Extra base costs Harris an extra look

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Fleet prospect pulls muscle, going 1st to 3rd

fog, buses make O's wait

September 25, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - Willie Harris collected his first major-league hit 20 days ago. The Orioles' young prospect now has his first injury to go with it.

Harris might not play again this season after pulling a groin muscle during Friday's game against the New York Yankees. Making his seventh start in center field, Harris was hurt going from first to third base on a single by Jeff Conine.

"I don't know that he'll be ready by the end of the season," manager Mike Hargrove said.

Harris was 3-for-24 (.125) in nine games since having his contract purchased on Sept. 2. Two of those hits came Friday, along with two runs scored. He raced home on a shallow fly ball, popping up at the end as if nothing was wrong.

"He felt something when he slid into third, but then there was nothing. He was fine," Hargrove said. "The next day, he came in and ... "

Hargrove listed Harris as day-to-day. Luis Matos has returned to center field after shifting to right with Harris in the lineup.

Harris could contend for a utility job next season with his ability to play second base and the outfield. He's more likely to begin the year at Triple-A Rochester after spending this summer at Double-A Bowie, where he was named to the season-ending All-Star team.

A 24th-round draft pick in 1999, Harris ranked sixth in the Eastern League with a .305 average and second with 54 stolen bases. He set a Baysox record with 55 multi-hit games and emerged as a leading candidate for the organization's minor-league Player of the Year award.

Long trip before first game

The Orioles' 10-inning game against the Yankees on Sunday night lasted 4 hours, 14 minutes. Getting to the next city seemed to take forever.

Heavy fog prohibited the Orioles' charter plane from landing in Bedford, Mass., early yesterday morning, causing them to be rerouted to Hartford, Conn.

If only the trip was smooth from there.

They waited 90 minutes for two buses to arrive and transport them to the team hotel in Boston. The trip lasted two hours, delaying their arrival until 7 a.m.

The plane had descended to 10,000 feet, leaving it about 20 minutes from the airport when the Orioles were informed of the dangerous weather conditions and an unscheduled visit to Hartford.

"There's another city I can cross off my list," Conine said.

Sox bruised, battered

Boston outfielder Troy O'Leary is expected to remain unavailable for at least five more days after being spiked in the face by Detroit second baseman Damion Easley while attempting to break up a double play during Sunday's game at Fenway Park.

O'Leary suffered a deep gash in his cheek and was rushed to a nearby hospital for stitches. The incident completed a rough afternoon for O'Leary, who already had been hit in the shoulder by a Jeff Weaver pitch.

The Red Sox could use O'Leary's bat in a lineup that won't include Carl Everett for at least the rest of the season.

Don't look for Everett to play another inning for the Red Sox, who are coming apart at the seams. Everett, who has an injured knee, and Pedro Martinez have engaged in separate, heated exchanges with manager Joe Kerrigan in the past few weeks. Martinez, the three-time Cy Young winner, isn't going anywhere. Everett, meanwhile, has worn out his welcome with another club.

Kerrigan lectured a small group of Boston reporters yesterday, accusing the media here of creating an uncomfortable environment in the clubhouse and making it difficult for players to relax or speak freely without their quotes appearing in the next day's paper.

"This is their clubhouse, not anybody else's clubhouse," he said.

Boston was the only team in the majors to prohibit reporters from attending workouts that took place after games were postponed because of attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The most recent episodes with Everett and Martinez occurred without the media present.

Around the horn

David Segui, who's not expected to play the rest of the season because of a knee injury, didn't accompany the team to Boston. ... The Red Sox purchased the contract of pitcher Willie Banks from Triple-A Pawtucket. Banks was 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two starts, allowing two hits and striking out 12 in 12 2/3 innings. He hasn't pitched in the majors since Sept. 27, 1998, with Arizona. Martinez was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Banks, who spent 1999 with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan.

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