It is a common practice in baseball for injured players to go on rehabilitation assignments. Usually they consist of a week or two in the minor leagues just to get the rust out of the system.
The Orioles have had more than their share of those projects thiyear, to the point where the situation is reversed. Sometimes the end of the rehab period takes place in the big leagues.
For the second straight game the Orioles have just such a case, as Anthony Telford (2-2, 2.70) faces the Toronto Blue Jays tonight (7:35, Ch. 2) at the SkyDome. Two years ago Telford was injured in a freak accident while running before a game. It wasn't until this year that he was able to progress to the Double A level.
"He's actually still in his rehabilitation program," manager FranRobinson said. "He hasn't had the time to build his arm back up -- and the same is true of Mesa," he said of Jose Mesa, who beat the Jays last night.
Despite some early success in the big leagues, Telford admits he still isn't the pitcher he was before injuring his shoulder. "I was throwing in the 90s [mph] then," he said. "They said it would take two years [for complete velocity recovery]. If I can get back to the 90s next year, that's all I want."
In the meantime, Telford is doing just fine getting by on the physical ability he has. He's relying more on a sinker and breaking pitches. But it has been enough to convince Robinson that he'd be willing to take the 24-year-old righthander as is. "He has the stuff to win up here just the way he is, as long as he throws strikes and gets ahead of the hitters," said Robinson.
Which is what Telford hopes to do the rest of the year.