In second outing, Trachsel raises some eyebrows

The Baltimore Sun

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- The last time Steve Trachsel faced the St. Louis Cardinals, he wore a New York Mets uniform and a look of dejection.

Trachsel allowed five runs in one inning in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. His pitches didn't stay down, but his stock in the free-agent market sure did.

Yesterday's exhibition game hardly qualified as redemption, but Trachsel lasted three innings in a 2-2, 10-inning tie. He allowed one run and three hits, walked one and struck out one. He also threw 41 pitches, compared with 28 in one inning of Thursday's opener against the Florida Marlins in Jupiter.

"Completely different, completely different," he said of comparisons to yesterday and the NLCS. "Here, I'm working on things. There, I was just trying to get through some innings."

No team showed serious interest in Trachsel until the Orioles rushed to sign him on Feb. 14 after Kris Benson indicated he'd need surgery on his right rotator cuff. Expected to be the fifth starter, he struggled against the Marlins while using all of his pitches.

"It's a big difference when you keep the ball down in the zone. It's that simple," he said. "A couple balls in the first inning were up, and they were hit hard. The next couple innings, the ball was down in the zone. That was the adjustment I wanted to make, and hopefully I'll continue to do that.

"It's still early. There are some things we're working on mechanically that I'm trying to take out on the field."

Trachsel, who lost a 1-0 lead in the second on Aaron Miles' run-scoring single, had a little trouble with his curveball, because the wind was at his face while warming up in the bullpen and at his back once he took the mound.

"It took me awhile to make the adjustment," he said, "but it's getting there."

The defense aided Trachsel in the first inning, after Chris Duncan singled with one out. Third baseman Melvin Mora made a diving catch along the line to rob Albert Pujols, and first baseman Aubrey Huff leaped to snare Scott Spiezio's liner.

"That's what they're there for, right?" Trachsel said, laughing. "No, that was awesome. You try to execute pitches, and the guys have to pick you up. It's going to be exciting when they do that during the season."

Roberts deal still close

Another day passed without the Orioles and second baseman Brian Roberts reaching agreement on a contract extension, but both sides sounded optimistic it could happen as early as today.

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations have confirmed that the extension would be worth between $13 million and $14 million over two years.

"We're still trying to finish up the talks," Roberts said. "I don't know if I can say tonight or tomorrow. It's up to both sides agreeing on everything. But I think something could be accomplished in the next few days."

Trebelhorn update

Bench coach Tom Trebelhorn remains in Arizona with his wife, Elizabeth Black, who's recovering from a brain aneurysm, and the Orioles have started to discuss various options if he stays away from the team all season.

Manager Sam Perlozzo spoke to Trebelhorn on Monday.

"He's hoping to come back here on [Saturday] and stay a while," Perlozzo said. "He's trying to get things organized at home."

If the Orioles need to find another bench coach, Dave Trembley would be a strong candidate. He was hired this season as bullpen coach and field coordinator, and he has been sitting next to Perlozzo during exhibition games.

"He'd certainly be a consideration," Perlozzo said.

Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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