-- Sidney Ponson was not at the ballpark on Friday as Baltimore Orioles lawyers continued to pore over the pitcher's contract in hopes of finding a loophole that allows them to void the remaining $10 million owed.

"It's in the hands of the lawyers," one Orioles insider said.

Ponson was asked by the team to stay home on Friday. Some teammates offered support.

"I'm not going to sit here and crucify him," Rafael Palmeiro said. "The one thing I'm going to do is stand by him. He supported me and I'm going to do the same for him."

There are varying opinions as to whether the Orioles will have any luck in voiding Ponson's contract. Those close to the team think there is a chance it might happen, which likely would immediately be followed by a grievance from the players' union.

"To me it's real possible," said one person close to the Orioles who had seen Ponson's contract.

"I would be surprised if they were able to do that," said Scott Shapiro, one of Ponson's lawyers. "In my interpretation I don't think Sidney's conduct has gotten to the level of violating the morals clause."

Calls to Peter Angelos's law firm were not returned.

Some team officials were angered by a report in Friday's Baltimore Sun which said that Ponson had left the team clubhouse during the game and sat in a luxury suite at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

At least Ponson, who has been arrested three times for alcohol-related incidents since December, appears to have shown some regret and remorse to those people close to him.

"I am going to get some help and get my life straightened out," Ponson told Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo.