Even on good nights, the Orioles can't escape their injury curse. Rookie first baseman David Segui left Memorial Stadium to undergo a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test on his right knee immediately after last night's 6-3 victory over Toronto.
The results of the test will not be known until today, but manager Frank Robinson said it was doubtful Segui would play in either of the Orioles' final two games. He was scratched 45 minutes before last night's game, and was replaced by Jeff McKnight, who went 1-for-4.
Segui, 24, batted .290 in September after missing nine games because of the knee, which he strained running into a tarp on Aug. 29. Even if his injury is not serious, it could affect his plans to play a half-season of winter ball for Estrellas in the Dominican Republic.
Another Oriole sidelined by injury last night was catcher Mickey Tettleton, who is day-to-day with a sore left Achilles' tendon. "It was very painful for me to watch him limp through nine innings [Sunday]," Robinson said. "I figured it wouldn't be right to put him back in there."
Meanwhile, rookie catcher Chris Hoiles said he will rest several weeks before starting rehabilitation for his right shoulder, which he injured making a throw to second Sept. 23. Surgery remains an option if his recovery does not proceed according to plan. Hoiles said he saw four doctors, "and none had ever seen anything like this."
* TORONTO SHUFFLE: Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston turned defensive when asked about George Bell starting again in leftfield last night. "Bell used to be the leftfielder, didn't he?" Gaston asked. Yes, but he helped play three balls into doubles Sunday against Boston.
Gaston, however, tried for more offense by starting John Olerud at DH rather than playing Rob Ducey in left and moving Bell to DH. Olerud was 9-for-20 against the Orioles this season before going 0-for-3 last night. Ducey has batted .302 with no homers and seven RBIs since his promotion from Triple A on Sept. 4.
In any case, Bell played his position without incident, and made a nice running catch on Bill Ripken in the third. He made 19 straight starts at DH between Aug. 25 and Friday night, because of blurred vision that resulted from a collection of fluid around his right retina.
* GOOD NEWS: The Orioles were delighted that righthander Bob Milacki pitched seven shutout innings Sunday, defeating Cleveland in his first start since July 30. "He was in midseason form," pitching coach Al Jackson said. "You see that, you wish it was the All-Star break."
Milacki (5-8, 4.46) pitched 108 more innings in his rookie season and won nine more games, but his off-year can be traced directly to his inflamed right shoulder. He suffered no pain Sunday, and now believes his injury resulted from faulty mechanics, nothing more.
"I answered a lot of questions for myself," Milacki said. "At one point in the season I was wondering if I could still pitch up here. But this gave me a lot of confidence going into next year. It was very satisfying."
* SENIOR-ITIS? Lefthander Dan Boone, 36, spoke with general manager Roland Hemond yesterday about returning to the Senior League. Hemond said he has no objections, but he wants to receive clearance from the commissioner's office before granting permission.
The Orioles also have talked with Boone about playing winter ball for their Estrellas club in the Dominican. "Off-hand I think it would be good for him to play this winter," Hemond said. "He hasn't been working on that knuckleball all that long anyway."
The larger question is whether the Orioles will keep Boone on the 40-man roster. Hemond indicated the club would like him back -- "he had a fine year" -- but with so many younger pitchers in the system, he still could be left unprotected for the major-league draft.
* JOURNALISM 101: A television reporter from Toronto came up with the bright idea last night of asking Blue Jays centerfielder Mookie Wilson to comment on Gaston's decision to stick with lefthander David Wells in the sixth inning.
"What kind of idiot do you think I am, asking me a stupid question like that?" Wilson replied. "You're asking me to second-guess my manager. That's not my department. Why ask my opinion? My job is not to give an opinion."
Let's see, can you make a sound byte out of that?
* AROUND THE HORN: Sam Horn hit his second pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning. Both have come off Toronto righthander Duane Ward. The other was a grand slam Sept. 14. Ward also gave up a three-run homer to Boston's Tom Brunansky on Saturday. That's three biggies in 18 days.
Cecil Fielder is on the verge of becoming the first player since 1977 to hit 50 homers, but he already is a member of an even more select group. Fielder, Milwaukee's Greg Vaughn and Kansas City's Jeff Schulz are the only three players to reach base on a Cal Ripken error this year.
Last night's crowd of 24,442 pushed the Blue Jays' total attendance to 5,878,394, breaking the major-league record established by Los Angeles in 1982. Of course, it helps when you draw 3,885,284 at home -- an average of 47,966.
Blue Jays fans hung a bedsheet outside Gate E-2: "We believe" N NTC . . Toronto second baseman Manny Lee left last night's game after 2 1/2 innings with a sore right shoulder. He was replaced by Luis Sojo, who went 0-for-3.