(Kline, in happier times)

After a brutal first week, Orioles reliever Steve Kline is homesick, writes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Rick Hummel.

“I’m miserable,” Steve Kline said.

The biggest reason, of course, is the 23.18 earned-run average that was the first week’s work for the former Cardinals lefthander who now is wearing Baltimore Orioles orange and black.

But, Kline says, his feelings go beyond statistics.

“It’s not what I thought it would be,” Kline said, declining to address the negative specifics emanating from his brief time in Baltimore. “Sometimes you miss the old places. But you’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt.”

Kline, 32, is with the Orioles because they dealt him a $5.5 million hand for two years, far more than the Cardinals cared to invest in the reliever, who was here for four years. “I had to take care of my family,” he said.

But he said that among other things, he missed the “leadership” involved in playing for Tony La Russa and the Cardinals – “the way guys went about their business. I miss a lot about the guys in St. Louis. … St. Louis always got me geared up to play there.”

Kline said he would undo his free-agent departure if he could. “I’d like to rub that bottle and have that genie come out,” he said, “and grant me a wish that I could go back.”

Speaking from his hotel room in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Orioles are playing a series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kline acknowledged that he was speaking in a tone of almost total frustration.

“I feel like I’m going through the motions right now, I guess,” he said, “instead of being all pumped up, rocking and rolling and coming in cussing.
“I need to start concentrating on every pitch or something. I guess I have to try something different.”

“A 20-something ERA doesn’t look good. I don’t think (the Cardinals) would take me back with that,” Kline said.

“Maybe if I get it down to 10, it would be a little different.

“It’s going to take me a little while to realize what’s going on and to put the past behind me. I miss St. Louis. But what can you do?”