FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Orioles utility man Mark McLemore strained his right knee while rounding first base yesterday, and though the team doesn't think the injury is serious, they won't know until today.
McLemore lined a single to right field in the third inning of the Orioles' 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and tweaked his knee as his right foot hit the corner of the base.
Orioles trainer Richie Bancells went out to look, and McLemore came out of the game. McLemore is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam today at 8 a.m.
"It didn't seem to be anything serious," Bancells said. "Dr. [Charles] Silberstein looked at it. It just looks right now like the area under his kneecap is bruised."
McLemore, 39, who has also been getting treatment for a stiff neck this spring, was signed to a minor league deal but is expected to play a key role off the Orioles' bench this season.
In 20 at-bats this spring, he is batting .250.
Battling for No. 5
The Orioles will have a better idea of who their No. 5 starter should be after Matt Riley and Omar Daal both pitch today.
After posting a 5.14 ERA in three relief appearances, Riley will make his first start against the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, Daal will make a start at the Orioles' minor league camp in Sarasota, Fla.
Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli doesn't want people to read too much into the specific assignments - Riley in the big league game, Daal in the minor league game. With both starters hoping to go five innings, there simply wasn't enough room for both.
"It's still open," Mazzilli said of the battle for the fifth spot. "They're making the decision for me."
And don't count out Erik Bedard. On Wednesday against the Houston Astros, he allowed one run but had four strikeouts in two innings.
"He was outstanding," Mazzilli said. "He had all the right-handed hitters tied up. It looked like they didn't see the ball."
The Orioles cut four more pitchers from their spring roster yesterday, assigning David Crouthers to Double-A Bowie, and John Stephens, Brian Forystek and Eddy Rodriguez to Triple-A Ottawa.
None of those pitchers got much work this spring. Crouthers had a 21.00 ERA in three innings, Stephens had a 4.50 ERA over four innings, Forystek had a 9.00 ERA in two innings, and Rodriguez did not appear in a game.
The Orioles now have 45 players in camp and must trim their roster to 25 before Opening Night on April 4.
Longtime chaplain dies
Monsignor Martin Schwallenberg, a longtime chaplain for the Orioles who was best known as Father Marty, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 83.
A wake will be held tomorrow at Gonce Funeral Home in Pasadena from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. A viewing will be held Monday from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. Cardinal William H. Keeler will celebrate a funeral mass at the cathedral on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Around the horn
Prized pitching prospect Denny Bautista finally made it out of the Dominican Republic with his working visa and was expected to report to camp last night. Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie said Bautista will take his physical and maybe do a brief throwing session in the bullpen before quickly reporting to the team's minor league camp. He will likely start the season at Double-A Bowie. ... Two of the Orioles' most legendary decision-makers were seated next to each other at yesterday's game - Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver and former general manager Hank Peters.