Orioles outfielder Marty Cordova will undergo surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow, a procedure that's expected to keep him out for the next six to eight weeks.
Cordova was batting .233 with one home run in nine games. His place on the roster was taken by infielder Jose Leon, who started at third base last night after being recalled from Triple-A Ottawa.
The Orioles scheduled a CT scan for Cordova yesterday after scratching him from Tuesday's lineup because of elbow stiffness. One of the chips is lodged in the elbow, and Cordova underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test later in the day.
The pain intensified as Cordova swung at a pitch during Monday's game against Tampa Bay. He took batting practice on Tuesday before determining that he couldn't play.
"I think he's had the chips in there for quite a while," said Jim Beattie, executive vice president of baseball operations.
Cordova served as the designated hitter on Opening Day before missing the next five games with a herniated disc in his lower back. He began last season, his first with the Orioles, on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps muscle.
Leon was batting .269 with one homer and nine RBIs at Ottawa. The Orioles notified him late Tuesday night that he would report to Baltimore in case Cordova or David Segui went on the disabled list. Cordova was put on the 15-day DL before last night's game.
Getting to Camden Yards yesterday wasn't easy for Leon, who began the season with the Orioles while Segui was on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 7:30 a.m. flight was delayed about 30 minutes after two inches of snow fell overnight in Ottawa, and he almost missed the connecting flight in Chicago, having to run to the gate.
"At least I got in my early work this morning," he said.
Leon made the Opening Day roster after batting .415 in camp, but the Orioles sent him to Ottawa on April 5 when Segui was activated. He's had trouble adjusting to the bitter cold there.
"It's kind of ridiculous, but you've got to do it," he said. "When I got to Baltimore, it was the first time I had seen the sun in the last two or three days."
Segui remained on the active roster, but the Orioles could put him on the disabled list today if he's still projected as unavailable this weekend.
He ran for the third straight day and took batting practice, but the hamstring hasn't healed enough to allow him to play.
If Segui goes on the disabled list, the Orioles could recall outfielder Larry Bigbie, who's batting .333 with two homers and 12 RBIs at Ottawa. They've also discussed going with 11 pitchers, which could jeopardize reliever Rick Bauer's spot on the roster.
Ankle shelves Hairston
Second baseman Jerry Hairston couldn't play last night because of a sprained left ankle. Beattie projected that Hairston will be out three to five days.
The injury occurred on an attempted pickoff at first base in the first inning Tuesday. His foot slid off the bag and his cleats caught in the dirt, causing the ankle to turn.
"It was a freak thing. I feel so uncoordinated," he said. "I got up this morning and it swelled up. I can barely walk."
Hairston stole a base, his league-leading seventh, later in the inning. "That wasn't too wise," he said. "Halfway down I was like, `What am I doing?' "
Hargrove still in Texas
The Orioles don't expect manager Mike Hargrove to rejoin the team until Saturday.
Hargrove's mother, Rita Ann, underwent a second surgery yesterday morning to remove part of her intestine. She remains hospitalized in Amarillo, Texas.
"I told Mike to stay there. This is not the place for him to be right now," Beattie said.
SARS fears spread
The Orioles don't visit SkyDome until June 23-26, but they're already taking precautions related to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which has caused 16 deaths in Toronto.
Elliot Pellman, Major League Baseball's medical adviser, has recommended that players on the 10 teams going to Toronto through the All-Star break avoid signing autographs, using public transportation and interacting with large crowds.
Orioles advance scout Deacon Jones, in Toronto this weekend to scout the Kansas City Royals, was concerned enough to contact the front office.
"Evidently, they've given him some advice on how to go about some things," interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He said he'll be eating a lot of room service, going to the ballpark and back."