The Orioles announced during last night's rain delay that infielder Tim Hulett has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday.
To fill Hulett's roster spot, the club purchased the contract of reserve infielder Tommy Shields, a Fairfax, Va., native, from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.
Hulett will return to his hometown, Springfield, Ill., for the funeral of his 6-year-old son, Sam, who died Thursday of injuries suffered when he was hit by a car Wednesday.
Club officials said Hulett would rejoin the team Aug. 3, when the Orioles return to Baltimore to play the Detroit Tigers, though he could not return to the active roster until two days later.
There are no provisions in baseball rules to provide bereavement leave.
Shields, 27, a left-handed hitter who was acquired at the end of spring training 1991 from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, was hitting .277 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 86 games.
Of his call-up under the circumstances, Shields said: "I think it's kind of sobering. If there's any way I would never go up and Timmy would have his son back, I would rather never go up."
Wednesday's rain delay in Chicago and the weariness of reliever Alan Mills have given Orioles manager Johnny Oates a chance to tinker with the starting rotation.
Storm Davis, who had been scheduled to start today's nationally televised game against the Texas Rangers, has been scratched and will work in the bullpen until next Friday, when the Orioles open a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Davis will start one of the games of Friday's day-night doubleheader.
Rick Sutcliffe, who had been scheduled to oppose Nolan Ryan tomorrow, will work today, and Mike Mussina will pitch tomorrow. Ben McDonald, Arthur Rhodes and Sutcliffe will pitch in New York against the Yankees next week.
Oates said Davis, who pitched well in his two starts against the Minnesota Twins and the White Sox, was moved back to the bullpen temporarily to provide relief help, especially for Mills, who is fourth in the American League in relief innings (59.1).
"Right now, Mills is extended," said Oates.
Davis is 2-8 against the Rangers since June 1988. Mussina one-hit the Rangers July 17, and is 2-0 lifetime against Texas with a 2.38 ERA.
Oates said he was not concerned about bringing back Mussina on three days' rest, rather than the customary four -- he pitched Wednesday afternoon in Chicago -- because he did not pitch very long.
"Mussina only threw 59 pitches in Chicago," said Oates. "It's the first time in his big-league career that he hasn't been sore after a start. It was like a work day."
"Besides, if a guy's been your best pitcher all year, why not pitch him?"
Hoiles itching to return
Though catcher Chris Hoiles is itching to get back into the lineup after four weeks on the disabled list with a broken wrist, Oates said he's all for the slow and steady course.
"Chris says he'll be back in two to three weeks. He's champing at the bit. We just have to slow him down," said Oates.
Oates said Hoiles was X-rayed yesterday and the mending process was proceeding "OK."