-- As the year goes on with the Orioles hanging in first place, the inevitable watch begins. Will the team make a trade to help fend off the Red Sox and Yankees? This seems particularly significant given their top starting pitcher, Erik Bedard, will remain on the disabled list until after the all-star break.

But Manager Lee Mazzilli seems to think such talk might be overreacting -- for now.

Rather, he said, he is looking forward to the return of center fielder Luis Matos, who should be off the disabled list in a few days, and catcher Javy Lopez, who is recovering faster than expected from a broken bone in his hand.

"I get Javy back and Louie back, it's like making a trade without giving anybody up," Mazzilli said.

Matos, who broke a finger last month, is on a rehabilitation assignment at Class AA Bowie and the team does not plan to rush his return. Lopez is doing so well that Mazzilli is hoping the catcher could be back before the all-star game. Initially, Lopez figured he wouldn't be back until August.

Nervous Ray

Chris Ray said he was nervous as he came into his first major league game on Tuesday night. Just a couple days before he was pitching for Bowie and suddenly he was being asked to get the last three outs of a big league game. He had gotten up to throw in the sixth inning when Baltimore starter Bruce Chen got into trouble. But when Chen worked out of the jam he sat back down.

Then came the call in the ninth.

"I kept telling myself, 'You've done this before.' " He closed out the game allowing just a single, which impressed the Orioles' coaches.

"I'll tell you what, the kid has an arm," Mazzilli said.