OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Orioles will not announce their minor-league call-ups until today, but one of them arrived in town last night to prepare for his starting assignment against the Oakland Athletics tonight at the Oakland Coliseum.
Right-hander Bob Milacki was expected to get the call, so it was no surprise when he arrived at the team hotel late yesterday afternoon, but he was told not to show up at the ballpark until today. It was just as well, since he missed his flight yesterday morning and had to catch a later plane.
Milacki was optioned to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings on July 15 after going 5-7 as the Orioles' No. 4 starter during the first half of the season. He had better luck in the minor leagues, winning seven of eight decisions to earn a chance to rejoin the pennant race.
"I only had three really bad innings the whole time I was down there," Milacki said. "I went down there to get in some innings and work on my curveball. I didn't throw the changeup as much as I usually do. I thought overall I pitched pretty well."
Now, he wants to prove he can contribute again at the major-league level, where the intensity has risen considerably the past six weeks.
"I'm just glad to be back," he said. "I hope that I can contribute to the team by going seven, eight or possibly nine innings. But our bullpen hasn't been used much the last couple of days, so if I pitch a good seven, that'll probably be it."
Right-hander Todd Frohwirth was notified yesterday that he has been fined for the outburst that followed his ejection from the club's Aug. 19 game against the Seattle Mariners.
Frohwirth declined to give the amount, but it is believed he was levied a $1,000 fine by American League president Bobby Brown for throwing the baseball at the backstop, then throwing his hat and his glove back onto the field after he was ejected by umpire Larry Barnett for arguing a pitch.
Williamson could be back
Reports that Mark Williamson was sidelined for the season apparently were greatly exaggerated. Williamson threw on the side in consecutive days in Seattle and said yesterday that he hopes to be activated by the end of the road trip.
That is dramatically different from what he was saying only a week or so ago, when he went back to visit Birmingham, Ala., orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews complaining of soreness the elbow that was surgically repaired in May.
Williamson indicated then that he probably would not throw again this season, but now hopes to give the club added bullpen depth down the stretch.
"It feels real good today," Williamson said yesterday. "If all goes well, I hope to be activated before we get home. I don't know if they'll pitch me, but it's encouraging. I threw every day in Seattle. I played catch the first day and threw on the side back to back."
Orsulak to be activated
Right fielder Joe Orsulak, who has been on the disabled list since he sprained his left thumb in a game against the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 15, will be activated today.
Orsulak, the club's leading hitter at .307, will be available to play in tonight's game, though he still keeps the thumb tightly taped.
"I'm ready," Orsulak said. "I'm bringing my two home runs and 33 RBI back. Just call me savior."
Milacki warned outfielder Luis Mercedes not to be late for yesterday's flight to Oakland. Mercedes had been recalled to take the place of pitcher Anthony Telford on the roster, so he had to be in uniform for last night's game.
"I told him, 'You better get up. I'm not going to call you,' " Milacki said, "then I'm the one who missed the flight."