- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

LOPEZ GETS CALL FOR OPENER

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.

A year ago, Rodrigo Lopez begrudgingly began the season in the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen.

This season, the right-hander will start on Opening Day against the Oakland Athletics. Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli made the announcement yesterday.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot this spring,” Mazzilli said. “I think he’s earned it.”

Although Lopez wasn’t pleased about being left out of the rotation last spring, he pitched effectively in relief before making his first start May 27. He ended up leading the Orioles with 14 wins and compiled a 3.59 ERA.

In 23 starts, Lopez went 11-7 with a 3.95 ERA. He learned of his Opening Day assignment in a brief meeting with Mazzilli before the Orioles played Boston, a game that ended in a 5-5 tie after 10 innings.

— Associated Press

Ponson injured, was arrested in January

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson, who said he hurt his right hand Tuesday night fending off a fellow restaurant patron, was charged in January with driving under the influence in Florida, authorities said.

Tuesday’s incident marked the second time in three months that the right-hander was involved in an altercation.

Ponson, 28, was arrested early Jan. 21 on Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Highway Patrol told the Associated Press. The arrest was first reported on the (Baltimore) Sun’s Web site.

Orioles, MLB impasse continues

A fourth straight day of intense negotiations between the Baltimore Orioles and Major League Baseball ended without an agreement on a financial protection package to shield the club from the arrival of the Washington Nationals.

MLB executives and Orioles owner Peter Angelos remain unable to agree on TV market territories for both the Orioles and Nationals and who controls asset rights to those territories. The lack of a deal continues to stall efforts to get Nationals games on local TV, as well as any substantive marketing efforts by the team.

MLB president Bob DuPuy said negotiations will continue over the weekend, not surprisingly since there are now just 10 days before Opening Day.

“We will keep going until it is done or we decide it cannot be done,” DuPuy said.

Eric Fisher

ORIOLES’ SCHEDULE

TODAY: vs. Nationals at Viera, 1:05 p.m.

TOMORROW: vs. Marlins at Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

SUNDAY: vs. Twins at Fort Lauderdale, 1:35 p.m.

MONDAY: vs. Marlins at Fort Lauderdale, 1:05 p.m.

TUESDAY: vs. Dodgers at Vero Beach, 1:05 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: vs. St. Louis at Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

THURSDAY: vs. St. Louis at Oklahoma City, 8:05 p.m.

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