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02/20/05 5:19 PM ET

Notes: Julio to have MRI on forearm

O's don't think it's serious, but not taking any chances

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Closer Jorge Julio will have an MRI performed on his right forearm and will be shut down until the team determines he is 100 percent healthy.

Julio complained of a strained forearm during his Winter League stint in Venezuela and club officials said they want to ensure that he is not hiding an injury. He participated in the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers and did not experience any discomfort. Still, the team is taking a cautious approach.

"Julio said he's fine," head trainer Richie Bancells said. "We just want to make sure. He can play catch and do all of the drills except throwing off the mound."

Julio has remained relatively healthy throughout his Orioles career, although he was shut down last winter with shoulder tendinitis but was healthy by Spring Training. The right-hander could be in a heated battle with left-hander B.J. Ryan for the closer spot.

Julio was replaced late last season by Ryan, who recorded two saves in the final week.

Club officials don't believe Julio's injury is serious, but want him to be at full strength when games begin March 3.


Sidney's lighter: Sidney Ponson was proud to reveal his weight Sunday after pitcher's physicals. He reported to camp at 253 pounds, 13 pounds trimmer than last spring. Ponson has looked noticeably lighter and said the key to his weight loss was reduced weight lifting.

"I have been working hard," he said. "I have been doing more stretching and more cardio. I only drink water, no more [cola]."

Club officials were encouraged by Ponson's condition, especially considering his 3-12 start last season when he appeared out of shape. This time last year, fresh off signing a three-year, $22.5 million contract, Ponson reported to camp a chubby 266 pounds and didn't get into baseball shape until midseason.

"Sidney looks good," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "I think the important thing for him is to pitch like he did in the second half of last year, to get off to a good start."

Ponson was 3-12 with a 6.29 ERA in the first half of 2004, compared with 8-3 with a 4.21 ERA in the second half.

Weaver to participate: Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver will be part of the club's Spring Training by serving as a guest instructor. Weaver, who led the Orioles to three American League pennants and one World Series title, will visit Fort Lauderdale Stadium occasionally to aid Mazzilli. Weaver visited the team's complex last season and Mazzilli said it was one of his biggest thrills of his career.

Mazzilli hung a picture of he and Weaver in his office at Camden Yards.

Rayisms: Perhaps the most entertaining part of Sunday's first workout for pitchers and catchers was the groggy voice of pitching coach Ray Miller yelling instructions -- and one-liners -- during drills.

Among his best lines: "If nobody's hitting, you ought to be able to throw a strike," and "One of my biggest complaints is when someone gives up a home run and says it's a good pitch. A good pitch is an out."

Base hits: All 28 pitchers and six catchers reported to camp on time except for reliever Jason Grimsley, who is expected to miss the season because of Tommy John surgery and will rehabilitate at his home near Kansas City. ... First baseman Walter Young and outfielder Val Majewski were the first position players to report. The rest of the position players are expected to report on Feb. 23, with the first full squad work on Feb. 24. ... Pitcher James Baldwin is wearing No. 23, Dave Borkowski is 37, Bruce Chen is 27 and Jay Witasick is 49.

Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.