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The player who has been at the top of many Orioles' fans' wish list, Atlanta first baseman Mark Teixeira, apparently is about ready to change uniforms for the second time in a year as the Major League trade deadline approaches on July 31.

Teixeira, a Baltimore-area favorite son who was acquired by the Braves from Texas a year ago to  be the player to put them over the top, is highly available after Atlanta failed to take full advantage of his services in both the 2007 stretch run and through two-thirds of a season this year.  There has been nothing wrong with Teixeira's output.  Granted, his numbers were Hall of Fame-like last year compared to merely All-Star caliber this year but the 157-game total in Atlanta has been .295 with 37 home runs and 134 RBIs.  Sounds pretty good to me.  In addition, you could make the case that Teixeira, batting behind the now injured Chipper Jones, helped Jones get off to a scorching start this year when Chipper flirted with .400.

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But despite all that, the Braves gassed last year as the Phillies overtook the Mets in the NL East and this year, Atlanta appears winded again as it sits mired in fourth place.  At the end of the season, Teixeira becomes a free agent so the Braves have to take what they can get now.  The only teams for whom an immediate Teixeira deal makes any sense because they would be getting him for just a final sprint to October are contenders in tight races, Boston,  Tampa Bay and Arizona and one that may want to reload for the playoffs, the L.A. Angels, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

You will notice the Orioles are not in that mix.  But if you are in the Bring Mark Home crowd, take heart.  Teixeira appears to have tired of being shuttled around the Major Leagues as a short-term fix.  Hence his comment on the current trade rumors: "I realize that things are going to happen in this game that are out of your control. And over the next two months, a lot of things are going to happen that are going to be out of my control. But once I get to free agency, that's when I get to start making the calls."

Hard saying where the Orioles can fit here.  If anything, the six to eight weeks have shown that Baltimore's more pressing need for the long run is pitching but if there was one positional player who would resonate with Baltimore fans, it's the big kid from Severna Park.

Photo: Tony Dejak/AP

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