Scott won't be left out

The Baltimore Sun

BOSTON -- The Orioles' matchup last night against the Boston Red Sox's Jon Lester started a stretch of four straight games when they will face a left-handed starting pitcher. Luke Scott was held out of the starting lineup last night as manager Dave Trembley continued to sit the hot-hitting outfielder against lefty starters.

That will soon change. Trembley said yesterday that Scott will likely get the start tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates' Phil Dumatrait, the first of three left-handers the Orioles will face in the interleague series.

"I'm very much aware of what the rotations are for the next couple of series, and you'll see Scott play against left-handed pitchers," Trembley said.

The Orioles have faced a left-handed starter in 15 games this season, and Scott has started just three of them. Last night was the sixth straight game against a left-handed pitcher that Scott has been out of the lineup.

Scott is hitting .167 against lefties, but that is in only 30 at-bats. He has been one of the Orioles' hottest hitters lately, with two-hit games in six of his past nine starts. He has hits in 14 of his past 35 at-bats.

"I think the way he's hitting right now, he's probably comfortable against anybody," Trembley said.

Spring meeting

The Orioles have been invited to attend a meeting today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that would include city officials and representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, the latest development in the spring training saga that could end with the franchise relocating after 13 years.

Kirk Shaffer, the associate administrator for airports, suggested that the Orioles come to the table, and he is willing to clear his calendar today for further discussions, according to an FAA spokeswoman. Yesterday's meeting included Congressman Ron Klein and city manager George Gretsas.

The Orioles want to tear down and rebuild Fort Lauderdale Stadium, but the FAA is demanding a yearly payment of $1.3 million to the airport fund, a significant increase over the $70,000 to $120,000 agreed upon in the past. FAA officials say the figure is fair market value for the property.

"They're asking the Orioles to pay a ground rent more than our three largest aviation tenants combined," Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle said. "They're asking us to violate our zoning laws and recognize it as industrial property, and have the ground rent based on land value and not income."

Manny signs on

Orioles reliever Chad Bradford was still visibly annoyed a day after surrendering Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez's 500th home run last month. But perhaps it became a little easier to accept after Bradford retired Ramirez in his 500th appearance Tuesday night.

Bradford got the lineup card signed by Ramirez, who also gave the Oriole an autographed bat. The inscription on the bat read: "Fastballs please, Manny Ramirez."

Around the horn

The Orioles will commemorate Pittsburgh's first visit to Baltimore since the 1979 World Series before the game tonight. Members of the 1979 teams, including manager Earl Weaver, Orioles players Scott McGregor and Doug DeCinces and Pirates pitcher Grant Jackson, will be honored in an on-field ceremony. ... Retired Ravens offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden will throw out the first pitch before tomorrow night's game.

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