Ponson won't miss 1st turn due to ankle

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Pitcher's injury improves

Mora likely to start opener

Orioles notebook

Baseball

March 30, 2003|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - The Orioles were ready to open the season with Sidney Ponson on the disabled list with a bruised left ankle, but now it looks like he'll be ready to make his first start, after all.

After a magnetic resonance imaging test Friday, Ponson arrived in the trainer's room yesterday with the ankle feeling much better. He'll test the injury when he pitches in a minor-league game today in Sarasota, Fla., and barring a setback, he'll start the fourth game of the season, Friday against Boston.

Ponson has struggled in his past three starts, but club officials said the injury wasn't the cause. They aren't sure how Ponson hurt the ankle, but it appears to have happened after he pitched Tuesday.

If Ponson had to miss a start, the Orioles would have had Pat Hentgen take his place. For that reason, they were prepared to have Travis Driskill start yesterday's exhibition game against the New York Mets, but after getting the positive report on Ponson's ankle, they had Hentgen make the start.

Hentgen allowed three runs in three innings but earned his second victory of the spring.

Surhoff unlikely to start

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove will name his Opening Day lineup today, and he said it likely won't include left-handed-hitting B.J. Surhoff.

With left-hander C.C. Sabathia pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Hargrove said he likely will go with right-handed-hitting Melvin Mora in left field, with Marty Cordova as the designated hitter.

That probably means Mora will bat second behind Jerry Hairston, with Gary Matthews sliding to third.

Around the horn

The Orioles can activate David Segui from the disabled list Saturday, meaning he could miss just four games with his broken right thumb. Hargrove couldn't commit to that yesterday, but said, "It looks like it may be not very far from that." ... Houston placed pitcher Shane Reynolds on waivers last week, but don't look for the Orioles to grab him. With Hentgen moving to the bullpen, and Driskill headed back to Triple-A Ottawa, where he'll join Sean Douglass and John Stephens, the Orioles feel pretty well-stocked with starting pitching.

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