When the Orioles start spring training in mid-February, a familiar face will be there.
The Orioles have asked former batting practice pitcher and bullpen catcher Rudy Arias to come to camp and work as a staff assistant to manager Buck Showalter.
Arias, who lives in Miami, spent 11 seasons with the Orioles from 1997 to 2007. In 1995 and 1996, he was the New York Yankees' bullpen catcher, spending a full season with Showalter in 1995.
This February, he'll perform various functions during camp, including some administrative duties as well as throwing batting practice and likely catching some side sessions. It's possible the job will turn into a season-long position, though neither side has committed to that at this point.
Arias, 54, spent the past three seasons as the first base coach and catching instructor for the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent American Association. A Cuba native, Arias caught several seasons in the minors for the Seattle Mariners organization, which drafted him in the first round (secondary phase) of the 1977 draft. He is the son of former major league pitcher Rudy Arias Sr.
The Orioles currently don't have a Spanish speaker on the major-league staff, so Arias could help fill that communication void this spring.
Showalter may still add a seventh, "eye in the sky" coach for 2011, but if that happens, it wouldn't be until later this spring.
Also, Ronnie Deck is expected to return for his fourth season as the Orioles' full-time bullpen catcher.
Hearings set for Scott and Guthrie
Major League Baseball has set the arbitration hearings for designated hitter Luke Scott and pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.
According to an industry source, Scott's hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 14 and Guthrie's is set for Wednesday, Feb. 16; both will be held in Phoenix. The sites alternate every year between Florida and Arizona.
Scott is asking for $6.85 million, while the club has countered with $5.7 million. Guthrie is asking for $6.5 million, while the team countered with $5 million. If there is no settlement before a hearing, one of the two filed numbers is chosen by an independent board of three arbitrators.
The Orioles haven't gone to a hearing with a player since pitcher Rodrigo Lopez before the 2006 season.
Gillick honored, doesn't mention Orioles
According to a story by the Associated Press' fine baseball writer Ron Blum -- and passed on by reader Dan M. -- Pat Gillick made an interesting omission Saturday at the BBWAA's annual awards dinner in New York City.
Gillick, a former general manager of four big league teams, was recognized at the dinner for his impending induction to the Hall of Fame this summer. According to Blum's report, Gillick thanked all of the organizations he worked for and then mentioned the Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners by name.
The only team he ran that he didn't name? The Orioles, the club he led from 1996 to 1998. His contract wasn't renewed after it expired -- but Gillick wasn't coming back anyway after a flap with owner Peter Angelos over the team's managerial situation.
I talked to Gillick at length a few years ago -- while he was with the Phillies -- about his time in Baltimore, and he said all the right things about the Orioles (to a writer for The Baltimore Sun who was writing for a Baltimore audience, mind you).
I guess the Orioles just slipped his mind Saturday.
Around the horn
On Monday, the Arizona Diamondbacks dealt two minor leaguers to the Detroit Tigers for starter Armando Galarraga, who was 4-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) last year. The Orioles are in the market for a veteran starter but had only minimal interest in the 29-year-old Galarraga, who gained international attention when he nearly pitched a perfect game last season. … To make room for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera on their roster, the Toronto Blue Jays designated former Orioles farmhand Rommie Lewis for assignment last weekend. The 28-year-old left-handed reliever was the Orioles' fourth-round pick in 2001 but didn't debut in the majors until last season with Toronto. He had a 6.75 ERA in 18 games with the Blue Jays.
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