SAN FRANCISCO - Orioles cleanup hitter Jeff Conine is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but he hasn't been able to test his strained right hamstring with running exercises yet.
"We were hoping that by this time he would have already reached that stage, and he hasn't," said Orioles manager Mike Hargrove. "But I think he's getting close. With a hamstring, you can't short-circuit the healing process. It takes what it needs, where if you have a sprained ankle or something like that you can be back out there."
Hargrove said "there's a chance" Conine won't be ready to come off the DL on Sunday, but the Orioles don't expect it to take much longer than that.
Conine injured the hamstring on June 14 in Philadelphia while running out a triple in the eighth inning. He drove in two runs on the hit, rallying the Orioles to a 7-3 victory.
Named Most Valuable Oriole last season, Conine is batting .262 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs. The Orioles are 5-4 when he's not in the lineup.
"We've got a very capable team," Conine said. "We've been picking each other up all year long. And we'll just continue to do that."
Roster move coming
The Orioles will likely add a third left-hander to their bullpen for tomorrow's game against the New York Yankees, promoting either Yorkis Perez or Mike Mohler from Triple-A Rochester.
To make room on their roster, they will likely send right-hander Sean Douglass back to Rochester, where he can start every fifth day.
Left-hander Buddy Groom already has 33 appearances, and Hargrove hasn't felt confident going to B.J. Ryan as a situational left-hander in close games.
Perez last pitched in the big leagues for Houston in 2000. He entered yesterday 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA in 28 games for Rochester. Mohler, who pitched in 13 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, entered yesterday with a 2.70 ERA in 11 games for Rochester.
Douglass, 23, has made just seven appearances since being called up from Rochester on April 25. He is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA.
Struggling with Fordyce
The Orioles are 5-17 in games with Brook Fordyce starting at catcher, with four of those wins coming against Kansas City and one against San Diego. Relegated to backup duties behind Geronimo Gil, Fordyce is hitting just .181.
"We're very aware of that [record when Fordyce starts]," Hargrove said. "But Geronimo does need time off. Every time I've been able to give him one or two days off, he's come back the next three or four ballgames a lot better."
Fordyce came to the Orioles from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Charles Johnson and Harold Baines in July 2000 and hit .322 the rest of that season. The Orioles gave him a three-year, $7.7 million extension, and he slumped to .209 last year.
"Is Brook the hitter that we saw when he got here two years ago?" Hargrove said. "I don't know that he's that hitter, but he's certainly not the hitter we're seeing. He's somewhere in between, probably closer to what we saw when he first got here."
"Coming in here this year, he just hasn't had enough at-bats to get back on track. But when you're the backup or second catcher, that's what happens."
Fordyce has accepted his new role and tried to remain upbeat.
"I'm coming in to give Gil a break," Fordyce said. "That's my job. That's how I have to handle it. I can't look at it any other way. I feel good abut what I'm doing."
Clemens in rotation
Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, who was hit with a batted ball in the right forearm and kidney on Thursday at Colorado, will likely pitch in his scheduled spot in the rotation Wednesday at Camden Yards.
Throwing yesterday, he said he had command of his pitches.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.