Orioles: More pregame Juan

Juan Samuel said he spoke to Brian Roberts on the phone today -- the first time they've talked since he was appointed interim manager on Friday.

"He thought I've been big-timing him not calling him back when I got the job,'' Samuel joked.


Of course, nothing else that they talked about was light-hearted. Roberts was on the way to a doctor's appointment to determine the course of treatment for his still-sore lower back.

"He's disappointed he's not here with us,'' Samuel said. "I told him he needs to take care of himself, take care of his health."

Samuel also updated the media on the condition of closer Alfredo Simon, who threw 25 pitches in his last workout and went through light agility drills without pain. He will throw 30 pitches on Thursday and possible will rejoin the club this weekend.

"We wil be glad to have him join us here soon,'' he said. "We need to stabilize the back end of our bullpen."

In the meantime, the Orioles are rethinking the decision to put Will Ohman in the closer role, since a lot of the instability of the bullpen has been concentrated in innings that Ohman would have worked in if he had been in his usual specialists role. Based on Samuel's comments, it seems likely the club will put Ohman back where he was and use someone else -- probably David Hernandez -- in the ninth inning.

Samuel basically said the club would just like to have some ninth innings that would require him to make that decision.

Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam