Though it's too soon to know if Jeff Conine will be healthy enough to come off the disabled list when eligible, the Orioles don't expect to get their cleanup hitter back this weekend.
Conine performed more strengthening exercises yesterday and will have a better idea of how much his strained right hamstring has healed when he attempts to run.
"I'd assume that will be sometime this weekend," said Conine, who can't be activated until Sunday at the earliest.
"It definitely feels better. I can walk around and do stress stuff and it feels fine, but you can't truly gauge a hamstring until you run."
Conine suffered the injury while running out a triple during a June 14 game in Philadelphia. He was batting .319 with six homers and 17 RBIs in his last 19 games.
The Orioles are 6-4 since he left the lineup.
"When he worked out yesterday, he exhibited better strength than what we anticipated," manager Mike Hargrove said. "I don't think he'll be ready to come off on Sunday, though, but we'll see."
Richard's return on hold
The Orioles still are waiting on outfielder Chris Richard, who continues to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left shoulder at the minor-league complex in Sarasota, Fla.
Early projections had Richard returning by the All-Star break, but it could be later.
"He's not throwing real good. That's what we're waiting for," said Syd Thrift, the Orioles' vice president for baseball operations.
Who's O's All-Star?
The All-Star Game starters and reserves will be announced on Sunday, and for once there's some drama attached to the Orioles' representative.
American League manager Joe Torre must choose a reserve since Cal Ripken no longer can be voted in by the fans, but he apparently won't seek any input from Hargrove.
"What's bad about that is when you've got a team with several choices, you don't want the manager to have to make that decision. I don't want to put a manager in that situation," Torre said.
Hargrove wasn't expecting Torre to contact him anyway, though the Yankees manager has done so in the past. "Joe does a pretty good job," Hargrove said. "He's fairly experienced at picking All-Star teams. I don't know what I could add."
While reluctant to lobby for just one of his players, Hargrove rattled off a list of candidates before the game that included pitchers Rodrigo Lopez and Travis Driskill, and third baseman Tony Batista. "And you could make a great case for [reliever] Buddy Groom," he said.
Around the horn
Pitcher Sidney Ponson has posted a 2.56 ERA in five starts this month, but is 0-1 during that time. "It's frustrating. Everybody wants to get a win. But at least the team is winning," he said. "As an individual, you go out and go six or seven innings, you hope to get a win out of it. But I guess a no-decision is better than an `L.' " ... Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, in his first appearance since being activated from the disabled list Tuesday, struck out the side in the seventh. ... The Yankees are expected to activate pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez from the disabled list today once he arrives in Baltimore. Infielder Ron Coomer could replace him on the DL with neck stiffness. Coomer returned to New York yesterday and will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test today. ... The rookie-league Bluefield Orioles began their short-season schedule with an 8-0 record, averaging more than 11 runs per game and batting .330. Second baseman Robert Done led the Appalachian League in seven offensive categories, including average (.520) and RBIs (11).
Sun staff writer Joe Christensen contributed to this article.