Uehara feels strain

The Baltimore Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Koji Uehara, the only Oriole currently in camp who has a spot in the rotation locked up, could miss a start after straining his left hamstring during his outing Monday.

Uehara suffered the injury while covering first base during the second inning of the Orioles' 9-8 loss to the New York Mets. Uehara was scheduled to pitch four innings but lasted only two, allowing three earned runs on four hits and two walks.

"It's not really pain, just a little tightness, a slight strain," Uehara said through interpreter Jiwon Bang. "One or maybe two [starts]. We'll wait a week and see how it improves."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said head athletic trainer Richie Bancells told pitching coach Rick Kranitz that he didn't think Uehara's injury "was anything to be concerned about."

"We'll probably still just back him up a couple of days just to be safe," Trembley said.

Even if it is minor, injuries continue to mount for Orioles pitchers. John Parrish, Brad Hennessey and Troy Patton have been ruled out of the Opening Day rotation. Danys Baez and Matt Albers are coming off arm injuries and being treated with caution. Mark Hendrickson has pitched only once because of ailments, and Rich Hill hasn't pitched at all because of a sore left elbow.

Trembley said yesterday that Hill, who has been playing catch and reporting no discomfort, will have to pitch in a game soon to still be considered for the rotation.

"I think it will be close, but I think that would be determined more clearly after he throws his sideline session," Trembley said.

Guthrie: No sweat

Orioles ace Jeremy Guthrie wasn't necessarily expecting a raise from the $770,000 he made last year. But he also knew that a team cutting a productive player's salary one year to the next was rare, even if collective bargaining agreement rules stipulate that teams have every right to do so in certain situations.

The Orioles did that to Guthrie, cutting his 2009 salary by $120,000, or about 15 percent. The club was entitled to slash the right-hander's salary by as much as 20 percent.

"The [collective] bargaining agreement gives each team the ability to run and operate their payroll, and this is well within the Orioles' right," Guthrie said from Toronto, where he is preparing to start for Team USA tomorrow against Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

. "I don't necessarily take it personal. It's a decision they have to make and they have made it. But at the same time, I don't think anybody would be happy with a reduction of pay in any job if you feel you have performed your duties well."

Asked why he agreed to the one-year deal rather than being renewed, he said: "Some of the language [in the bargaining agreement] is a little bit ambiguous and tough to get specific on. That's why we settled on an amount that was a little higher than the original tender. Signing the contract allows you to have incentive bonuses for certain accomplishments. This is still an amount that is above what similar players in this stage of their career have earned, and I'm very grateful to earn a living playing a game that I really enjoy."

Around the horn

Nick Markakis' wife is expected to have labor induced today, meaning the right fielder will be away for a couple of days. ... Orioles president Andy MacPhail confirmed yesterday that 2006 first-round pick Billy Rowell will move from third base to right field for the coming season. "We think that this is the best thing for him and his career," MacPhail said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

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