Lopez: Finger OK for start

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Slider, O's ace's best pitch, brings pain after split nail

Bradley told to shut up

Orioles

April 18, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND - Convinced that the remaining soreness in his finger will subside by the weekend, Rodrigo Lopez said he'll make tomorrow's start against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Camden Yards.

After yesterday's bullpen session, Lopez said he felt some pain in his right middle finger while throwing his slider, which also happens to be his most effective pitch. The fingernail split in his last start, but Lopez said the discomfort is caused by a callus that has been shaved down.

"For Saturday's game, I'll be fine," he said. "It's something really small. So for now, I'll start Saturday.

"I just felt a little bit of pain but I think that's a normal thing because the skin has to heal back. It'll probably take one day. It's not taking that long."

The Orioles apparently won't let Lopez's ability to throw his slider determine whether he starts. "He has a good fastball and a good changeup," said manager Mike Hargrove.

Lopez's status became uncertain when he left Sunday's game in Boston in the seventh inning because of the nail, which he tried to hold together with Super Glue. He fell to 0-2 despite allowing only two earned runs.

Pat Hentgen, who went 3 2/3 innings in Tuesday's loss to Cleveland, is available if Lopez becomes a late scratch.

Trading places

Anyone remember pitcher Pat Gorman? He was among four "prospects" obtained from the New York Mets at the 2000 waiver deadline for shortstop Mike Bordick.

He's gone, too.

The Orioles released Gorman this month after two seasons mostly spent rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He didn't pitch in 2001, and appeared in only four games in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League last year.

Gorman permitted four runs in his last inning with the organization on June 29.

Of the 14 players acquired in the five waiver-deadline trades made by Syd Thrift, the former vice president of baseball operations, only three remain on the 40-man roster: Melvin Mora, Brook Fordyce and Triple-A infielder Jose Leon.

The Orioles surrendered six veterans, including B.J. Surhoff, who re-signed as a free agent in February and started in left field last night. They also gave up Charles Johnson, Harold Baines, Will Clark, Mike Timlin and Bordick.

Bradley bat, tongue hot

Before going 0-for-5 last night, Cleveland center fielder Milton Bradley had hit in 14 consecutive games, the longest streak by an Indians player to begin a season since Toby Harrah (14) in 1982. It also was the longest in the majors since the New York Yankees' Scott Brosius opened the 2001 season with a 14-game streak.

Once a hot prospect with Montreal, Bradley is doing more than scratching the surface of his vast potential in Cleveland. His nails are dug deep.

His tongue is sharp, too.

Bradley irritated some players in Kansas City's clubhouse last weekend by saying the Indians were the better team despite losing four straight games to the Royals. He also pointed a bat at Darrell May from the on-deck circle after the Royals' starter threw behind Brandon Phillips.

"It was gutless to throw at a rookie," Bradley said. "I was telling May to throw at me. I'll take the scars for this team."

On Tuesday, at least one Indians veteran told Bradley to "shut up and play." When approached after an 8-3 win over the Orioles, he said, "I've got nothing to say."

Military salute

The Orioles will greet 8,635 members of the military and their families tomorrow and Sunday against Tampa Bay.

The team distributed tomorrow's tickets to: Fort Meade, National Naval Medical Center, Marine Barracks in Washington, Naval Support Facility in Thurmont, Single Marine Program, Carlisle (Pa.) Barracks, Fort Belvior, Bolling Air Force Base, Air Force-Pentagon, Army-Pentagon, Fort Myer, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the Naval Academy and Andrews Air Force Base.

On Sunday, the Orioles have invited 2,060 people from Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Single Marine Program, Army-Pentagon, National Naval Medical Center, Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Andrews Air Force Base.

Around the horn

Sean Douglass, who competed for a spot in the Orioles' rotation in spring training, is 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA in three starts at Triple-A Ottawa. Second baseman Brian Roberts was tied for second in the International League with 11 runs scored before last night, and tied for third with six stolen bases. ... Double-A Bowie shortstop Joey Hammond was leading the Eastern League with a .500 average, going 15-for-30. Left-hander John Parrish, who wasn't invited to spring training, hadn't allowed a run in nine innings with the Baysox.

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