No passport stops B. Roberts


Matos crosses O's border

Outfielder gets Bordick spot in Toronto snafu

Hargrove to miss game


July 18, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - When the Orioles placed shortstop Mike Bordick on the disabled list yesterday, their first thought was to replace him on the roster with Brian Roberts, who had been sent back to Triple-A Rochester on Friday.

The trouble was, Roberts didn't have his passport on the East Coast and wouldn't have been able to join the team in Canada for this two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. So the Orioles instead turned to outfielder Luis Matos, who was playing for Double-A Bowie.

Chalk it up as another learning experience for Roberts, who had his passport when the team was in Texas two weeks ago but left it with his mother. Roberts was back in the lineup at second base for Rochester last night. Matos was batting .277 with four home runs and 12 RBIs at Bowie. He missed the first two months of the season after breaking his left hand March 18.

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said Melvin Mora will get the majority of the playing time at shortstop while Bordick recovers from the hairline fracture in his right kneecap. The Orioles are hoping Bordick can return by mid-August.

Mora has started 59 games in the outfield this season, so the Orioles saw the advantages of promoting another outfielder.

"Luis can pinch run for us," Hargrove said. "He can pinch hit against certain left-handed pitchers. He plays defense obviously as well as anybody in the league. So there's a number of things he can do to help us."

Matos was in Reading, Pa., when he received the promotion, so he went back to Bowie to get his belongings - and passport -before heading to Toronto.

Hargrove to miss game

Hargrove will miss today's game to attend a memorial service for Jim Warfield, the longtime Cleveland Indians trainer who died Tuesday. Hargrove, a friend for nearly 30 years, spent 21 seasons with the Indians as a player, coach and manager.

"He may be one of the nicest people that I've ever met, and I include my wife in that," Hargrove said.

Bench coach Sam Perlozzo will manage the team today.

Batista at short, too?

Tony Batista has started all 92 games at third base this season, but his original position was shortstop, and he started 19 games there for the Orioles last season. If the Orioles cannot re-sign Bordick for next season - and he has said he will consider retirement at season's end - they have talked about moving Batista to shortstop.

So along with Mora and newly acquired utility player Luis Lopez, Batista could see some time at shortstop, as well.

"I don't know how much of that we'll do," Hargrove said. "Personally, I'd rather leave Tony at third base. He's having a good year there, but Tony proved to us the last couple weeks of the season that he's still a very good shortstop. So we'll see what it brings."

Trade talk

With the non-waiver trade deadline coming July 31, Orioles vice president for baseball operations Syd Thrift continues to hear from teams looking for pitching. He wouldn't name names, but industry sources say Scott Erickson, Sidney Ponson, Jason Johnson and Buddy Groom have drawn interest.

"My phone is heated at all times, but I haven't heard anything that's tickled my ear drums yet," Thrift said. "We have quality pitchers, and everybody wants quality pitchers. So you have to have quality in return. If not, you're just wasting my time. Of course you're helping AT&T."

Spring training plans

The Orioles reached agreement Tuesday with the city of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to continue holding spring training there at least through 2004.

"I think obviously if our minor leagues were closer [than Sarasota, a three-hour drive] and we had more fields, it would be a lot better, but I like Fort Lauderdale," Hargrove said. "The people [there] treat us nice, and we find ways to adjust our schedule so we can get our work in."

Sun staff writer Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

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