Bill Ripken to be activated for today's game; Bautista sent 0) down
Bill Ripken left with the Baltimore Orioles for a six-game road trip last night and will be reinstated to the active roster officially today.
To make room, pitcher Jose Bautista was designated for assignment. Bautista pitched one scoreless inning Wednesday
night in his latest stint with the Orioles and was here only two days.
"He's close enough to make the flight," manager John Oates said of Ripken, who has played two games on rehabilitation assignment, one for the Class A Frederick Keys, one for the Class AA Hagerstown Suns. He went 3-for-5 for the Suns on Wednesday night.
He has been bothered by strained muscles in the rib cage and was sore after a couple of headfirst slides in his opening game at Frederick.
"Billy fell flat on his face and then dove into the pitcher," Oates said. "The next day some adhesions must have loosened up."
There is little doubt he remains No. 1 in the pecking order at second base. But Juan Bell has given the Orioles an interesting situation at the position.
"We have seen that Juan is capable of doing things we thought he could," Oates said. "For about seven days, he was probably our MVP. He's a player who could be in our plans.
"Billy's our second baseman, but Juan has proved he could be an important part of the club. At the very least, he has created more value for himself."
Glenn Davis returned to Hagerstown last night for his fifth game with the Suns and "will stay there at least through Sunday, maybe longer," said Oates.
Davis played first base and batted fourth against the Reading Phillies, who were battling for the Eastern League's fourth playoff spot. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, a ground out to shortstop and a line-drive out to center field, playing the entire game in the Suns' 2-1 loss.
With Reading leading, 2-1, and a runner on in the bottom of the ninth, he was called out on strikes against Phillies reliever Toby Borland.
More on Melvin, Marlins
Florida Marlins president Carl Barger said yesterday that he has interviewed "several" general manager candidates this week and that he wants to have a full-time GM in place by "some time in September."
Barger didn't say whom he has interviewed but says he has two more interviews scheduled for the next five days.
Three of those believed to be candidates -- Atlanta Braves scout Bill Lajoie, Baltimore Orioles assistant GM Doug Melvin and Montreal Expos assistant GM Dan Duquette -- said they had yet to be contacted by Barger. Barger has asked permission to interview Lajoie and Melvin.
Franco out up to 6 weeks
Texas Rangers second baseman Julio Franco may be out for as long as six weeks because of a heel injury, according to the club.
Franco was more optimistic.
"I'm not going to miss that much," said Franco, who is batting .335. "I'll do something. I'll have them tape it up."
Franco injured his heel running out a grounder during Monday's game in Milwaukee.
The injury was aggravated when he hit first base running out a grounder Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader at Memorial Stadium. He was helped from the field and has not played since.
Franco had the heel examined Wednesday. Orioles physician Dr. Charles Silberstein diagnosed it as a bone bruise. Silberstein said the injury could take as long as six weeks to heal, but less if Franco can handle the pain.
Manager Bobby Valentine said he would use Franco as a pinch hitter if necessary, but doesn't plan to put him on the disabled list.
The Rangers said farewell to Memorial Stadium last night. They were 46-67 at the park. In their first game here, in 1972, they lost, 1-0, on C Ken Suarez's wild throw to first on a potential double-play ball in the ninth. The ball hit Brooks Robinson in the head. . . . The Orioles will hold a news conference today at the new ballpark to announce several club policies and procedures for next season.
Bautista going long
Despite his appearance in the ninth inning Wednesday, Jose Bautista is ticketed to pitch in long relief during his latest stint with the Orioles.
"He'll be going very long," said Oates. "He and Roy Smith will be in that role with [Todd] Frohwirth moving into Willie's [Mark Williamson's] spot. He was the right man for the job we needed."
Bautista's outing was his first with the Orioles since April 18.