It's feast or famine for the Orioles

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

The Orioles made a number of dramatic off-season changes to try to get out of their perennial spot in the American League East basement.

Some of them have worked and some have produced the same old results. One thing is certain, though, with Buck Showalter running the show: He won't sit idly by and let that annual malaise suffocate the team.

Vlad Guerrero, signed as a free agent, has been a solid addition to the offence but both sluggers Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds have been less than advertized.

Lee has been out with an oblique strain and was to start a rehab assignment Thursday but that has been delayed because of the death of his grandfather.

The Orioles went looking for a big, middle-of-the-order bat last off-season but came up empty, settling for Lee and Reynolds. Lee will move on again after this season. The Orioles are said to be determined to get a slugging first baseman and Showalter wants Prince Fielder, who will, no doubt, be seeking an Adrian Gonzalez-sized contract worth about $22 million a year. Reynolds, hitting .190 with seven home runs, 28 walks and 56 strikeouts, is locked in at $5 million this year and $7.5 million in 2012.

The O's are still with-out leadoff man and second baseman Brian Roberts. He's experiencing concussion-like symptoms that have kept him sidelined for three weeks.

Roberts first suffered a concussion late last year when, in frustration, he hit himself on the head with his bat after striking out. The symptoms came back early this year after making a head-first slide into second base at Boston.

Friday's starter, Zach Britton, leads all MLB rookie starting pitchers with 702/3 innings. The lefty has a 5-3 record and a sparkling 2.93 ERA. He's coming off his worst start of the year after allowing six runs on 10 hits over 52/3 innings at Oakland.

The Orioles have been a feast-or-famine outfit much of the season. Already, they have experienced winning streaks of five games, four games annd three games, as well as losing streaks of eight games, five games and two four-gamers.

The O's won 2-1 in Seattle Wednesday to snap a fivegame losing skid. Former Mariner Adam Jones hit an eighth-inning homer to break a 1-1 tie.

He also made a circus catch on a ball hit by Miguiel Olivo in the fourth.

In that one, former Jay Kevin Gregg notched his ninth save in 12 opportunities. Gregg's high-wire act doesn't seem to have changed. In 211/3 innings so far, the O's closer has allowed 16 hits and 16 walks.


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