Holiday rewards for two, new Orioles


Adam Greenberg (photo courtesy

Adam Greenberg, whose first name I couldn’t even remember without checking it, got an early Christmas present last week, when the Baltimore Orioles signed him to a minor league contract. If you’ve been following the goings on, he was beaned in his first big league at-bat with the Cubs in 2005 at age 23. During the long road back, he tore a rotator cuff diving for a ball in the outfield in 2009. When he had finally gotten himself back in shape and the Marlins gave him a shot, he struck out on three pitches against R.A. Dickey last October 2.

Earlier last season, he played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic. For the three years prior, 2009-2011, he played for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Independent League. This speaks to how driven he was to make it back to professional baseball. The only thing that’s really known about his skills is that he stole 53 bases in 2009.

He is listed as an outfielder, which means it’s likely he will be thrown into the left field puzzle along with Nate McLouth and Nolan Reimold, the two primary candidates to platoon in that job. McLouth’s new contract includes $500,000 in bonuses, one of which is for reaching a certain number of at-bats, which would logically happen the more he stays healthy and stays hot, and the other candidates don’t do either.

It goes almost without saying he will only reach a given number of either at-bats or other stats if he gets most of the playing time out there, a theory that relies on Reimold’s health not holding up again. Even when McLouth gets rested or hurt, the main backups, as it stands now, would be a combination of corner outfielders who were here last season in addition to Trayvon Robinson, or whatever combination thereof makes the team in Sarasota.

The Greenberg signing appears to be the sign-’em-now, figure-out-what-to-do-with-’em-later philosophy at work. But it would be one of the feel-good stories of Spring Training if it worked at all, and it would definitely give me a chance to use more hyphens.

Bobby Dickerson, the newly named third-base coach, is another example of a long road working out well at 47. He was the Orioles’ minor league roving infield coordinator for the past three years and was part of the Bowie coaching staff responsible for getting Manny Machado prepared to play third base last season, working out Machado at third before Baysox games.

He served as Norfolk’s manager for the latter part of 2010 when then-manager Gary Allenson was promoted to Orioles third-base coach. He has been in the Orioles’ Spring Training camp and has a familiarity with all the players.

Dickerson played for Buck Showalter in the Yankees’ organization in the late 1980s. He played seven years in the minors, then  started his managerial career at Bluefield in 1990. In 10 seasons managing in the minors, two in rookie ball, five in Double A and three in Triple A, he has a 638-571 record.

Dickerson replaces the successful and respected DeMarlo Hale, who was hired as Toronto’s bench coach. Buck Showalter’s contract extension is now the lone remaining piece of coaching staff business to be settled. Various outlets have already reported he and owner Peter Angelos are closing in on an agreement, but it is on hold during the holiday break.

Happy New Year to all readers who might not pop in until after the holiday. Here’s hoping your college teams cover the spread this week and next.