Jeff Ballard isn't expecting any starts during his return to the Baltimore Orioles and said yesterday, "I'll take whatever I can get."
Ballard was activated Friday night after more than a month with the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, for whom he had a 3-3 record with a 4.41 ERA in seven starts. He pitched three complete games.
Ballard entered last night's game as a reliever in the eighth inning.
Manager John Oates said Ballard "could be used in any role," but, presumably, that does not mean as a starter. Oates plans to go with his current five-man rotation until further notice.
"It went real well down there," said Ballard. "My first two starts weren't real good, but the last five were pretty good. I was right on schedule -- every five days."
Ballard said he "really wants to get some innings in, but I don't expect anything. I'll bide my time and hope I do well when I get in there."
Progress for Rhodes
Oates said he saw progress in Arthur Rhodes' most recent start, against the Minnesota Twins, and will go with him as long as possible.
"Sometimes, progress doesn't show up in the stats," said the manager. "He threw the ball better, with good velocity, much better than the previous start. And he's had some time off with a couple off days between starts."
The current rotation of Rhodes, Mike Mussina, Bob Milacki, Ben McDonald and Jose Mesa is scheduled for two more turns during the current homestand.
Davis works on defense
Glenn Davis spent a portion of yesterday's pre-game workout drilling on throws to the pitcher covering first base after making an error on that play Friday night.
"It was at his request," said Oates. "He threw the ball behind the guy [Mussina] in the game, but today, he didn't throw one away.
"Glenn said that was the only thing he hadn't worked on while he was out. You have to like what he did."
Mercedes in today?
Oates was being coy about the chances of Luis Mercedes being in today's lineup.
"It's a possibility," said the manager. "He could be in there hitting anywhere but third or fourth."
Mercedes will be activated after serving his International League suspension and is expected to get a look as the leadoff man.
"I don't think he'll pinch hit," said Oates. "We've got too many other guys to get at-bats. But he could be at any of the three outfield positions."
Bluefield left-hander Rick Krvida, the team's 23rd-round draftee in June, has been named Orioles Minor League Player of the Month.
Krvida went 5-0 in August with a 1.86 ERA and finished his rookie season 7-1 with a 1.89 ERA, fifth in the Appalachian League.
B6 He was drafted out of California (Pa). University.
Mark Williamson had pitched only 1 inning since leaving the disabled list before entering last night's game in the fifth, but Oates said, "There just haven't been opportunities to use him." . . . Oates has not toured the inside of the new stadium and hopes to see it during this homestand. "I'd like to take my family, so I hope I can do it next weekend," he said. . . . Today, McDonald seeks his first victory at Memorial Stadium since July 1. He is 0-4 in 6 starts at home since then.