Hairston due back, to bat ninth as DH

Roberts to stay at second

coming off DL, Hairston vows not `to rock the boat'

Baseball

May 10, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The Orioles will activate Jerry Hairston from the disabled list tomorrow when the team is in Chicago to start a three-game series with the White Sox, and manager Lee Mazzilli has tentative plans to bat him ninth as the designated hitter.

"Nothing is permanent," Mazzilli said, "but that's what I see right now."

For one night, at least, the second base controversy will be put on hold. How long will it stay there? Hairston completed his injury rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Bowie yesterday. He started out 0-for-7 before collecting two hits, driving in two runs and scoring twice Saturday.

The Baysox and Orioles are off today, so his next game comes tomorrow night at U.S. Cellular Field, where he'll face White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle.

"I feel real good," he said before heading to Bowie. "The hardest part is when you're ready and you're playing not to get hurt. That's the last thing you want to do. You definitely don't want to be down there too long, because that's when you start getting into bad habits, and that's something I don't want to do."

Brian Roberts remains the starting second baseman, with his average at .315 after going 0-for-5 yesterday. His 15 stolen bases lead the American League, just as Hairston was first before breaking his foot last year.

"Brian has done an excellent job at second base," Hairston said. "I don't see why, just because I come back, that things should be different. I'm not a guy who has a big ego. I know what I can do, and teams know what I can do. I'm not really in a panic mode. I know things are going to work out. I have a really good feeling something's going to happen pretty quick. You've just got to wait it out and be patient."

Asked whether he was referring to a trade, Hairston said: "I really don't know. I don't know anything."

Mazzilli met with Hairston yesterday to discuss the arrangement with Roberts.

"He understands that Brian is at second base," Mazzilli said. "He's done a hell of a job at second, but Jerry is also an integral part of the team and he's going to make us better."

"I don't come here to rock the boat," Hairston said. "The team's played well. This is the best we've played in a while. Obviously, the last thing I want to do is ruin that. I don't want to be a distraction at all. And I don't want to have Brian looking over his shoulder. That wouldn't be good, and I hope he doesn't feel that way."

With David Segui on the DL, B.J. Surhoff was used as the DH for the fifth consecutive game. Hairston will bring a different dimension to the role because of his speed and only occasional power.

"For our lineup and the way I like to run the guys, [Hairston] is fine with me and our style of play," Mazzilli said.

Hairston fractured the knuckle on his right ring finger in the first inning of the first exhibition game. He was limited to 58 games last year.

"He's champing at the bit to get back," Mazzilli said. "You know what he can do. It's not like I'm looking for him to set the world on fire the first game or so. I understand that he's got to get in there and play. He just may very well take it and run."

To make room for Hairston on the roster, the Orioles optioned outfielder Darnell McDonald to Triple-A Ottawa after yesterday's game.

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