NEW YORK -- Pitcher Rick Sutcliffe rejoined the team in time for last night's game after traveling to Springfield, Ill., to attend the funeral of Samuel Hulett.
Hulett, the 6-year-old son of Orioles infielder Tim Hulett, died of injuries sustained when he was struck by a car last week. The funeral was Tuesday afternoon.
"I got to talk to Tim and let him know that everybody would have liked to be there," said Sutcliffe, who was asked by manager Johnny Oates to represent the team at the funeral. "I told him everybody was thinking of him and his family.
"He told me he would be with us on the next homestand, but I think that the toughest days he'll have to endure were yesterday [Tuesday] and the next few days."
The Orioles have told Hulett to take as long as he needs to take care of himself, his wife, Linda, and their three sons. The club placed him on the disabled list so he would be under no pressure to return, so he is not eligible to play until Wednesday.
Sutcliffe said the display of sympathy and affection from the city of Springfield was heartwarming, and it was a tribute to the contribution that the Hulett family has made to the community.
"I just can't describe the feeling," he said. "I know that town really loves them. He has done a lot of wonderful things in that town that you never hear about. If somebody takes $10,000 for a card show and doesn't show up, everybody hears about it, but Tim Hulett goes and speaks and does things every week of the year for nothing, and no one knows about it until something like this happens."
Sutcliffe also applauded the people of Baltimore for the way they have shown their feelings for the Huletts during a time of tragedy.
"The people of Baltimore were wonderful," he said. "I've been on the field for a lot of moments of silence, and there is always somebody yelling, 'Come on, start the game.' But this time, you didn't hear a thing. You could tell they felt the loss right along with us."
Oates was angered by a headline in the New York Post that insinuated that Ben McDonald hit Matt Nokes in the head intentionally. The headline, "Headhunting in the Bronx" accompanied a story that only left open the possibility that the pitch was not an accident, but the manager was still piqued.
"I have never known anyone in the game -- and I'll go to my grave saying this -- that ever wanted to hit anyone in the head. I don't know who that writer was, but the intent wasn't to hit the guy in the head."
Nokes didn't start last night's game, but he didn't figure to be in the lineup against a left-handed starter.
Sutcliffe on Sutcliffe
Sutcliffe is scheduled to close the three-game series today against left-hander Curt Young and hopes to put an awful month of July behind him. He has not won since June 30, when he improved his record to 10-6.
"I don't think I've ever had a worse month than that," he said. "I'm trying to find a way to shut down the big inning, but every hit I gave up the last time out was on a fastball. I've been trying to throw the ball by people instead of continuing to make good pitches."