during last night's bench-clearing incident in Seattle. Richie Sexson has been suspended six games and fined for "violent and aggressive actions" - a phrase that also describes his approach to hitting.

Down on the farm, Luis Montanez and Jeff Nettles hit back-to-back homers last night for Double-A Bowie. Montanez has five homers this season.

Norfolk's Luis Terrero had four more hits yesterday and is batting .360. His 27 RBIs lead all Orioles minor leaguers.

Congratulations to my good friend (and former Orioles PR director) John Maroon, whose firm, Maroon PR, was chosen to represent The Carmelo Anthony Foundation.

The Baltimore-based firm will oversee the growth and public relations outreach surrounding Anthony's Foundation, established in 2005, and philanthropic efforts.

I promised John that I wouldn't ask whether it also comes with a designated driver.

Among the Foundation's activities are Anthony's annual H.O.O.D Movement 3-on-3 Challenge, fundraising events in Denver and Syracuse, and his multi-city rollout of A Very Melo Christmas later this year.

A warning to Anthony: If you play hoops with John, just know that he hacks. I still carry bruises from past spring training pickup games. Make sure he's on your team. That reduces the risk by at least 50 percent.

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