First off, O's pick McGuire to take Segui roster spot

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

One of last cuts of spring, minor-league free agent likely to be used off bench

May 19, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Needing to fill an opening on their 25-man roster and compensate further for David Segui's absence, the Orioles recalled Ryan McGuire from Triple-A Rochester yesterday and added him to their list of reserves for last night's game against Tampa Bay.

Segui was placed on the 15-day disabled list while awaiting surgery on Tuesday to repair his left wrist. Dr. Thomas Graham of Union Memorial Hospital diagnosed Segui's injuries as torn cartilage and damage to the tendon and its sheath. The surgery could cost Segui three months of the season, though he vows to return sooner.

McGuire, who struck out as a pinch hitter last night, was hitting .298 with a team-leading seven home runs in 37 games at Rochester. He can play the outfield and first base, and also provide another left-handed bat in the late innings. Manager Mike Hargrove mostly expects to use McGuire off the bench.

The Orioles signed McGuire, 30, as a minor-league free agent in November. He lasted until the final cuts in spring training despite batting .182 with two homers in 24 games.

"I went to spring training to make the team and knew I had a very good opportunity if I played like I could. Unfortunately, I didn't play like I could," said McGuire, a lifetime .217 hitter in the majors who's also been with Montreal, the New York Mets and Florida.

" ... When you go to a new organization, you've got to perform. You can't say, `Well, I'm better than what I'm doing right now.' You need to hit the ball. There are no free lunches. They don't just hand out jobs."

"While he'll sit there and say it wasn't a good spring for him, and he's not wrong," Hargrove said, "I think he accomplished what he needed to accomplish and showed people what he could do."

Douglass skips along

Two open dates on the schedule deprived Sean Douglass of making his past two scheduled starts, with Hargrove choosing to skip him in the rotation twice. And Thursday's rainout in Cleveland again has cost Douglass an appearance.

Even the weather is conspiring against him.

Douglass said he "clearly understands" that he's the logical choice to be skipped rather than Scott Erickson, Sidney Ponson, Rodrigo Lopez or Calvin Maduro.

Before last night, Douglass hadn't pitched since making his third start on May 6, when he went a season-high five innings against the Cleveland Indians. He's 0-1 with an 8.49 ERA since his April 25 recall.

"I've struggled in my starts. I understand completely," he said.

To stay sharp, Douglass has been throwing in the bullpen every third day. He'll play long toss to keep his arm loose.

"Hopefully I'll be ready when they need me," he said.

Up-and-down Julio

It added up to his eighth save of the season, but Friday's 1 1/3 innings from closer Jorge Julio appeared to mean so much more.

Until he gave up another ninth-inning home run that broke a 3-3 tie in last night's 5-4 loss, it looked like he might be ready to reverse a recent slump in which he had blown consecutive chances.

On Friday night, Julio escaped a jam and preserved the Orioles' 5-3 victory. A one-out single and walk from the bottom of Tampa Bay's order brought up the go-ahead run. Brent Abernathy flew to center, and pinch hitter Randy Winn grounded to second.

Imagine all the flashbacks in the Orioles' dugout. On May 11, Winn hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Julio to end the Devil Rays' 15-game losing streak.

"Closing games is all about your mental ability to be tough," said Hargrove before last night's game."You keep getting hit on the head with a hammer, after a while you start looking for the hammer whether it's there or not. And I didn't want him to get to that point."

Julio had coughed up another lead Tuesday in Cleveland, allowing four unearned runs in the ninth after getting the first two outs, and getting two strikes on each batter. And after Friday's strong outing, he slipped back again last night.

"They say you're better for it when you go through adversity, so we should be very good," Hargrove said.

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