FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 12 -- Baltimore reliever Jorge Julio threw an 11-minute bullpen session Saturday, his first time throwing off a mound since he had a strained right forearm diagnosed three weeks ago.
He has been cleared by the medical staff and will next pitch at the discretion of the coaching staff. Julio threw well during Saturday's session and may be only five or six days from pitching in a spring training game. He experimented with throwing a cutter -- a pitch the Orioles think could help him against left-handers -- but as a precaution did not attempt to throw any sliders. Afterward, Julio reported no pain.
Orioles to Watch: Sammy Sosa, pictured, is a new face in Baltimore, and he's one of several key players this season.
Graphic: Projected Starters
Graphic: Fort Lauderdale Stadium
Second baseman Brian Roberts, who hasn't played since straining his right shoulder last weekend against the Washington Nationals, hit off a tee.
"I don't know if I have a time table for playing in a game," Roberts said. "It will be a few days I think. I'd be worried if it still bothered me and I couldn't do anything."
Shift in Strategy
Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers -- which ended in a 0-0 tie -- marked the first time an opposing team has used the right-side shift against Rafael Palmeiro. Last season most teams used the shift on Palmeiro, who said he struggled after changing his hitting style to try to take advantage of the left side of the infield. . . .
X-rays of Luis Matos's left hand were negative. The outfielder was hit by a pitch in the back of the hand in Friday's loss to the Florida Marlins. He came into Saturday's game as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning. He singled and stole a base in the eighth. . .
James Baldwin pitched two scoreless innings and has not allowed an earned run in eight innings this spring. "Baldwin knows how to pitch," Baltimore Manager Lee Mazzilli said. "It's just that veteran experience." . . .
Matos, Jay Gibbons and Larry Bigbie will be the biggest names to travel to Viera for Sunday's split-squad game against the Nationals. Coach Tom Trebelhorn will manage the team.