Stiff elbow shelves Cordova, forces O's to reshuffle lineup

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Mora, Fordyce keep spots with O's on roll

Hargrove could return tonight

Orioles

April 23, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Written into the Orioles' lineup as the designated hitter last night, Marty Cordova was a late scratch because of a stiff right elbow that will require a CT scan today.

The problem surfaced as Cordova swung the bat in Monday's game. He hoped that the stiffness would subside enough to allow him to play, but interim manager Sam Perlozzo had to move Melvin Mora from shortstop to left field and make B.J. Surhoff the designated hitter. Deivi Cruz, who would have been on the bench again while mired in a 5-for-35 slump, replaced Mora at short and went 0-for-4.

Reluctant to disrupt the team when it's playing well, Perlozzo kept Mora and Brook Fordyce in his lineup for the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

Fordyce made his third straight start behind the plate, and Mora would have started at shortstop for the second consecutive night. Mora played left field on Sunday and hit a two-run homer.

Neither of the original moves was related to an injury. Cruz and catcher Geronimo Gil are healthy, but the Orioles won the first two games after manager Mike Hargrove left the club to be with his mother in Texas, and Fordyce and Mora made significant contributions.

It also didn't hurt that Mora (1-for-3 last night) was 5-for-10 with a homer against starter Esteban Loaiza, and Cruz was 1-for-19. Fordyce was 3-for-6 vs. Loaiza, and Gil was 3-for-11.

Fordyce reached base three times Monday and had hit safely in five of his six starts before going 0-for-3 last night. Perhaps more important to the Orioles, starters Omar Daal and Rick Helling combined to allow only one run in 15 innings with Fordyce calling the pitches.

"I think I've done an OK job. I don't know if people are shocked ... I've done this before," said Fordyce, who made consecutive starts only four times last season.

"If I've worked myself into some more playing time, that's all the better for me. I just want to help the team win, and this is a good situation for me. We've got a winning streak, and why mess up the chemistry, I guess."

Perlozzo discussed the lineup with Hargrove before posting it. "He listens to what I have to say and says, `Go ahead' ... or he'll change it," Perlozzo said.

Fordyce appeared in 56 games last season after losing his starting job to Gil. He went hitless in his first 17 at-bats and batted .231 for the season.

"I'd like to play more because I'm competitive," said Fordyce, who's making $3.25 million in the last year of his three-year contract. "I've gone out there and worked hard, and I've had a pretty good season so far."

Fordyce threw out only six of 46 runners attempting to steal last season, a significant reason why Gil remained the starter this spring. Though his arm remains weaker, Fordyce has reduced the time on his throws to second base. Fordyce removed the portion of tarp covering home plate yesterday so he could practice before the Orioles took the field.

"We've been working every other day on throwing," Fordyce said. "I'm throwing a heck of a lot better. I feel that we've made enough strides that, if I go out there and continue to do my job, I can play more."

Hargrove on hold

If Hargrove's mother avoids a second surgery and her condition improves, he could rejoin the team for tonight's game.

Rita Ann Hargrove underwent surgery Sunday night to remove her gallbladder and remains hospitalized in Amarillo.

After talking to Hargrove yesterday, Perlozzo described her condition as being "kind of in-between right now."

"They gave her more heavy antibiotics, and if she responds well by the morning, I think he'll be on a flight in the afternoon."

Segui tests leg a bit

David Segui did more light running but remains uncertain of the club's plans for him.

Segui, out since straining his right hamstring on Thursday, said he ran with about 60 percent effort and didn't experience any discomfort. He began the day by riding a stationary bike before running in the outfield and backpedaling along the baseline.

"I push it as far as they want me to push it," he said. "It feels better every day. But there's kind of a gray area on how far you can push it without reinjuring it. If it's my call, I'll play."

The Orioles could make a decision on Segui's status as early as today. If he goes on the disabled list, he'll be eligible to return May 3.

"If he's still a week away tomorrow, we'll think about making a move," said executive vice president Jim Beattie.

Sun staff writer Joe Christensen contributed to this article.

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