`Sick of this,' Segui agonizes over being out with leg strain

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Hitting .441 after return from DL, he's day-to-day

Lopez OK to start today

Orioles

April 19, 2003|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

Just when the Orioles were starting to get used to having their best hitter back in the lineup, David Segui went down with another injury, and the club was still uncertain yesterday how long this one would take to heal.

Segui strained his right hamstring running to first base in the eighth inning Thursday night in Cleveland. He took a cortisone shot yesterday, and the club waited to make plans to put him on the disabled list, hoping for a quick recovery.

"He's day-to-day," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "That's about all we've got right now. It's probably a little worse than we thought it was [Thursday] night, but that's usually the case."

Last night, Segui missed his 220th game as an Oriole, taking his frustration and disappointment to new levels. In the third year of a four-year, $28 million contract, Segui has worked to try to prevent things like this from happening, but he still seems cursed.

"I don't really know how to describe it," Segui said. "I'm just sick of this."

Segui, 36, broke his right thumb during spring training and began the season on the disabled list, missing the first four games. He returned to the lineup for 10 games and is leading the team with a .441 average.

"It sucks to go through anything right now," Segui said. "I got in there, I was swinging good, I had the thumb thing behind me, and my goal was to play every single day from then on, and then something like this happens."

Last year, Segui missed all but 26 games with a torn tendon in his left wrist. In 2001, various injuries limited him to about half a season for the Orioles, with most of that time missed caused by structural damage in his left knee.

Over the years, Segui has had surgery on both knees, and to save wear and tear, he trimmed down about 10 pounds over the past offseason. He's been running every day, and he said his knees haven't felt better in six or seven years.

Thursday night was cool in Cleveland, with a game-time temperature of 60 degrees. In the sixth inning, Segui legged out an infield hit. In the eighth, he hit a bouncer toward the mound and felt something as he hustled down the line.

"I don't know if I just got dehydrated or what it was," Segui said. "My legs weren't tight. I stretch between at-bats. I never sit still as the [designated hitter]."

Hargrove said the team would wait at least a week, if necessary, before deciding whether to put Segui on the disabled list. The Orioles have a four-man bench, and rookie shortstop Jose Morban is basically limited to pinch-running duty.

With Segui unavailable last night, Hargrove's options off the bench were pretty much limited to Melvin Mora and Brook Fordyce.

Asked if he'd ever seen a player have to battle injuries the way Segui has, Hargrove drew a comparison to Paul Molitor, who played in 118 games or less seven times in his 21-year career.

"It seemed like Paul, for the bulk of his career, was very injury prone," Hargrove said. "David's a competitor. David plays all-out all the time, and sometimes things like this happen to people. I have no explanation for it.

"I'm sure that David hates it as much as we do. For the last three years, that's the way it's been. Thank goodness this one isn't serious."

Lopez ready to go

Another day of healing made Orioles pitcher Rodrigo Lopez even more confident he'd be able to make today's start. Lopez had to leave Sunday's start in the seventh inning because of a torn fingernail on his right middle finger and accompanying blister.

Lopez said the injury affected him most when he threw his slider, but yesterday he said, "I feel good. By [today] the skin will be fine."

Around the horn

Hargrove said he'd try to give left-handed reliever Buddy Groom a one- or two-game break after using him in the final two games of the Cleveland series. Groom has yet to allow an earned run this season, in six appearances spanning 5 2/3 innings. ... Entering last night, Orioles switch-hitter Gary Matthews was batting .385 in 13 at-bats as a right-handed hitter and .174 in 46 at-bats as a left-handed hitter. ... Last night's eight-run second inning was the Orioles' biggest of the season. They had seven against Boston in the fifth inning April 12. ... Lifetime vs. Devil Rays starter Victor Zambrano, Jay Gibbons is 5-for-9 with three RBIs. ... Tampa Bay rookie outfielder Rocco Baldelli had two hits, giving him 26 in 16 games.

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