McLemore, Garabito get turns


With Hairston ill, Roberts hurt, second base is open


March 03, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Orioles' competition at second base took an unexpected turn yesterday in the first intrasquad game.

How did Mark McLemore wind up in the mix? Jerry Hairston was scratched because of flulike symptoms and Brian Roberts remained unavailable because of back spasms, so McLemore joined the lineup that contained all the regulars. Eddy Garabito, who homered off left-hander Ryan Hannaman, started at second for the other team.

"I've just been feeling real sick with the flu," Hairston said. "I've been under the weather, so they're going to run some tests [today] and make sure everything's all right. Hopefully, by [tomorrow] I'll be ready to go. I was sweating bullets last night."

"He's doing fine," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He could have played today if I wanted him to. It's nothing that's alarming."

The 3 1/2 -inning game included a solid outing from left-hander Matt Riley, who picked off McLemore and struck out Larry Bigbie on a high fastball.

Walter Young, the Single-A player acquired off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates in November, hit a run-scoring double off Rodrigo Lopez in the second inning. Young served as the designated hitter, with Jack Cust playing first base.

The wind robbed Rafael Palmeiro of a home run, knocking down the ball on the warning track. Palmeiro waved his hands in disgust and said, "That's it, I'm going home."

The new left side of the infield will have better days. Shortstop Miguel Tejada and third baseman Melvin Mora botched the first balls hit to them.

Adam Loewen, the fourth pick in the 2002 draft, will pitch in today's intrasquad game.

Morban arrives

Infielder Jose Morban finally arrived at camp yesterday after obtaining his work visa. He took his physical and will join the workouts today.

Two other players, pitchers Denny Bautista and Eddy Rodriguez, still are waiting for their visas. The Orioles discovered Bautista is 2 years older than his listed age of 21. Morban is 2 months older.

No longer the `other guy'

Shortly before the San Francisco Giants traded Hannaman to the Orioles last summer, a member of their organization told the left-hander he was practically untouchable. It was the sort of assurance that leaves a guy feeling like he'll be staying with one team for a long time.

In this case, a long time went by awfully fast.

Hannaman became the "other guy" in the trade that brought Kurt Ainsworth and Damian Moss to the Orioles for Sidney Ponson.

The Orioles assigned Hannaman to Single-A Frederick, where he went 1-3 with a 3.79 ERA in five starts after leaving the disabled list. He was placed on the 40-man roster this winter for the first time in his professional career and given a locker at the spring training complex.

Suddenly, Hannaman doesn't feel so anonymous anymore, or so betrayed.

"I was watching ESPN the night of the trade and Harold Reynolds gave me some props, saying I was the sleeper or the key, so that was pretty cool," Hannaman said.

Hannaman missed part of the 2003 season with a strained left biceps, the result of changing to a three-quarters delivery in an attempt to make the ball sink. He had just completed a rehab assignment in Arizona, making four starts, when a minor league coordinator told him there were no plans to deal him. One week later, he was gone.

"My reaction was, it's another route I have to take and I'll make the most of it," he said. "I was a little down because those were my teammates for the last four years, but I want to play ball. I don't care where it is. I'll approach it the same way. It worked out awesome."

Sun staff writer Joe Christensen contributed to this article.

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