Getting back in swing, Minor overdoes it Call-up...

July 02, 2000

Getting back in swing, Minor overdoes it

Call-up strains side taking extra BP, misses start; Hairston recovering

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK ROCH KUBATKO SUN STAFF DOUG KAPUSTIN : SUN STAFF Rising to occasion: Albert Belle leaps to take at least an extra-base hit away from Homer Bush in the third inning, then throws to first to double up Charlie Greene. Trying to improve his timing at the plate, as well as his chances of remaining in the lineup, Orioles third baseman Ryan Minor cost himself a start last night when he apparently pulled a muscle in his left side.

Minor said the injury occurred while taking some swings in the cage with hitting coach Terry Crowley. An ice pack was applied to the painful area, and trainer Richie Bancells advised Minor to skip batting practice. He was scratched from the lineup, with Jeff Conine replacing him.

Minor would have made his sixth start at third base this year, the latest opportunities coming while Cal Rlpken is on the disabled list. His status for today is uncertain.

"It shouldn't be that much of a problem," he said after pressing his hand against his side while walking to his locker. 'It's just a little setback. I shouldn't be out long. I can't afford it.

"Hopefully I'll be back in there [today], but that decision's not up to me."

Minor had two hits in Boston on Thursday and went 1-for-3 Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. A Roy Halladay pitch also hit him in the third inning, when the Orioles sent 11 batters to the plate. He had led off the inning by flying to right.

"I picked up my foot a little and the ball nicked me. It didn't hurt," he said. "I had to fake it a little to make sure I got the call. I didn't want to make two outs that inning."

Hairston progressing

Satisfied that his shoulder could, withstand the strain of swinging a bat, infielder Jerry Hairston has been playing with the rookie-league Gulf Coast Orioles while drawing closer to a return to Triple-A Rochester.

Hairston began the season in the majors before being sent down on April 9 when the Orioles added a 12th pitcher. He batted .280 in 29 games, with seven doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs, before succumbing to pain in the shoulder and having arthroscopic surgery May 19 to clean out the area. He had been hitting off a tee at the minor-league complex in Sarasota, Fla., before joining the Gulf Coast team.

In two games before last night, Hairston had gone l-for-5 with an RBI, a run scored, two walks, two strikeouts and two steals. He hadn't played in the field.

The latest projections have Hairston returning to the Red Wings around July 15.

Third baseman Tripper Johnson, the Orioles' sandwich pick in last month's draft, made his professional debut on Friday and went 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Slumping Anderson sits

Brady Anderson didn't start last night, giving Luis Matos a chance to play in center field despite there being a right-hander on the mound for Toronto.

Anderson is dealing with a sore quadriceps and a 6-for-51 (.118) slump over his past 14 games. His average reached a season-high .297 on May 26, but he's batted .189 (20-for-106) since then to leave it at .2 54.

"I'm just giving him a break, that's all," said manager Mike Hargrove. "He'll play [today] and well see about Monday. It's just a day off for him."

Philadelphia freedom

Pitchers took batting practice again yesterday in preparation for their trip to Philadelphia before the All-Star break.

Position players sat on the bench to watch, many of them grinning as the pitchers laid down a few bunts and then took their best hacks. Buddy Groom practiced a left-handed version of Ripken's stance outside the cage.

Crowley liked Mike Timlin's Swing and said Mike Mussina could be a productive hitter if allowed to work at it.

"I worry about them getting hurt," Crowley said. "Hitters swing all winter long and they get little nagging injuries. Pulled rib muscles, calf muscles, stuff like that.

Pitchers have done nothing all year long to use those muscles. They get competitive and try to swing hard and I worry about that. Sore, jammed up fingers, all kinds of stuff."

Waiting for second chance

Having made a bad first impression with his new club, reliever Darren Holmes is eager to get another call from the bullpen to make amends.

Holmes gave up a home run to the first batter he faced on Thursday, Boston's Brian Daubach, and was charged with five runs in one-plus innings. He allowed four hits and walked three.

"I don't think I have to show them what I have," said Holmes, who began his many-city career with the Dodgers in 1990. "They saw me pitch. But you want to get off on a good note and that wasn't a very good note for me.

"I'll turn it around. I'm not really worried about it."

Though not grasping for excuses, Holmes admitted to having only six hours' sleep the two nights leading to that outing because of extensive travel. He had arrived in Fenway Park earlier that day after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis for future considerations.

"I didn't feel exhausted when I was out there. You get the adrenaline flowing. I just didn't do well. That's the bottom line," he said.

Hargrove didn't pass judgment off one poor outing.

"I think Darren Holmes will be better his next time out than he was in Boston," he said. "He had flown all day to get there and we run him out there for two innings."

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