3 catchers may be 1 too many with Molina on bubble


Off days allow Hargrove to stay with 11 pitchers


May 09, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

With his team receiving three days off over the next 12 dates on its schedule, Orioles manager Mike Hargrove anticipates keeping his pitching staff at 11 rather than adding an arm from the minors. But that doesn't mean he'll continue to carry three catchers.

Izzy Molina remains on the roster along with Geronimo Gil, who made his second consecutive start last night after recovering from hamstring and groin injuries, and veteran Brook Fordyce. It appears likely that Molina will be removed within the next two weeks, but he'd have to clear waivers before going down because he's out of minor-league options.

The Orioles weren't willing to take the same risk with Fernando Lunar, who snuck through waivers earlier this season and remains at Triple-A Rochester. The organization had planned to demote Molina to Double-A Bowie before purchasing his contract Friday when pitcher Josh Towers was optioned to Rochester.

"We'll probably stay with 11 pitchers for a while. I don't know that we'll stay with three catchers. I'd be surprised if we did. But how long we do is up in the air, too," Hargrove said.

Molina made his first start since 1997 on Monday, going 1-for-3 with a run scored. It remained his only appearance with the Orioles heading into last night's game.

"If it's the only game I play, I'm happy. Hopefully it works out," he said. "I think they'll keep me around for a few days. I knew the situation when I got here. I just wanted to do well, and I think I did."

The days off allow Hargrove to skip Sean Douglass twice in the rotation and not disrupt his other starters.

Bigbie has strained arm

Outfielder Larry Bigbie, the strongest candidate to be called up if David Segui went on the disabled list, missed his second consecutive game yesterday because of a strained right arm. Rochester manager Andy Etchebarren said he also expected Bigbie, who was injured on a diving catch, to sit out the next two games.

Bigbie went 6-for-6 on Monday, but woke up the next day with a stiff arm.

"Medically, he's OK, I hope," farm director Don Buford said. "I don't think he did any damage."

Bigbie is sitting on a .400 average. "He's played well down there," Hargrove said. "If we do make a move, I'm sure we'll talk about him."

Rivera has more surgery

Another season will pass with the Orioles getting nothing out of minor-league pitcher Luis Rivera, who remains a health riddle the team can't solve.

Rivera had surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, the same procedure that cost him all of the 2001 season. The Orioles had transferred him to the 60-day disabled list last Thursday after he arrived at spring training with tendinitis in the shoulder and couldn't pitch.

Rivera has appeared in one game with the Orioles and three with Triple-A Rochester since arriving in the July 31, 2000, trade that sent popular outfielder B.J. Surhoff to the Atlanta Braves. The Orioles also acquired Lunar and outfielder Trenidad Hubbard, who was released after the season.

Pitcher Drumright added

The Orioles completed a minor-league trade yesterday, acquiring pitcher Mike Drumright from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named.

Drumright, 28, was 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in seven games at Triple-A Pawtucket. Drumright, who was assigned to Rochester, was the Detroit Tigers' No. 1 draft pick in 1995.

B. Ripken honored

Former Oriole Bill Ripken, who began his major-league career in Baltimore in 1987, will be inducted into the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame on May 16.

Ripken, who joined brother Cal as the Orioles' double-play combination, led all second baseman with a .997 fielding percentage in 1992.

Ripken also played for the Texas Rangers, Tigers and Indians during his 12-year career. He currently serves as the on-site director of the Ripken Baseball Camp Tour and is heavily involved in the Aberdeen Project, which includes the soon-to-be completed Ripken Stadium.

The ceremony, which also will include the inductions of Carlton Bailey (football), Charles Messenger (track, cross country) and Tim Wittman (indoor soccer) will take place at Martin's West beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets, which are $50, can be obtained by calling 410-230-6224.

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