CHICAGO - The Orioles debated placing second baseman Jerry Hairston on the disabled list yesterday with a strained left groin, a move that would have corresponded with left fielder Marty Cordova coming off the DL.
Hairston injured his groin on Thursday night and had to leave the game in the sixth inning. He said he felt better yesterday and only expects to miss a few games.
So to make room on the roster for Cordova, the Orioles optioned reserve outfielder Luis Garcia to Triple-A Rochester.
"I've had this before, and I have a history of being back in three or four days," Hairston said. "I thought it would be a lot worse than this. Usually I can't even walk the next day, so that's a positive."
Manager Mike Hargrove said the club will reconsider putting Hairston on the DL if he's not better in five or six days. In the meantime, Hargrove will mostly use Melvin Mora at second base, as he did in yesterday's 5-2 loss.
Mora had been playing left field in place of Cordova, but Hargrove inserted Jeff Conine in left, keeping Cordova as his designated hitter.
Cordova missed the first eight games with a strained right quadriceps muscle. Hargrove said Cordova isn't quite 100 percent, so he wanted to ease him back at first by keeping him out of the field.
The Orioles seemed to miss Cordova's bat, and he reinforced that notion by homering in his third trip to the plate off White Sox starter Mark Buehrle.
"It's good to have him back in the lineup," Hargrove said.
Rodrigo Lopez retired all 12 batters he faced on Thursday night, getting his first major-league win and reinforcing the thought that he's ready to assume a spot in the starting rotation if anyone struggles.
In a span of four days, Lopez twice took the mound in relief and held the opponent scoreless for four innings.
Asked if he thought that sent a message to the other starters, Hargrove said, "If it didn't, it should. Right now we like him in that role. For now."
Lopez battled Calvin Maduro for the fifth spot in the starting rotation this spring. Maduro won the job, but he lost his first start, giving up four runs in four innings against the Boston Red Sox.
With the Orioles trailing by three runs in the eighth inning, Mora drew a two-out walk against White Sox reliever Gary Glover. That brought Mike Bordick to the plate with David Segui on deck, but Mora took off for second base and was caught stealing.
Mora has the green light to steal, and he ran on his own.
"I was trying to get in scoring position," Mora said. "You have to put pressure on the pitcher."
Hargrove said Glover has a slow delivery but happened to be quicker on that pitch.
"That's one of those things where if you run, you need to be 100 percent sure that you can make it," Hargrove said. "And Melvin obviously thought that he could; it just didn't happen. Given the fact that there were two outs, and we've got our big boppers coming to the plate behind Bordick, that's not good."
With the Orioles facing a left-handed pitcher for the second straight day, Hargrove put his usual No. 2 hitter, Chris Singleton, in the ninth spot. Hargrove gave Brook Fordyce his second start at catcher.
Hargrove also gave right fielder Jay Gibbons his first day off, filling his place with Gary Matthews Jr.