Trachsel sharp, 'pretty happy' after O's debut

The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK -- Long before Alex Rodriguez had hit a walk-off grand slam against closer Chris Ray, giving the New York Yankees a 10-7 victory, Steve Trachsel had retreated to the visiting clubhouse, satisfied with his Orioles debut.

Trachsel struggled early, serving up a two-run homer to Rodriguez in the first inning yesterday. But he settled down and turned in an impressive 6 2/3 innings, holding the Yankees to four hits and three runs. It was the second-longest outing by an Orioles starter this season.

"I hadn't thrown in seven days, so I was a little nervous about being too strong, plus being my first game," Trachsel said. "I was pretty happy I was able to control my emotions, especially after the first inning. I didn't make too many mistakes, which was key for me."

Trachsel was signed just days before spring training after the club learned that Kris Benson would most likely miss the season with a shoulder injury. The veteran right-hander went 15-8 last year with a 4.97 ERA for the New York Mets, but his poor performance in the playoffs and his shaky start to spring training - he allowed 10 earned runs and 22 hits in his first 11 innings this spring - caused some concern.

But the Orioles' fifth starter was sharp yesterday, especially after the first-inning home run to Rodriguez. He also allowed an RBI single to Jorge Posada in the fourth, but he was able to pitch his way out of trouble and avoid a big inning.

"He teases you all the time," said Yankees manager Joe Torre. "He probably pitches around the strike zone as well as anybody when he's on. We didn't get good swings. We had a lot of guys come back to the dugout shaking their heads and thinking they didn't get their money's worth."

Millar's in left

Before yesterday, Kevin Millar hadn't started a game in left field since the 2005 season. He was asked to give a scouting report of himself in that position.

"This is a big left field, so I'm going to play a little deeper than the average guy with the blazing speed," said Millar, who had played 193 games in left field over his career. "Arm strength, I'll hit the cutoff man and throw to the right base. I'm going to make your routine plays and use two hands on fly balls. I won't hurt you out there. Hopefully."

Millar didn't hurt the Orioles yesterday, getting very little work in left aside from a solid running catch on Posada's liner in the seventh inning. Jay Gibbons got the day off and Chris Gomez played first base, moving Aubrey Huff to designated hitter and Millar to left.

"Last year was the first year I didn't play any [left field], so it's not like it's a foreign object or anything," Millar said.

Trebelhorn still uncertain

Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said he was planning to talk to bench coach Tom Trebelhorn after yesterday's game to find out more about his plans. Trebelhorn left the team Thursday to return to Arizona to be with his wife, Elizabeth "Bo" Black, who remains hospitalized after suffering a stroke Feb. 18 that was caused by a ruptured aneurysm in her brain.

In Trebelhorn's absence, bullpen coach Dave Trembley has been the Orioles' acting bench coach.

"I'd like to tell you that I think he'll be here on a regular basis, but that's a very delicate situation when he needs to be home at certain times to take care of his wife," said Perlozzo, who said he was under the assumption that Trebelhorn could return to the team for tomorrow's home opener. "We feel comfortable with Dave Trembley in the dugout. I think we have some people in the 'pen that can take care of that. We'll work through it as long as we can."

Tejada's defense not a concern

In his first five games, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada has been both brilliant and beguiling defensively. He has made several nice plays, including his diving stop on Michael Cuddyer's hard grounder in the second game in Minnesota that started a double play and kept Daniel Cabrera out of a big inning.

But he has also made three errors through five games, with the latest one coming yesterday when he fired an errant throw on Derek Jeter's grounder in the fifth inning. A night earlier, Tejada made two errors on the same play in the second inning. First, he booted Hideki Matsui's ground ball and then he made a wild throw to first base. The play wound up costing the Orioles a run in their 6-4 victory.

Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

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