Hairston returning to Triple-A

O's demote prospect to make room for veteran DeShields

2nd baseman off DL today

Rookie made impact at bat, on bases, in field

July 23, 1999|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

BOSTON -- The Orioles announced after last night's game that they will activate second baseman Delino DeShields from the disabled list today and option rookie Jerry Hairston back to Triple-A Rochester. The move occurs more than a month after DeShields went on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring suffered June 19.

The decision had been anticipated for a week, but Hairston did nothing to make it an easy one for general manager Frank Wren and manager Ray Miller.

Hairston batted .277 with six doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs and 10 runs scored in 83 at-bats. He also stole seven bases and played error-free defense, impressing Miller with his range, agility and aggressiveness at second base.

"You know it's a possibility but it wasn't as if I was thinking a lot about it," Hairston said last night. "At the same time I wanted to see how long I could stay here. As much as you tell yourself it could happen, you never really brace yourself for it."

Hairston said he felt much better about what he showed during his extended look compared to his troubles in spring training.

"You get better any time you get a regular chance to play," he said. "In spring training you're still trying to get the kinks out. This was a better chance to show something. It's the real thing."

DeShields returns after a rehabilitation assignment that took him to every rung of the Orioles' farm system except Rookie-level Bluefield and Sarasota. Miller had predicted his return for last Friday; however, DeShields suffered residual tightness in the hamstring that delayed the move.

"We are very pleased to have Delino rejoin the team," Wren said. "He was playing very well prior to his injury and his return gives an element of speed and versatility to our lineup. Jerry Hairston did an outstanding job in his time with us, and by going to Rochester he will continue to play and develop on an everyday basis."

DeShields missed the first month of the season after suffering a broken thumb March 4 during an intrasquad game and received only 190 at-bats between stays on the disabled list.

He convinced Wren of his health with a 2-for-5 performance at Single-A Frederick on Wednesday night.

While DeShields was missing, Hairston produced a pair of four-hit games among his 23 starts and constructed a seven-game hitting streak from July 5-11.

In his third professional season, Hairston, 23, had batted .268 with 14 steals at Rochester before being promoted to replace DeShields. The Orioles have been impressed enough with the rookie that they have attempted to work a trade for DeShields, who is in the first season of a three-year deal.

Pub Date: 7/23/99

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