Given hook in AAA, McDonald finds out why: O's want him

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Pulled in game, outfielder gets call to replace Segui

J. Lopez sits with sore side

Orioles

May 01, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND - Outfielder Darnell McDonald was fuming after Triple-A Ottawa manager Tim Leiper removed him from Thursday's game in the seventh inning. He hadn't done anything wrong, and as he waited for an explanation on the bench, he grew more angry and confused.

It wasn't until later in the day, after being summoned into Leiper's office, that McDonald learned of his first major league promotion.

The Orioles placed David Segui on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with inflammation in his left knee, a move that's retroactive to Sunday and makes him eligible to return on May 10. McDonald, 25, took Segui's spot on the roster and started in right field last night.

The news came as a shock to McDonald, the 26th overall pick in the 1997 draft who was hitting .205 in 19 games. He kept pressing field coach Dave Cash for information on his abrupt removal, but it did no good.

"Cash tells me the manager wants to talk to me," McDonald said, "so we go in the office and we're waiting for Leiper. I'm like, `Just tell me what's going on.' Finally, Cash was like, `Look Mac, you're 1-for-3 today, you played like crap, but you're going to the big leagues.'

"I'm thinking I'm on MTV Punk'd. I'm like, `Where's the camera?' I couldn't say anything. It's been my dream since I was a child."

McDonald, who got his first major league hit in the fourth inning, was batting .296 in 40 games at Ottawa last season before needing surgery on June 12 to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. He was named the organization's minor league Player of the Year in 2002 after hitting .290 between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Rochester.

"With all the adversity I've gone through, it just makes this moment that much more gratifying," he said. "Before my mother passed away [in October 1999], I promised her I was going to get to the big leagues and stick with baseball."

Needing a right-handed bat, the Orioles also considered Jose Leon, Carlos Mendez and Chad Mottola, but they're coming off injuries.

Though McDonald's average was down - he also struck out 21 times in 73 at-bats - the reports on him were positive.

"He's swung the bat very well down there. I spoke to Leiper and he said everything [McDonald] has been hitting has been hard," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He's just an all-around player. He can run, play the outfield, steal a base."

Segui has undergone three surgeries on his left knee, which no longer has cartilage in it.

Expected to retire after the season, Segui, 37, must decide whether to have the knee re-examined by a specialist, undergo an arthroscopic procedure or shut down.

"You've got to feel for him," Mazzilli said. "Here's a guy who played through a lot and he's doing a good job. ... He'll make a decision what he wants to do. That'll be his call."

Strained side idles Lopez

Catcher Javy Lopez missed his first game with the Orioles last night because of a strained muscle in his right side.

Lopez experienced some discomfort while batting for the second time in Thursday's game against Seattle. He isn't sure if he'll be available today, when Mazzilli planned to use him as the designated hitter.

"I want to take it easy so it doesn't get worse," Lopez said. "I felt it pull a little, but I kept playing because my muscles were warmed up. Once it cooled off, I felt the pain.

"I'll get treatment. ... But it's nothing serious where I'll need to go on the DL."

Bedard waits his turn

Life as a fifth starter was bound to bring its share of challenges for Erik Bedard. He'd just like for it to ease up a little.

Bedard will face the Indians today on six days' rest, his most recent appearance coming last Saturday in a 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. He craves a regular work schedule, but can't seem to find one.

Rain did more than postpone Monday's game. It also pushed back Bedard's start.

"You've just got to deal with it," Bedard said. "I can't control the rain. It's hard, but you've got to get through it. Sidney [Ponson] is going on five days, no matter what."

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