Bigbie's recall looks more like audition for O's outfielder

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Left-handed hitter is put in lineup, expected to get chance with Segui on DL

Orioles

April 25, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

When the Orioles recalled outfielder Larry Bigbie yesterday to take David Segui's spot on the 25-man roster, they had more in mind than locating a temporary replacement.

This could be a full-fledged audition.

A first-round draft pick in 1999, Bigbie immediately went into last night's lineup in left field, and he's expected to continue playing on a regular basis.

"We want to take another look at him and see if he can go out and play every day for us," said interim manager Sam Perlozzo.

The Orioles put Segui on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. He's eligible to return May 3.

"Hopefully by the end of these 15 days, it'll be a situation where I won't have to be cautious when I'm out there," Segui said. "The last thing you want is to be on second and have your teammate get a base hit and you can't score for them."

The Orioles have lost Segui and outfielder Marty Cordova the past two days.

Cordova had surgery yesterday at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center to remove one large bone chip and several small ones in his right elbow, and he's expected to miss at least six weeks. Cordova regained full range of motion.

With Bigbie starting last night against left-hander Josh Stewart, B.J. Surhoff sat on the bench. They could both be in the lineup against right-handers, but it's clear the Orioles want to give Bigbie and third baseman Jose Leon an extended look. Leon made his second consecutive start after being recalled on Wednesday.

"If you're going to bring up a young kid who we consider a top prospect, we should play him," Perlozzo said.

Bigbie had a double and a walk in four plate appearances. Leon, the designated hitter, had two walks and two strikeouts.

Bigbie was hitting .333 with 12 RBIs and 13 runs scored at Triple-A Ottawa. He led the Orioles in RBIs this spring with 15.

Because of a long layover in Toronto, Bigbie didn't arrive in Baltimore yesterday until 3 p.m. - almost seven hours after he left Ottawa. He looked tired while unpacking at his locker, but also rejuvenated.

"I was just trying to go down there and get off to a good start, and I was able to do that," said Bigbie, a .218 hitter in 63 major league at-bats before last night. "I figured as long as I kept playing well, they'd pick the time that was right for me to come up."

Hairston eager, but sits

By regaining the flexibility in his sprained left ankle, Jerry Hairston was available for last night's game.

How available? He spent about 30 minutes searching for Perlozzo in hopes of talking his way into the lineup.

It didn't work, but Hairston might return sooner than the three to five days executive vice president Jim Beattie projected he could miss.

"It's sore, but I can move it. It's definitely playable," he said. "It's not throbbing. It's more like an ache. So I'll take some Advil and let's go."

The injury occurred as he beat a pickoff throw Tuesday.

Hargrove could return

If his mother's health stays stable, manager Mike Hargrove could rejoin the team tonight.

Perlozzo indicated that Hargrove might not arrive until after the 7:15 p.m. game begins against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Hargrove missed his fifth game last night while attending to his mother, who's undergone two surgeries in Amarillo, Texas, related to a severe infection.

IronBirds extend O's deal

The Orioles have reached agreement on a four-year extension of their player development contract with the Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds. The original deal would have expired after this season.

The IronBirds joined the Orioles as their seventh affiliate last year, with Cal Ripken serving as principal owner. They begin the 2003 season on June 17 against the Brooklyn Cyclones at Ripken Stadium.

Aberdeen ranked second in attendance behind Brooklyn in the NY-Penn League, selling out every home game while averaging 6,104 fans in 38 home dates.

"With all the positives that came out of the first year of our affiliation, it was a no-brainer that we continue our partnership with the IronBirds," said Darrell "Doc" Rodgers, director of minor league operations. "We want our minor leaguers to have the opportunity to play in a first-class environment."

Rodgers sues Reds

Rodgers, a former Cincinnati Reds assistant general manager, has sued the team for discrimination, claiming he was demoted because he is black.

Rodgers, who was reassigned in October to special assistant to the GM, also accused the Reds of breaking his contract, the Associated Press said.

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