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Who will become O's fifth starter?

I'm going to make a prediction: Koji Uehara is gonna catch on in Baltimore. I don't know if it'll be like Brooks or Cal, where suddenly everyone's naming newborns after him. But I wouldn't be surprised if by July 1, there's a lot of miniature poodles walking around Mt. Vernon with the name Koji spelled out on their dog collars.

Sounds like he looked pretty good today in his first start in more than two weeks (3 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 7 Ks), but his spot in the rotation was never in doubt.

Time is running out to make a couple of key decisions. The Orioles say they've figured out two of their five starters. With less than two weeks to go until Opening Day, that's encouraging.

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In truth, Dave Trembley probably knows four of them: Jeremy Guthrie, Koji, Mark Hendrickson (who doesn't need a ladder to change a light bulb) and Adam Eaton.

So for that fifth and final spot that leaves, Danys Baez, Alfredo Simon, Brian Bass, Hayden Penn and just about anybody else who wanders by Fort Lauderdale Stadium. (Sounds like Rich Hill will be starting the season on the DL.)

I don't really think the problem is that the Orioles don't know by now. They can wait until the second week of April for all I care. The problem is that the options available to them are lousy.

Penn and Baez seem safe. But Bass and Simon have had more interesting springs. I'm not sure what the Orioles have to lose by taking a bit of a gamble. Simon, who was signed out of the Mexican League last year and missed the first couple weeks of camp dealing with visa issues, has had a couple of good outings this spring, but no, I don't trust that he's the real deal. Not yet. I suppose in the five slot maybe you give him a few outings in April and see if he can get batters out in the regular season.

Since I obviously don't have a clue, maybe you do. Here's a poll question: Who should be the Orioles' fifth starter? To make it more interesting, let's toss a couple of wild cards into the mix -- Jim Palmer and Jennie Finch (Palmer because I still think he has 200 innings left in his arm and Finch because as the old zen saying goes, can you really have a good blog post without a good picture?).

Who will become O's fifth starter?

(No, the Toy Department isn't sexist. We already posted a pic of Palmer in his underwear, though.)

Photos: AP

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