- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2006

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — When Baltimore Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo watches Brandon Fahey excel at baseball’s subtle but crucial tasks, he sees a little bit of himself in the rookie infielder.

Fahey has impressed Perlozzo with his penchant for doing the little things.

“I was like that. I knew that I had to be able to sacrifice bunt, hit and run,” Perlozzo said. “I knew I needed to play good defense, run the bases right and steal.”

Perlozzo parlayed his abilities into a major league career with Minnesota and San Diego during which he played 12 games over two years. Fahey has never played above Class AA Bowie and is in his first big league spring training camp.

In Baltimore’s 5-0 victory over the Florida Marlins yesterday, Fahey went 0-for-3, lowering his spring average to .312. But he reached base on an error and a fielder’s choice, stole his second base of the spring and moved a runner over with a groundout.

Fahey is neither awed by the experienced players around him nor particularly worried about forcing his way into the Orioles’ plans — at least not yet.

“I’m trying not to do too much,” said Fahey, whose father, Bill, caught 12 years in the majors for Washington, Texas, San Diego and Detroit between 1971 and 1983. “I came in here with basically nothing to lose.”

Employing that strategy, the 25-year-old has been one of the surprises of spring training — even if he admits to being a little jumpy before his first appearance in an Orioles uniform.

“The first couple of games, I was nervous,” Fahey said. “On the bench, wondering whether I was going to go in or not, my palms started sweating. I had to go get some rosin and put it on there.”

But the jitters didn’t persist.

“He’s always in the right place. He’s always making the plays. He plays exactly to his ability. … He doesn’t try to do anything more than he’s capable of and the things he’s capable of. He’s pretty decent,” Perlozzo said.

Fahey is coming off a career-high .291 average with a league-leading 22 sacrifice bunts, which tied him for the minor league lead in that category. After the season, the shortstop played for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League, splitting his time between short and second base.

Eventually, Perlozzo thinks Fahey could force his way into a utility role with Baltimore, a team that hasn’t produced a lot of homegrown talent in recent years.

“It’s important we have good players, period. It’s even more important that you can bring those kinds of guys in from your minor league system,” Perlozzo said. “It doesn’t say a lot when you have to go outside your organization to get a utility guy.”

Meanwhile, third baseman Melvin Mora was scratched from yesterday’s lineup after inexplicably missing the team bus. Perlozzo said he believed Mora misunderstood the travel roster and thought he was supposed to remain in Fort Lauderdale.

“I’m sure it was an honest mistake on his part,” Perlozzo said.

Desi Relaford replaced Mora at third base.

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