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Pitchers and Catchers Report

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh

In probably the first time since 2004, a manager enters the season not on the hot seat but rather brimming with optimism for the campaign ahead. And given what Showalter did in the 60 day debut he had last summer, Orioles fans are looking at him as the second coming of Earl Weaver.

This off season has given us ample reason to smile. Andy McPhail may not have the bloated budget of Boston or Philadelphia who have constructed themselves in the Yankee way of buying up everyone available, but he brought in help that was sorely needed.

So as of today we have new potential starters at 1B, SS, 3B, and DH. The signings and trades to get Vladamir Guerrero, Justin Duchscherer, Kevin Gregg, Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, and J.J. Hardy were not just smart but also essential. How will they gel yet - who knows? But it is the most prolific off season I can remember since Miggy, Raffy, and Javy all came to town prior to the 2004 opener.

There are question marks for sure as spring training gets underway. But that is why you have this time of year. It allows people to compete for roster spots. See if those old injuries have healed. And see if the "over the hill" players you signed are worth it.

I for one will be following almost every move the team makes. That comes with being a die-hard overly obsessed individual, but I want to find out how things will shake out.

Will moving Luke Scott to LF be a great idea?

Who will be the ace of the starters?

Will Uehara, Gregg or Gonzalez be the closer?

Will Lee bounce back from a mediocre 2010?

Has Roberts' back really healed 100%?

Will Chris Tillman begin 2011 at Norfolk?

How will Pie and Reimold like being relegated to the bench? And will one of them get demoted or traded?

Will the new hitting and pitching coaches have an immediate effect on this team?

Will Matt Wieters have a breakout season?

The anticipation of 2011 is killing me. I am so excited that I can hardly contain myself. Kind of like I used to be around Christmas as a child. Now it happens that Opening Day is my signature calendar event of the year.

Sure there is a lot that has yet to happen. But my clock ticks down towards our home opener on April 4.

Spring Training is not in the budget for me but you can be damn sure that unless I am in the hospital and unconscious, I will be there against the Tigers.

PS - Rest in peace Mr. Ernie Tyler. You were a wonderful human being.

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