Segui to seek second opinion

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Wrist still hurts to swing

Lopez 5-0, but durability remains a question mark

May 15, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND - Orioles first baseman David Segui, who has been out of the lineup since Friday, said he will seek a second opinion about his left wrist when the team returns home from this road trip.

Segui originally thought he had a torn tendon in his wrist, but the team's medical staff told him he has damaged cartilage and a bruised tendon. Segui has been assured he won't make the injury worse by playing, but it still pains him to swing.

He went hitless in his only two games since May 2.

Like Boston's Manny Ramirez, who is out four to six weeks with a broken finger, Segui hurt himself sliding headfirst into home plate. Earlier in that game, April 26 in Kansas City, Segui was safe going headfirst into home plate with a nifty little hook slide.

For the most part, however, Orioles manager Mike Hargrove frowns on such slides.

"It's one of those things," Hargrove said, "where you say, `I don't want you to do it, but if you do it, don't get hurt.' "

Fatigue factor

Orioles pitcher Rodrigo Lopez takes a 5-0 record to the mound tonight, looking to become the club's first rookie to start a season 6-0. Ben McDonald and Rocky Coppinger opened the 1990 and 1996 seasons, respectively, with 5-0 marks as rookies.

Lopez is still trying to prove himself as a starter, however, and has yet to show he can pitch deep into games. His longest start is seven innings. Hitters are batting just .172 against him for his first 60 pitches, and .333 against him on pitches 61-90.

Sidney Ponson, for comparison, seems to get stronger as the game goes on. Hitters are hitting .289 against Ponson for his first 60 pitches, and .216 against him for pitches 61-90.

"I think it's still May, and [Lopez is] still a young pitcher," Hargrove said, "and I caution any of us to start looking for patterns early. I've been very aware of that, but I've reminded myself not to get caught up in that, yet."

Lopez developed a finger blister Friday in Tampa, which forced him from that start after six innings and 94 pitches, but Hargrove said the blister is fine.

Around the minors

In April, the Orioles traded oft-injured left-handed reliever John Bale to the New York Mets in exchange for outfielder Gary Matthews.

Bale was back on the disabled list until May 10 with more left arm problems but has pitched well overall for Triple-A Norfolk. In 16 innings, spanning seven games, Bale is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA.

Matthews is hitting .288, which is 71 points above his career average.

Willie Harris, the second base prospect the Orioles traded to the Chicago White Sox for center fielder Chris Singleton, is also having a good year. He entered last night batting .314 with 15 stolen bases and a .347 on-base percentage for Triple-A Charlotte.

The Orioles have their own second base prospect in Brian Roberts, however, who is batting .315 with nine stolen bases and a .419 on-base percentage for Triple-A Rochester.

And any Orioles official who squirms thinking about Harris' progress can always refer to Ryan Minor. The Orioles traded Minor to the Montreal Expos in December 2000 for Jorge Julio, their current closer. The Expos later waived Minor, who was claimed by the Seattle Mariners and is hitting .231 with one home run and five RBIs through 31 games at Triple-A Tacoma.

Around the horn

Larry Bigbie, who is hitting .400 for Triple-A Rochester, underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his injured right shoulder, which showed no structural damage. He should be ready to play within 10 days. ... Pitcher Jason Johnson continues to make progress in his return from a chipped right middle finger, but Hargrove said it's still a matter of weeks, not days before he pitches in a big-league game. "I don't know that there's any timeline right now," Hargrove said.

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