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Orioles Notebook

Rodriguez Brothers Work Out

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 2, 2005; Page D08

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. March 1 -- Maels Rodriguez, 25, and brother Jose, 20, had their most important workouts for the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. The Cuban brothers threw for a group of team officials that included vice presidents Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan.

Agent Barry Praver was to begin negotiations with the Orioles on Tuesday afternoon while flying with Flanagan to Aruba. Praver also represents Sidney Ponson, who must appear at a hearing on Thursday in connection with a Christmas Day incident in his native country.

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"Maels has publicly stated an interest in signing with the Orioles because of his comfort level with [Orioles scout Jesus] Halabi, Sidney Ponson and some of the other Latin players," Praver said. "I will be talking with Mike Flanagan today about the Orioles' interest."

Maels Rodriguez's mechanics still appear to be an issue as he tries to recover from a rib cage injury and two years of inactivity. The pitcher defected Cuba in 2003 and hasn't pitched regularly since.

"I thought he threw okay," said Sal Fasano, who caught Rodriguez's bullpen session. "He still has a ways to go. He's not ready for the big leagues. He's a good couple of coaches from being a big league pitcher. To me, I didn't see star quality, but how many are there nowadays?"

Fasano said Rodriguez threw somewhere in the 86 mph to 88 mph range. According to scouts, Rodriguez threw 100 mph several times during his tenure as a star in Cuba.

Jose Rodriguez was slightly less impressive than his bullpen session on Sunday, but some in the organization think he might have a higher upside than his brother.

Gibbons Starts Fast

Jay Gibbons had a grand slam against Kurt Ainsworth in the team's first intrasquad game. B.J. Ryan was the most impressive pitcher, striking out the side in one inning of work. . . .

Tony Saunders will make his first live action appearance since a broken arm forced his retirement in 2000. He is scheduled to pitch an inning in today's intrasquad game. "I'm feeling better than I thought," Saunders said of his rehab. "I am throwing a little bit better than I thought, too."

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