CHICAGO -- The Baltimore Orioles bullpen is undermanned and overworked, but help probably will arrive in about a week.
Manager Frank Robinson has been getting by with a four-man relief corps, and one of those pitchers -- closer Gregg Olson -- has been on a limited work schedule. That means that Mike Flanagan, Paul Kilgus and Mark Williamson have been carrying the weight of the struggling starting rotation on three shoulders.
The workload "will cut down as the starters become more consistent," said Robinson, who started the season with a nine-man pitching staff because of the numerous open dates in April.
Robinson said he will go to 10 pitchers in early May but indicated that the decision was not necessarily tied to the availability of veteran left-hander Joe Price, who will be eligible to join the major-league roster May 1.
Price has not pitched particularly well for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, but his minor-league performance doesn't figure to work heavily against him.
"We know what he can do," Robinson said. "When a guy goes down there just to get his innings in, you don't place a lot of importance on the results."
Tuesday night in review
The Orioles ran into a near replay of their Opening Day blowout loss to Chicago White Sox starter Jack McDowell, dropping a rain-delayed, 10-4 decision Tuesday night at Comiskey Park.
The game was delayed for more than two hours in the second inning, but that didn't keep the White Sox from pounding Orioles starter Dave Johnson for nine runs over four innings.
Johnson retired the side in order in the first, but he came back from the delay to give up a two-run home run to Frank Thomas in the second inning and another two-run shot to Robin Ventura in the third.
"I felt great when I came back out, but I didn't have the same stuff," Johnson said. "I got three ground balls in the first inning, and I had a nasty sinker going. Then I went out two hours later, and it was straight as an arrow."
Thomas had three hits and a career-high four RBI. The Orioles got late-inning home runs by Joe Orsulak and Tim Hulett, but that was after the White Sox had built a 10-1 lead.
Davis hits pinch homer
First baseman Glenn Davis, who has been hobbled by a strained left hamstring, was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game last night. But Davis came on as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning and hit his fourth homer of the year, a bases-empty shot off reliever Wayne Edwards.
Ankle sprain nags Milligan
Outfielder/first baseman Randy Milligan still is feeling the effects of the ankle sprain he suffered when he collided with the White Sox' Thomas in the exhibition opener in Sarasota, Fla.
Robinson favors autograph law
Robinson said yesterday that he favors legislation that would protect memorabilia collectors against fraudulent claims and forged autographs.
"The innocent small-time collectors are getting ripped off," he said. "The experts can tell what's legitimate and what's not, but the novices are getting taken advantage of."