Roberts still in trade zone

The Baltimore Sun

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -When Brian Roberts signed the four-year, $40 million contract extension that ties him to the Orioles through the 2013 season, he did so without getting significant no-trade protection for the first couple years of the deal.

Roberts had a very limited no-trade clause for the final year of his previous contract, allowing him to designate four teams to which he could not be traded. That was carried forward when the final year of the old deal was rolled into what essentially is a new five-year contract.

The no-trade protection graduates through the next three years of the contract. He will be allowed to designate eight teams he doesn't want to play for next year and 12 teams the following season. The no-trade clause becomes blanket protection a couple of months before Roberts would get it anyway as a 10-5 player. The 10-5 rule in baseball's collective bargaining agreement allows every major league player to veto any trade involving him after he has spent 10 full years in the major leagues and has five full years of service with his current club.

The club retains a fairly unfettered right to deal Roberts now, but Orioles officials insist the club has no intention of pursuing any trade talks involving him.

Mora on WBC

Melvin Mora seems pretty stoked about playing in the World Baseball Classic. He didn't take part in the first one, but he has had a lot of experience during his career in international competition.

The WBC, however, probably is not comparable to the type of atmosphere Mora has experienced in the Caribbean winter leagues.

"I talked to a couple of friends," Mora said. "It's exciting because you get to play together and meet the stars from every country ... Japan ... Korea. ... It's something you enjoy because you don't know when you're going to do that again."

Uehara throws BP

Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara threw his first batting practice session against live hitters yesterday, and - as usual - he extended his workout longer than the rest of the pitchers. The plan is for each pitcher to throw 25 pitches, but Uehara threw 37.

He gave up a couple of gappers to minor league shortstop Blake Davis, but it's really not about the kind of contact the hitters make at this point. It is purely pitching practice, and the hitters are there to provide a target for the pitching workout.

Uehara threw all his pitches - forkball, cut fastball, breaking ball, fastball - and said afterward that he felt it was his best workout of the spring.

"Really what Koji wanted to get out of this was the hitters' reactions," pitching coach Rick Kranitz said. "I thought he threw the ball really well. I know he's trying to make some adjustments with the feel of the baseball and all that. Next time, he'll probably throw a few more pitches and get him where he is comfortable. But overall, I thought he did very nice."

The batting practice session brought out the largest contingent of Japanese media since the start of camp, and he also had a couple of special guests observing his performance. His wife, Miho, and 3-year-old son, Kazuma, attended the workout.

Uehara will throw a 50-pitch bullpen session tomorrow and another Wednesday before making his competitive debut in the exhibition game against the Florida Marlins on Friday.

Around the horn

Matt Albers (chest cold), Wilfrido Perez (dehydration), Kam Mickolio (groin strain) and Scott Chiasson missed either all or part of yesterday's workout. Mickolio did throw a bullpen session and said he felt improved ... Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he does not expect Ty Wigginton to play shortstop this spring, ending speculation that he might fill in there to allow the team to go with a 13-man pitching staff ... Reliever Bob McCrory agreed to terms yesterday, leaving the Orioles with eight players yet to sign their 2009 contracts.

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