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Orioles Notebook

Hunt Is On For Answer In Center

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 5, 2005; Page D06

BALTIMORE, April 4 - Despite Luis Matos's quick start in Monday's season opener - a two-run home run in a 4-0 win against the Oakland Athletics - the Baltimore Orioles continue to search for a long-term solution in center field, according to one baseball official.

Though they were rebuffed during spring training in attempts to trade for New York Mets center fielder Mike Cameron, the Orioles are convinced they can acquire the outfielder for the right package, according to the baseball official.

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The club will continue to pursue Cameron, among others, and could offer some of its surplus of relief pitching, which the Mets need.

On Monday, the Mets' bullpen blew a 6-3 lead in what would have been Pedro Martinez's first win for New York. The Reds won, 7-6, on Joe Randa's homer to end the game.

Orioles relievers John Parrish and Jorge Julio could be used to acquire a center fielder.

Lopez Leaves Early

Orioles catcher Javy Lopez was removed from the game in the seventh inning after he experienced stiffness in his lower back. Baltimore Manager Lee Mazzilli said Lopez likely would return to the lineup Wednesday. . . .

The Opening Day shutout was the team's first since 1992, when it beat the Cleveland Indians, 2-0, in the first game played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. . . .

In a surprise move, Mazzilli batted Matos eighth in the lineup and dropped Larry Bigbie into the ninth spot. Mazzilli said Bigbie likely will be used exclusively in the ninth spot when the team faces left-handed pitching. . . .

Steve Kline, Jorge Julio and B.J. Ryan each threw a scoreless inning. . . .

The win was Baltimore's first against the A's since 2003. Oakland swept all seven games last season.

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