Hairston shows he's ready to shoulder O's load, too

Post-op surge not enough with Coffie here for Minor

July 23, 2000|By Roch Kubatko

TORONTO - While Triple-A Rochester first baseman Calvin Pickering waits for next season after suffering a torn quadriceps muscle, another Red Wings infielder waits for his next chance.

Jerry Hairston has raised his average to .278 with nine doubles, two homers and 16 RBIs in 40 games. With each swing, he's proving to the Orioles that he's recovered from May 19 arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.

That's only one battle in his quest to leave the minors.

Hairston was bypassed for Double-A Bowie's Ivanon Coffie when the Orioles needed a replacement for injured Ryan Minor. Coffie was deemed most ready to play third base, a position where Hairston has limited experience.

So, when will Hairston get another opportunity with the Orioles, who brought him north as a utility infielder until sending him down on April 9?

"We're waiting for him to be prepared to play in the major leagues and stay here," said Syd Thrift, vice president of baseball operations. "The most important thing for a young player is to be prepared to come to the majors and stay here. He's been up and he did fine last year. The next time he comes, he comes to stay.

"Time will take care of itself. Funny how that always works out."

Delino DeShields remains the regular second baseman, though he has been rested more recently. For now, Mark Lewis is the right-handed hitting option at second.

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