Left-handers, right-handers and a right fielder

Before I dive into more rotation talk, I'll revisit one topic from yesterday.

The Orioles are downplaying Nick Markakis' abdomen surgery. They truly believe that he'll be ready on opening day, and Markakis feels the same way.

Markakis is one of those guys who doesn't need a lot of spring training at-bats. He was launching the ball tape-measure distances on the back fields of Ed Smith Stadium last February and March, causing a few beat writers to predict that he'd have a monster season. He was totally locked in, and the opener couldn't come soon enough for him.

He'll be placed on a different schedule this spring. He'll need to get in proper shape, since he hasn't been able to work out. And he'll be greeted at his locker each morning and afternoon by the same pack of reporters who will wonder if he felt a twinge while driving to the ballpark. We'll follow him to the batting cage and those same back fields. We'll stalk him unmercifully.

Give us a bunny and a pot of boiling water, and we could be Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction."

It's not like we can spend all our time in front of Brian Roberts' locker.

I'm still peeking through the windows at Justin Duchscherer's house.

The surgery could prove to be a blessing if Markakis regains his power stroke, or it could further stoke the notion that this organization is cursed. Just depends whether Markakis is fully healed and swinging the bat with authority once the Orioles return to Camden Yards.

I've been told that the Orioles didn't trade for Jai Miller because of concerns over Markakis' health. Miller is regarded as an upgrade to the 40-man roster over former first-round pick Brandon Snyder, and a better overall player than Matt Angle.

As for the rotation, executive vice president Dan Duquette is seeking at least one more starter. Yes, the Orioles are interested in Edwin Jackson. Yes, they're interested in Joe Saunders. Yes, they're interested in Paul Maholm. Nothing new here.

Saunders and Maholm are viewed as more attainable because Jackson is seeking a four- or five-year deal. In case you hadn't heard, Duquette doesn't like to go beyond three years. He'd have to leave his comfort zone to sign Jackson.

We'll see.

How would the Orioles make room for another starter or two? Well, Tsuyoshi Wada's two-year, $8.15 million contract doesn't guarantee him a spot in the rotation. I've heard that he could pitch in relief, which will force manager Buck Showalter to make room in a crowded bullpen.

Dana Eveland is another rotation candidate who could end up in the bullpen. He's out of minor league options, so he also could end up in another organization if the Orioles try to pass him through waivers.

The Orioles are willing to take the risk If he pitches that poorly in spring training.

Look for a trimmed-down Tommy Hunter at FanFest. Apparently, he's shed a few pounds. He could be this winter's version of Jason Berken.

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