MILWAUKEE -- Second baseman Bill Ripken may be back on the active roster, but he was not in the starting lineup for last night's series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Juan Bell played last night and will be in the starting lineup again tonight, though manager John Oates insists that Ripken is the club's everyday second baseman.
"Billy is our second baseman," Oates said before last night's game, "but Billy's stats are very average against [Don] August and [Jaime] Navarro. Last week, Tito went 2-for-2 against one of them and had a triple and two RBI against the other."
Bell has been the everyday second baseman since Ripken went on the disabled list July 16 with a strained muscle in his rib cage. Though he made some costly mistakes early on, Bell played well enough to make the Bell-Ripken situation a sensitive one.
"I expect Billy to do most of the playing for a while to see where we stand," Oates said. "If Billy plays well, he'll play, but I can use both of them. Both will play."
If Bell doesn't come out of this with a full-time job in the Orioles infield, he apparently will come out a more valuable player.
"No doubt about it," Oates said, "not only to somebody else, but in my eyes also."
Davis could play Monday
Glenn Davis could return to the Orioles lineup as soon as Monday in Texas, if he decides to join the club on the second leg of the road trip.
Davis is playing first base for the Class AA Hagerstown Suns and will be under no restriction when he returns to the major leagues. Oates said he's ready to play first base right now.
"I'll probably use him as the designated hitter his first game back so that he can concentrate entirely on hitting," Oates said, "but I don't think it'll become an everyday thing."
Catcher Bob Melvin was hit on the hand by a throw as he slid into second base in the second inning last night, but remained in the game. The incident sparked an argument between Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn and second-base umpire Ted Hendry over whether Melvin had interfered with a double-play relay to first, but the play stood as a force out at second.
Reliever Todd Frohwirth continued to pitch well, working 3 1/3 innings of one-hit relief after he took over for Roy Smith in the fifth inning.
Frohwirth has been scored upon in just seven of his 33 games this year and leads the team in ERA at 1.96.
Devereaux career high
The bases-empty home run by Mike Devereaux in the ninth inning didn't change the outcome of the game, but it did give the Orioles center fielder 13 homers for the year -- a career high.
Uecker visits stadium
Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker held a news conference yesterday to report on the progress of his recovery from a July 19 operation to repair an aortic aneurysm.
Uecker remains off the air indefinitely, but he said yesterday that he wants to come back in a few weeks to call an occasional home game. He has lost some weight, but he apparently hasn't lost his sense of humor.
Someone asked him why he called the Brewers' July 16 game after his doctor came to the stadium and informed him of the life-threatening aneurysm.
"I decided to do the game that night," he replied, "because I had an aneurysm clause in my contract. You work with an aneurysm, you get a bonus."
He was also asked whether the problem was hereditary.
"Our dog had it," he answered, "but he's OK now."
Reliever Jose Bautista apparently will be sent to Class AAA Rochester if he clears waivers.