Hendricks gets an early honor at Florida park

While the organization continues formulating plans to honor Elrod Hendricks on Opening Day at Camden Yards, the club has memorialized the beloved coach at its spring training facility.

When players took the field yesterday at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, Hendricks' No. 44, in black, decorated a panel of the right-field wall.

"It hits home ... dearly for all of us," said Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo. "When you looked up and you saw it, I can still hear Elrod talking. It's a tremendous void."

Hendricks died Dec. 21 of a heart attack, rocking an organization with which he spent 37 of his 45 seasons in professional baseball. No player or coach wore an Orioles uniform longer than Hendricks, who was the club's bullpen coach for 28 seasons.

Spiro P. Alafassos, the Orioles' executive director of communications, said the organization has yet to decide how it will honor Hendricks, but will dedicate a "big portion" of its April 3 Opening Day festivities to Hendricks.

"We have collected everybody's ideas, both internally and externally and, given Elrod's contributions, there's certainly an unlimited amount of things that people want to do in tribute of him," Alafassos said.

"We're at this stage now where we're pulling it all together and putting a package together for Opening Day. .... We'll do our best to make it be fitting of Elrod and his memory."

Alafassos said ideas discussed include players wearing a uniform patch, the club starting an academy for youths in Hendricks' name, putting his number and/or a memorial in the bullpen and retiring No. 44.

Alafassos said none of the ideas has been ruled out.

D. Martinez has new role
Dennis Martinez, the winningest Latin American pitcher of all time, watched the Orioles' workout yesterday and discussed his new part-time job. Martinez will serve as a part-time scout and possibly as a roving minor league pitching instructor with the team.

He still has to discuss his specific responsibilities with Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan, but Martinez will first head to Puerto Rico early next month and scout players in the World Baseball Classic.

"We've been talking for a while," said Martinez, who had 245 major league wins and pitched for the Orioles for 11 seasons. "Now that Mike Flanagan is GM, he believed that I can help in some way."

Martinez said he will have more time available after his son, who is a highly recruited senior outfielder in Miami, graduates from high school.

"I just want to go slowly, see if I like it or not," he said. "I am looking for a new experience in baseball. I just want to stay in baseball, especially for the Orioles because they were the ones that gave me a chance."

Around the horn
Shortstop Miguel Tejada took part in workouts after missing Friday's session because of a dental appointment. ... Second baseman Brian Roberts faced live batting practice and, while he still isn't permitted to swing, he did work on his bunting for the first time this spring. ... Outfielder David Newhan has informed Perlozzo he'd also like to work at second and third base during spring workouts.


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