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Now that the Orioles have signed Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara and journeyman Mark Hendrickson, they're expected to step up their pursuit of one of the remaining free agent catchers. Much of the speculation has centered around former Oriole Gregg Zaun, but Ivan Rodriguez apparently is not out of the question.

Have to admit I brushed off questions about I-Rod earlier in the offseason, but interest in him has been light enough that somebody may be able to sign him to a short deal. If that were the Orioles -- and that has been discussed -- they could conceivably bring him in to start the first half of the season, then move him to a contender in July and turn the position over to top prospect Matt Wieters.

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The O's also still need a first baseman and could be interested in Shelly Duncan, who was designated for assignment by the Yankees today to make room on the club's 40-man roster for Mark Teixeira. Duncan is a right-handed hitter who had good power numbers in the minor leagues but appeared in only 57 games at the major league level over the past two seasons before becoming expendable.

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