Cabrera struggles in second start

The Baltimore Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- On the morning before Daniel Cabrera's second spring start, Orioles manager Dave Trembley predicted that his enigmatic right-hander would "have a big season this year."

"I've been saying this: If he repeats his delivery and commands his fastball, everything is going to come for him," Trembley said.

The Orioles have been waiting for Cabrera to take the next step in his development since he won 12 games as a rookie in 2004. But his inconsistency has been maddening, often from start to start.

And the trend continued yesterday, when he allowed five runs (two earned) in 1 2/3 innings in an 8-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Cabrera, who led the majors in losses, walks and earned runs last season, barely made it out of the first inning - throwing 40 pitches. It was a stark contrast to his initial start on Saturday when he threw a total of 27 pitches in three scoreless innings.

It's also the pattern of his career, and though frustrated, Cabrera was extremely calm after his outing.

"For anybody, it is difficult. I try to get as many innings as I can," said Cabrera, who gave up four hits and two walks and threw 54 pitches overall. "I try to make a pitch and they get base hits and I walked a couple guys. [It's] part of the game."

Afterward, Trembley said he was pleased that Cabrera kept battling, fielded a bunt cleanly for an out and finished the outing with a strikeout of Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer.

"I know there's a lot of people that go, 'Oh, here we go again.' They'll believe it when they see it," Trembley said before the game. "I'm confident that he is going to have a turnaround season."

Jones leaves game

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones left in the top of the third inning with back tightness after making a throw in the second. Luis Terrero pinch hit for Jones, who had singled and scored a run in the first inning and flied out in his second at-bat. Jones said he could have played with the discomfort if it were the regular season. He expects to play today.

"It's just a tight back, nothing more to it," Jones said. "Spring training, I don't need to hurt myself."

A homecoming

Orioles president Andy MacPhail was back at Hammond Stadium yesterday, and spent much of the time before the game talking with old friends, including Tom Kelly, his former manager in Minnesota. For several minutes, MacPhail, Kelly and Trembley, who like Kelly was an interim manager before MacPhail hired him full time, chatted near the batting cage.

Around the horn

Jay Payton (bronchitis), who has played just once this spring, took swings in the outdoor cage at Fort Lauderdale Stadium yesterday. ... The Orioles hadn't received an update on the magnetic resonance imagings of pitcher Troy Patton or infielder Freddie Bynum. Information is expected today. ... First cuts will likely be announced today. ... Although nothing is set, Trembley expects catcher Matt Wieters to begin this year at Single-A Frederick and pitcher Chris Tillman to be in the rotation at Double-A Bowie.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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