Bordick returns, puts O's on mend

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Shortstop says right knee `feels right around 100%'

Leon sent to Rochester

August 18, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Again lowering their pile of injured players, the Orioles activated shortstop Mike Bordick from the disabled list yesterday and returned infielder Jose Leon to Triple-A Rochester.

"We're slowly but surely getting back to being healthy," said manager Mike Hargrove.

Bordick missed 29 games after fracturing his right kneecap on July 15. The injury occurred when Bordick collided with Seattle's Carlos Guillen while sliding into second base. He was hitting .242 with 24 RBIs in 80 games, and led all shortstops with a .998 fielding percentage.

"It definitely feels good to be back in there. I'm excited about that," said Bordick, who batted ninth against Detroit Tigers left-hander Mark Redman. "I don't know when I've felt 100 percent playing baseball, but I do feel good. I'd say my knee feels right around 100 percent."

Bordick's knee must have improved because he did a nice job of dancing around a retirement question.

Asked about playing next year after his current deal expires with the Orioles, Bordick, 37, recalled last summer's shoulder injury and said, "It's been kind of frustrating. My goal this year was to stay healthy and try to have a good year. This bump in the road makes you wonder.

"For so long you play and count on being dependable and being out there every day, so the last two years have been sort of frustrating. But I'm going to see how I feel in the off-season. I haven't made up my mind about anything. My goal is to finish strong and enjoy playing baseball."

Leon appeared in 26 games, making 14 starts at first base and two at third. An 0-for-9 slump lowered his average to .230 with two homers and six RBIs.

The Orioles chose to keep infielder Luis Lopez, who can back up at shortstop and second base.

"Jose, while he was here, did an absolutely tremendous job," Hargrove said. "It's kind of bittersweet sending him out. You're glad to get Bordy back, but you hate to lose a guy like Jose because he helped in so many ways. It was good for him to be here, for us to get a chance to see him in this setting and this level of competition."

Minor improvement?

Convinced that his left wrist won't improve much more this season, David Segui is contemplating a minor-league rehab assignment before attempting to rejoin the Orioles.

Segui still experiences some discomfort in the wrist, which needed surgery on May 21 to repair torn cartilage and a tendon injury. The Orioles transferred him to the 60-day disabled list on June 15 to make room for Leon on the 40-man roster.

"Some days I can swing the bat and some days I can't," he said.

If Segui returns, he will bat exclusively from the left side rather than switch-hit. It's still too painful for his left hand to be the bottom hand when gripping a bat.

Segui swung from the left side against batting practice pitcher Vince Horsman, who's left-handed. "Now I remember why I started switch-hitting when I was 5," he said.

Fordyce takes seat

After starting on Friday a 6-5 loss to Detroit, catcher Brook Fordyce returned to the Orioles' bench last night. He also sat on some comfortable numbers.

Fordyce was 4-for-10 lifetime against Redman, who hadn't faced the Orioles this season until last night. All four hits were home runs, giving Fordyce seven career RBIs against Redman.

"I knew I hit him well, but I didn't know the exact numbers," Fordyce said. "It's just one of those things in baseball. I also hit [Mariano] Rivera well. A guy will have better numbers against certain people. That's part of the game."

Fordyce went 0-for-2 with a walk on Friday, leaving his average at .215. Lopez pinch-hit for him in the eighth, and replacement Geronimo Gil threw out two runners attempting to steal in the ninth inning.

Another amigo

Having struck gold with Rodrigo Lopez, the Orioles did a little more digging in Mexican soil.

The Orioles signed pitcher Mike Garcia to a free-agent contract on Friday and assigned him to Triple-A Rochester. Garcia, who threw a scoreless inning in his Red Wings debut, was 1-1 with a 0.96 ERA and 17 saves in 30 games with Yucatan of the Mexican League.

To make room for Garcia at Rochester, the Orioles transferred infielder Joey Hammond to Double-A Bowie.

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