Rotation begins to take shape

The Baltimore Sun

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though the Orioles' rotation won't come into focus until manager Dave Trembley names his starter for Opening Day, his preferences for the back end, and how they could influence the top, are becoming more clear.

Trembley doesn't want left-handers pitching on consecutive days, so if Brian Burres or Garrett Olson emerges as the fifth starter, Adam Loewen probably won't be No. 1 or No. 4. Daniel Cabrera is more likely to fill the fourth slot.

The battle for the fifth spot likely has been reduced to three players in camp - Burres, Olson and Matt Albers - along with Hayden Penn, who was optioned last week but still could make the club. The Orioles wanted him to accumulate more innings and be ready to start if he's added to the staff.

Trembley said he intends to give Albers a start, preferably in Fort Lauderdale, where more coaches and team officials can observe him.

Trembley isn't sure whether Olson will make another start, though the left-hander is tentatively scheduled to do so Tuesday at home against the Minnesota Twins.

"I know that Loewen threw [Friday] and felt real good," Trembley said. "He's supposed to throw a sideline tomorrow, so he'd go Wednesday. I could still let Olson pitch again, but not necessarily start."

Moore back in lineup

The wait is over for Scott Moore. And it seemed like it lasted forever.

Or close to it.

Moore appeared in his first game since March 3 when he started at third base yesterday. He had been receiving treatment for a lower-abdominal strain and sitting on a .571 average.

"I know that we wanted to take care of it so it was completely gone and didn't come back or get worse," he said. "I knew it was going to be awhile, but it feels like I've been out a month."

Moore, who will play first base today, went 1-for-3 to leave his average at .529. He made a lunging stop along the line and threw out Dan Uggla in the third inning.

"I've been working out. I haven't missed a ton of time, other than actual game time. I've just missed four or five games, and I've been out on the field for three or four days," he said. "Hopefully, the timing is there and I see the ball well again."

Trembley said he doesn't expect to use Moore at shortstop, though the Orioles need a utility guy who can play the middle infield positions. He will have infield coach Juan Samuel work with Moore at second base.

Trembley added that Moore's chances of making the team haven't been damaged by the injury.

"There have been a lot of other guys who have missed time because of being sick or this, that and the other," Trembley said. "With the off day on Monday, there's two full weeks. And he's one of the guys who's playing for the extra spot, so we'll take our time making that decision. He'll get to play a lot these last two weeks."

Around the horn

The Orioles won't be facing Tampa Bay left-hander Scott Kazmir on Opening Day. He has been ruled out because of an elbow strain. James Shields is expected to get the start. ... Trembley said he will probably name a closer - likely George Sherrill - before announcing his Opening Day starter. ... Catcher Matt Wieters hit a home run from the left side in a Triple-A game last week.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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