Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles could be back in uniform as early as tomorrow if the anticipation doesn't swallow him up first.
"It can't come soon enough for me," said Hoiles before yesterday's game. "I'm ready to go."
Hoiles, whose right wrist was broken June 23 when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Tim Leary of the New York Yankees, has received full medical clearance after the latest set of X-rays, taken Friday, came back negative.
"They say everything's OK. He [team doctor Charles Silberstein] gave me the OK," said Hoiles.
As a result, manager Johnny Oates said Hoiles would likely go on a rehabilitation assignment, perhaps tomorrow or Tuesday.
"He's looking good. He hit for 10 minutes today [yesterday] and all the balls disappeared," said Oates.
Oates said Hoiles would be sent to the Orioles' farm team where he could get the most playing time with out disrupting the team's routine.
Hoiles, who has been taking live batting practice for a week, said he feels very little pain when he swings, and is interested now in throwing and getting into condition.
From the five hole
Oates said he was "very comfortable" with using Alan Mills in the role of fifth starter.
"He's it for now. He got a good workout [Friday] and he'll be good and strong and ready Tuesday," said Oates.
Mills, who threw 54 pitches in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians in 13 innings, is scheduled to get a start in Tuesday's second game of the four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at SkyDome.
Oates said Mills, who started last Saturday in Boston, will probably be limited to 75 pitches Tuesday.
"It will be pitches, not innings, that we'll be looking at," said Oates.
Oates said the team will likely need a fifth starter three times during August, and Mills, who inherited the role from Storm Davis, who begged off the assignment, citing a sore heel, will get the job.
Oates said the starters will likely cut back on their work between starts, following Mike Mussina's success last Wednesday, when he pitched a five-hit shutout over the Detroit Tigers with an extra day's rest.
AIn fact, Oates said he would likely get Mills an additional start later in the month to give the starters a five-day rest period,
rather than the customary four.
"They're just going to be tossing a little bit on the side, just to tone it up and stay sharp," said Oates.
Welcome to the world
Second baseman Mark McLemore had a long night Friday, but it was for a good cause: He was awaiting the birth of his first child.
DeMarca Shea McLemore made her entrance to the world at a.m. yesterday at Mercy Hospital. She weighed in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces. DeMarca and her mom, Capri, are fine, though her father might be a little groggy.
"I've got five hours of sleep the last two days, but it was worth it," said McLemore.
The Indians are the first American League East team to win a series at Camden Yards. The Orioles had won six of seven previous East series and split the other, with the New York Yankees. . . . With a victory today, Cleveland will sweep the
Orioles for the first time in Baltimore since April, 1988, and join Oakland as the only teams to sweep the Orioles at Camden Yards.