DeShields set to return

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

O's face roster decision

Reboulet (DL) or Garcia (Rochester) appear options

April 11, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The Orioles are expected to activate second baseman Delino DeShields from the disabled list in time for today's game. To make room on the 25-man roster, they apparently must choose between sending down rookie Jesse Garcia or placing Jeff Reboulet on the DL.

DeShields was eligible to come off yesterday, but club officials decided he would benefit from playing a second game at Double-A Bowie, especially in the field. His progress was hampered Friday by a nearly two-hour rain delay and sloppy conditions.

"The reports I got were he swung the bat very well, he looked very comfortable at the plate, but it just looked like there was a little bit of tentativeness," said general manager Frank Wren. "With another day he'll probably be feeling better. And when I talked to Delino, that's exactly what he told me."

Last night DeShields went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and is 2-for-6 overall. DeShields, who fractured his left thumb while catching a line drive in a March 4 intrasquad game, played in two simulated games last week at the minor-league complex in Sarasota, Fla., before heading to Bowie.

Garcia made his first major-league start yesterday in place of Reboulet, who continues to play in pain because of tendinitis in his left heel. It was most noticeable when he twice made sudden stops at second base last week, including the sixth inning of Friday's game as he advanced on a wild pitch.

"When he goes hard and shuts it down, that's when he jars that heel a little bit," Orioles manager Ray Miller said.

On not playing, Reboulet said: "He took me out. Let's just leave it at that. It's a little sore."

Garcia singled on the first pitch thrown to him in the majors, leading off the third inning. He also contributed a sacrifice bunt.

Linton gets his chance

Another roster move will come today when Doug Linton, who spent all last season at Triple-A Salt Lake, makes his first major-league start since 1996 with Kansas City. Linton was among the club's last two spring cuts, but remained in Baltimore until a fifth starter was needed.

Miller said yesterday he'll try to stay with 11 pitchers when Linton is activated rather than remove another position player. That doesn't bode well for left-hander Doug Johns, who could be sent to Triple-A Rochester.

Adding a 12th pitcher had appeared more necessary on Friday after Miller again dug deep into his bullpen. Before yesterday, Orioles starters had given up 20 runs in 18 innings (10.00 ERA).

"It's making it more and more difficult for us, but we're still in that mode [of 11 pitchers]," Wren said. "But we've got to get more innings out of our starters, for sure. Right now we need about 15 pitchers.

"If we're still talking about this in another four weeks, then we've got a problem."

Two years removed from "Tommy John" surgery, Linton gave up only two earned runs in 20 innings this spring. He hasn't pitched since April 3 in Birmingham, Ala., but was pleased with Thursday's bullpen session.

"I don't think one start is going to make or break me," he said. "The big thing is consistency. I'll give them as many innings as I can and go from there. But I want to make it difficult for Ray Miller to take me out of the rotation."

Greene changes clubhouses

Standing in the visitors' dugout at Camden Yards during batting practice, Willie Greene said he was "a little surprised" not to continue his career with the Orioles.

"I thought I was going to be coming to spring training with them, but I guess they had other plans," he said. "That's the way baseball works. Hopefully, it'll turn out for the best for both of us."

Greene has landed on his feet, and in Toronto. He signed as a free agent over the off-season after the Orioles cut him loose.

Greene lasted only 24 games, and 40 at-bats, with the Orioles after being acquired in an Aug. 10 trade with Cincinnati for former No. 1 pick Jeffrey Hammonds. He hit .150 with one home run.

"I thought I was going to get more playing time. At least that's what they told me. But there was nowhere I could play," said Greene, who walked as a pinch hitter yesterday and is still looking for his first hit of the season.

Greene's time in Baltimore was brief but not uneventful. He missed the last five games after running into the left-field fence at SkyDome and suffering a concussion and jammed shoulder. "I remember hitting the wall and I remember waking up like five minutes later," he said. "It took about two weeks for the pain to go away."

Around the horn

Blue Jays second baseman Craig Grebeck left the game in the fourth inning with a bruised right foot. Shawn Green was 0-for-2 against Mike Mussina and is 3-for-25 (.120) against him.

Pub Date: 4/11/99

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