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New Team, Same Problems

Former Baltimore pitcher Daniel Cabrera got his first crack at his old team Friday afternoon as the Nationals took on the Orioles and appeared to be the same ol' Cabrera.

Cabrera was slated to go three innings but reached his pitch count of around 50 in two innings. Cabrera struck out two, walked two, gave up two hits and one run in a 6-2 Nationals loss which seems pretty on par for what he did in an Orioles uniform.

Washington manager Manny Acta has become the latest person to be seduced by Cabrera's talent while being fully aware of his limitations.

"He lost his release point a couple of times," Acta said. "But you know what? When you have [good] stuff, you can get out of innings like he did."

But mechanics have and, as Thomas Boswell explained on the Nationals Journal, will always be an issue with Cabrera as "according to O's coaches, Cabrera was the worst natural athlete the club had ever acquired, in terms of agility, coordination, etc."

All of which paints Cabrera as a sympathetic figure - a guy who's simply not very athletic (something that can't be easy at 6-foot-9) but has a truly impressive arm and build. Which would explain the erratic nature of his performances; the man can be amazingly good or head-scratchingly bad, sometimes even in the same game.

Of course the highlight of the game (or perhaps lowlight for Cabrera) came in the first inning when Aubrey Huff, true to his word, drew a walk from Cabrera and then proceeded to steal second base on the next pitch.

While Cabrera's struggles can provide comedy I wonder if he'll ever put it all together. What do you guys think, will Daniel Cabrera ever cash in on his potential?

By CJ Holley  |  March 7, 2009; 11:09 AM ET
Categories:  Nationals , Orioles  
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Like most Orioles fans, I had extremely high hopes for Daniel. I went to one of his first Major League starts against Atlanta in 2004. He dominated the Braves that night but never could put it together. As for his athleticism, I always said if I was an opposing manager I would lay down bunt after bunt and let the hilarity ensue!

Posted by: virtueandvice | March 7, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The guy's lucky to hit the broad side of the barn some days. What he needed was more time in the minors.

Unless they send him down where he can work on mechanics and focus on only that, not on results, he'll remain the same. Hopefully he can bounce back from last year, because if he can't strike people out, he's out of luck. He allows WAY too many baserunners to only be striking out 95 in 180 innings. He needs at least 1 an inning.

The Orioles might want to start hoping he can hit like Ankiel.

Posted by: adampschroeder | March 8, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

"Cabrera was the worst natural athlete the club had ever acquired, in terms of agility, coordination, etc."

Agility, coordination, athleticism can be improved through running. Pitchers are supposed to run anyway to strengthen their legs. Put Cabrera on a regimen with lots of running.

Dennis Martinez was a pitcher with huge potential but a bust as an Oriole who became a perennial all-star once he left Baltimore.
Let's hope Cabrera can do the same.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | March 9, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

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