Manager John Oates is not pressing the panic button, but the Baltimore Orioles are at the point where they can't afford to lose another outfielder to injury.
"I'm begging for outfielders," said Oates. "I can't play Dewe [Dwight Evans] and Slack [Joe Orsulak] every single day."
Those two, plus Mike Devereaux, are the only full-time outfielder available with Brady Anderson and Jeff McKnight on the disabled list. The fourth man is David Segui, who had his troubles with the sun falling behind the home-plate area seats while playing left field Thursday night.
Oates returned Segui to left last night and gave Orsulak reprieve from the starting lineup so he could get "two of the next three days off."
Despite two errors and another misplay in one game, Oates sai the "best way to get David over it is to put him back out there. I've seen that same thing happen to full-time left fielders who are great players, like Rickey Henderson."
Still, a four-man rotation may not be enough. Evans has som minor difficulty with an Achilles' tendon, and Oates does not want to rest two outfielders on the same day.
"But if we've got a game with a chance to win, Orsulak, Dev and Evans will be in the outfield in the late innings."
Oates said there is always a chance another outfielder could b recalled from the minors, but added "we're not going to make the move unless someone else gets hurt."
The manager is standing firm on his decision not to return Rand Milligan to left.
That's fine with Milligan, who said "I'm just not the man. Wha Gee [Segui] is going through would have happened to me as well. I just feel more comfortable in the infield."
Milligan said he would play there if necessary to help the tea and that "I don't have any feelings one way or the other. But if he thinks that's not where I belong, that's OK with me."
In a dire emergency, Oates said he would use Juan Bell to "go catch a ball" in the outfield. "But you don't want to use a patchwork lineup if you can avoid it."
Milligan will return soon
Treatments have improved Milligan's sprained left thumb, and he could return to first base as soon as Tuesday.
"There's a little soreness, but it feels a lot better than expected," he said. "Sunday I'll hit with the regular guys. Hopefully, I'll be in there."
Milligan wanted to take batting practice yesterday, but was overruled and hit off the batting tee which he said "is a lot easier."
With an 0-for-5 lifetime performance against Todd Stottlemyre, today's Toronto starter, Oates said Milligan may be restricted to pinch hitting today.
McDonald's mechanics OK
Ben McDonald received the results of his biomechanics study and said they showed only "a few little minor things."
He continues to throw and is "feeling better every time Depending on what I feel, they might want me to pitch somewhere [in the minors] a couple of times before I come back."
That probably will be out of the bullpen, because the Orioles ar taking it slowly with McDonald this time. An inning at a time, instead of the five he threw after first returning from the elbow injury following spring training.
McDonald was pleased about Louisiana State's victory in the College World Series yesterday.
"About time," he said. "I've had to suffer through a lot of years, five of the last six I think we've been there."
He watched the Tigers' 6-3 clinching victory over Wichita State between treatments yesterday and talked to some of his former teammates earlier in the week.
Bill Ripken returned to the lineup last night. His back was having a good day. . . . Nothing new on Glenn Davis. Oates said Davis could begin taking live batting practice "the first of next week," which means Tuesday since the club is off tomorrow. . . . The team still has not decided when Craig Worthington will go on rehabilitation assignment after recuperating from a hamstring injury.