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MacPhail's angry, but options appear few

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail made it clear yesterday that he is about all out of patience with some of his struggling hitters and will have no problem demoting them to the minor leagues if they don't turn it around fast.

While I think MacPhail's comments were made mostly to motivate and challenge some of the underperformers, I also have no doubt that he is serious and is at least considering making some moves. And there is nothing stopping him from doing it.

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Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott both have options remaining and neither could block a reassignment. Lou Montanez does as well. Since I've been asked, so does Adam Jones, though I don't think that's even an issue at this point.

The problem is who could you bring up that could help you win?

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I wouldn't be surprised if Corey Patterson or Jeff Salazar were promoted in place of Montanez, simply because both have more experience in center field than Montanez does. And if Jones' hip injury lingers. the Orioles certainly need some coverage there. Plus, Patterson could give the Orioles some speed that they desperately lack.

Beyond that, I don't see anything else that will make a difference, and I know that sounds discouraging. I don't know how you can reward a prospect hitting below .200 in the case of Brandon Snyder. I don't know that you say it's Josh Bell's time yet, especially with him not hitting consistently in Triple-A. Michael Aubrey, Robert Andino and Scott Moore aren't hitting for average either.

Justin Turner is a nice little player, but he should be playing every day, rather than sitting on the bench. And I just don't see how he'd get the at-bats with Ty Wigginton at second swinging the bat so well and both Rhyne Hughes and Garrett Atkins at first base.

As for trades, MacPhail said, "There isn't much to be done externally. That's just the nature of business at this point."

The Minnesota Twins have one lefty (Francisco Liriano) and three righties (Carl Pavano, Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn) going in the series. My guess is that Scott would start in left field against the righties with Hughes at first base and Atkins at DH; and Montanez (if he's still with the club) will start in left versus Liriano with Atkins at first and Reimold at DH. That, of course, would change if Jones is unavailable to play.

However, if Scott takes another 0-for-4 with two K's early in the series, I don't think you can keep running him out there, even against a righty. At that point, you use Reimold in left, Atkins at DH and Hughes at first.

The options aren't exactly overflowing. Either way, Atkins is eight for his last 18 and Reimold had two quality at-bats yesterday, one resulting in a homer and one resulting in a bases-loaded walk. Those guys could certainly make things a lot easier on MacPhail if they'd start hitting with more regularity.

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