Gibbons, Segui sidelined by injuries

J. Bautista, Surhoff enter lineup

'West Wing' episode to be filmed at Camden Yards

April 20, 2004|By P.J. Martinez | P.J. Martinez, Staff

For the first two weeks of the regular season, the rash of injuries that plagued the Orioles during spring training virtually disappeared.

But as the team prepares to open a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays tonight at Camden Yards, it will be without starters Jay Gibbons and David Segui, both of whom were scratched from the lineup with minor ailments.

Gibbons, the Orioles' everyday right fielder, has a strained back muscle. He's also struggled mightily in his career against Tampa Bay starter Mark Hendrickson - making tonight a prime opportunity for the team's reigning RBI champ to get a night off. Gibbons went 0-for-3 against Hendrickson earlier this season.

Rookie Jose Bautista was inserted in the lineup for Gibbons and made his first start of his major league career. Used mostly as a pinch-runner so far this season, Bautista has appeared in six games and has one hit in three at-bats.

Segui, who is hitting .333 after an impressive stretch during last week's road trip, has a sore knee. B.J. Surhoff will be the Orioles' designated hitter.

Signed to a $28 million dollar contract before the 2001 season, Segui has missed large chunks of time during each of the past three seasons. He played in 82 games in 2001 and a total of 93 games over the past two seasons.

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said he doesn't expect either Segui or Gibbons to miss much time in the lineup.

"They're both day-to-day," he said.

Creature of habit

After a scheduled off-day and two consecutive rainouts wreaked havoc with the team's pitching rotation last week, left-hander Matt Riley is eager to return to his normal routine.

Beginning tonight, the Orioles are scheduled to play 16 straight days, meaning that Riley and the rest of the starters can count on getting the ball every five days.

"Knowing when you're going to pitch helps a lot, especially mentally," Riley said. "I'm able to prepare myself better to do well when my turn comes."

Riley doesn't throw much between starts, typically performing just one bullpen a week, in addition to polishing his pitches during low-stress throwing sessions from a shortened distance.

"You get stronger during the winter, but during the regular season you just want to keep all of your pitches sharp," he said. "It's important to be fresh on your day to pitch."

West Wing in Baltimore

The cast of the television show "The West Wing" will be filming part of the season finale at Camden Yards on Friday.

Martin Sheen, who plays President Bartlet, will be featured throwing out the ceremonial first pitch shortly before the Orioles' 7:35 p.m. game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Producers of the show intend to use the paid crowd as "extras" for the shoot.

Earlier in the day, the cameras will follow the cast through the stadium in anticipation of "the president" making his pitch.

Fordyce returns

After spending 3 1/2 years with the Orioles, Tampa Bay catcher Brook Fordyce encountered an obstacle as an opposing player Tuesday: finding the visitor's clubhouse.

"I didn't know where it was -how many doors down is it?" Fordyce said before facing his former team.

After the Orioles chose not to re-sign him as a free agent following the 2003 season, Fordyce jumped quickly at the chance to join the Devil Rays. Even though he hated Tropicana Field as a visitor, Fordyce has warmed to his new home park.

"It doesn't rain," he said. "It's the same climate every day."

Fordyce knew his Baltimore days were over when the Orioles stepped up their pursuit of catchers Javy Lopez and Ivan Rodriguez in December. Lopez eventually signed with Baltimore, while Rodriguez wound up in Detroit.

"That's the status of baseball these days. My contract was up, but I had a good opportunity," Fordyce said. "I thought Tampa would be a great situation for me -it's a young team and it's close to home."

David Ginsburg of the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Originally published April 20, 2004, 8:10 PM EDT

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