MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Hoiles got an early day off, and the Orioles had a mild scare before last night's game against the Minnesota Twins.
A bruised right elbow, the result of a first-inning foul tip the night before, put Hoiles on the bench for last night's game. Jeff Tackett, originally scheduled to catch this afternoon, made his second start of the season.
Hoiles' arm stiffened overnight, influencing the Orioles' decision to get precautionary X-rays, which revealed only a bad bruise.
"Last night [Monday] and this morning [yesterday], it was throbbing and pretty painful," said Hoiles, who was able to finish the game, but had trouble sleeping later. He went to the park early yesterday and then to the hospital for X-rays.
"I got into the whirlpool, hoping it would loosen up," Hoiles said. "But it stayed real tender in a rather big area, so they decided to get it checked."
By the time Hoiles returned from the hospital, manager Johnny Oates had decided that Tackett would replace him in the lineup. "When Chris got back, he wanted to see how he felt after throwing and hitting to determine if he could play," said Oates. "But I told him he was only going to catch one of the two games anyhow, so there was no sense pushing it."
After taking part in pre-game practice, Hoiles pronounced himself ready if needed. "I would hope if the occasion came up, that he [Oates] wouldn't hesitate to use me," he said.
Hoiles is the Orioles' leading hitter among regulars, with a .328 average, and had reached base by a hit or walk in each of the first 18 games -- the only player in the American League to do so. He went hitless in three at-bats against Bill Krueger, ending the string Monday night, but said his swing was affected only mildly by the injury.
"[Chuck] Knoblauch caught me on the top of the elbow with the second pitch he fouled off in the first inning," Hoiles said of the Twins' No. 2 hitter. "I didn't show much because [Shane] Mack was on first base at the time, and I didn't want him to know it was bothering me."
As it turned out, Mack stole second while Knoblauch was striking out on the next pitch -- but then was thrown out trying to steal an inning later.
"It hurts a little bit to swing because of the extension of the elbow," said Hoiles. "But it hurt a lot more to throw."
Hoiles expects to play today, and Oates said he wouldn't hold him out. "The only way he won't start is if he gets here and tells me it's still bothering him," said Oates.
In addition to leading Orioles regulars in hitting, Hoiles also is tied for the club home run leadership with four and is tied for second in RBI with 10, trailing Brady Anderson's 18.