O's delay pitching decision

Starter for tonight's 2nd game undetermined

Erickson may go on DL


August 24, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Needing another starter for today's doubleheader, the Orioles are willing to wait until after the first game to make a decision - and a possible roster move.

Sean Douglass, who's 4-6 with a 4.73 ERA at Triple-A Rochester, is staying in a Baltimore hotel while the Orioles determine whether he's needed. They were prepared to option John Stephens to Rochester, where he would stay a week, but instead could put Scott Erickson on the disabled list.

Erickson has posted a 10.86 ERA in his past seven starts, allowing 67 runners in 29 innings. If he stays on the active roster, Rick Bauer probably would start tonight while Douglass returns to Rochester. Chris Brock fell out of contention by pitching 5 1/3 innings last night.

"We'll announce that tomorrow. We don't have to do anything until the second game," said manager Mike Hargrove, who didn't name specific players.

"There's no sense in doing anything now. We'd rather not. We could do something tonight, and it could be the completely wrong move. We've got that time, and we're going to take that time."

Douglass made seven appearances with the Orioles earlier this summer, including three in relief. Enduring long stretches of inactivity, he was 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 23 1/3 innings.

Douglass would be working on the normal four days' rest after pitching on Monday. He has already been scratched from today's start in Rochester, with Rafael Pina taking his turn in the Red Wings' rotation.

Relievers Buddy Groom and Jorge Julio weren't available last night, and Willis Roberts was "very limited," according to Hargrove, who also hoped to avoid using B.J. Ryan. He needed Erickson and Game 1 starter Travis Driskill to give him innings or force a roster move.

Bedard may need surgery

Erik Bedard, a sixth-round draft pick in 1999 who's regarded as the organization's top pitching prospect, might need ligament-transplant surgery on his left elbow because of persistent pain that won't allow him to throw.

A magnetic resonance imaging test confirmed a small ligament tear, and extended rest hasn't alleviated the discomfort. Bedard recently had to end a side session because of the pain, and Syd Thrift, the Orioles' vice president for baseball operations, said a decision on whether Bedard needs surgery will be made within the next 10 days.

Erickson and Matt Riley had Tommy John surgery in 2000, with their returns held back until this season. Pat Hentgen underwent the same procedure last year but hopes to rejoin the staff in September.

Another of the Orioles' top pitching prospects, former No. 1 draft pick Beau Hale, has been shut down for six weeks with tendinitis in his right shoulder. Thrift said an MRI didn't reveal any serious damage, and Hale will begin a rehab program in Texas after being cleared to throw.

"We didn't think it was anything serious," Thrift said.

Unable to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, Hale most likely will be replaced by Double-A Bowie reliever Aaron Rakers.

For a good cause

The Oriole Advocates will hold their 11th annual "Cardboard to Leather" baseball equipment collection tomorrow, with items being sent to children in the Dominican Republic.

Fans are asked to bring new or used baseball gear to collection areas at Gates A, C or H. Baseballs and gloves are needed. Anyone donating a baseball or glove will get an autographed photo of Willis Roberts or Tony Batista, both natives of the Dominican Republic.

The "Cardboard to Leather" program began after a story in The Sun about children in the Dominican playing baseball with makeshift equipment, including cardboard sewn together to make gloves. Last year, the Oriole Advocates sent more than six tons of equipment to the Dominican.

Around the horn

Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick has 426 consecutive errorless chances, passing Cleveland's Omar Vizquel for second place all time behind Cal Ripken (428). ... Hentgen said he's still unsure whether he'll make Tuesday's rehab start. He strained a groin muscle Thursday in Aberdeen. ... The Orioles' 137 home runs gives them one more than all of last year.

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