Not wanting to reach for any excuses, Orioles manager Mike Hargrove keeps finding them at arm's length. With his luck, he'd pull a muscle.
Injuries? Who knows them better than Hargrove?
He had another player unavailable yesterday after Mike Kinkade jammed his left thumb while attempting a diving catch in Saturday's game. Hargrove already needed to give rookie shortstop Brian Roberts the day off after Saturday's collision with Jerry Hairston, and he couldn't use relievers B.J. Ryan (elbow) and Calvin Maduro (groin).
Another member of the bullpen, Mike Trombley, was held out again because of heavy use. All of this was piled on the manager's plate before rookie Josh Towers left yesterday's start in the sixth inning after being struck on the right hand.
Finished with his list of wounded, Hargrove looked at reporters gathered in his office and asked, "So how are you guys doing?"
"I'm really kind of tired talking about our injuries because it's sounding like an excuse, which I don't want," he said.
Roberts indicated he could play after straining a neck muscle, but residual stiffness persuaded Hargrove to keep him on the bench.
Ryan (2-3) hasn't pitched since June 16 in Philadelphia. Any move to the disabled list can't be backdated more than 10 days, which would figure to hasten the club's decision since he's approaching that period of inactivity. But Hargrove said he didn't expect Ryan or Maduro to come off the 25-man roster.
In his previous appearance, Ryan allowed four earned runs in two-thirds of an inning before being injured. "Believe me, I want to be in there," he said.
Ryan has been examined twice by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs. He has had an arthrogram, which involved injecting dye into the elbow and further delayed his return.
Yesterday, Ryan and Trombley played catch in the outfield while increasing the distance between them. "I've felt good the last couple days throwing. It's a lot better," Ryan said.
Maduro strained a groin muscle when his back foot slipped on the mound during Thursday's game. Because he threw 51 pitches, Maduro wasn't going to pitch for a few days anyway, but it's uncertain when he'll become available.
Trombley appeared in four games during a six-day span that ended Friday, and also warmed up without being used. He pitched in three straight games, June 12-14, earlier in the month, and his June numbers include nine earned runs, 11 hits and five walks.
For a good cause
The Orioles announced that Saturday's "An Evening of Hope," the first on-field gala at Camden Yards, raised more than $75,000 for the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge. The event was held in memory of former Sun columnist John Steadman.
More than 300 guests mingled in the infield dirt with Orioles players and coaches, and former Baltimore Colts players. A live auction included a custom-made Orioles Harley Davidson and seats from Memorial Stadium autographed by Art Donovan, John Unitas, Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray. A fireworks display completed the evening.
Time to learn the signs
By gathering his players in the dugout during the third inning of Friday's game to snap them out of their lethargy, Hargrove avoided the unpleasant task of calling a team meeting later in the night. But he still needed to have a few words with catcher Fernando Lunar, who missed a sign while batting in the eighth.
Melvin Mora broke from third on a suicide squeeze, but Lunar swung away and bounced to short, his bat shattering as the Orioles' lead grew to 6-4.
"It was a hit-and-run. We just ran from the wrong end," Hargrove joked.
"It was a squeeze, but it worked out fine. It's one of those things that sometimes happen. You hate for it to happen in a squeeze situation because you put at real risk a team that doesn't score a lot of runs, but even more important, you risk the life of the runner coming down the line."
So what did Hargrove tell Lunar?
With a slight grin on his face, Hargrove said, "I told him it was almost July. It would be nice if he knew the signs."
Around the horn
Larry Bigbie made his first major-league start yesterday, in right field, and went 0-for-4. In two games, he's 0-for-7. ... Delino DeShields homered for the first time since April 27 at Minnesota.