Tejada fit to play, but rain gives healing leg extra day


He says team's welfare, not streak, rules when he plays

Segui has surgery


May 13, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

CHICAGO -- To reach Cal Ripken's all-time record of 2,632 consecutive games played, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada would have to play every game for another 12 1/2 seasons.

So even though Tejada felt good enough to play last night after leaving Tuesday's game in the first inning with cramps in his right shin, he insisted he wouldn't hesitate to sit if he was hurting the team by playing.

"To me, the streak -- it means a lot," said Tejada, who has played 623 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors. "But it's more important to help the team. ... One of these days, it's going to stop. If the best thing for the team is to take a day off, I'm going to take it."

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli wrote Tejada's name into the lineup against the Chicago White Sox, only to see the whole thing washed out by rain.

The two teams will make it up with a doubleheader today, with the first game starting at 2:05 p.m., and the second game following about 25 minutes later.

Mazzilli said he hoped Tejada could play both ends of the doubleheader, but that will depend on how he feels in Game 1. Some of the regulars will need a break. Catcher Javy Lopez will probably be the designated hitter in the second game, and first baseman Rafael Palmeiro will be another question.

The Orioles have had five rainouts this season, including one in every city they've visited that doesn't have a dome stadium.

"It's brutal," Mazzilli said. "It's frustrating, but what can you do? You just hope it doesn't come back to hit you later."

Tejada, who last missed a game on May 31, 2000, underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam yesterday, as a precaution, and it showed no structural damage to the leg. He moved around the clubhouse without a limp.

He had cramps in the same area this spring, and he said the doctors are telling him they could be caused by dehydration. Tejada turns 28 on May 25.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "I have pain in there, but it's not the same [as Tuesday]."

Mazzilli called Tejada into his office yesterday before posting the lineup, just to make sure the shortstop felt he could play.

"I don't think I'm looking at giving him a day off if he's going to help the club," Mazzilli said. "When he's your best player on the ballclub, I don't think he's going to need too many days off. There's a reason why he has that streak because he's consistent and he's doing well."

Segui, Cordova surgery

David Segui underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee yesterday in Kansas City, and the Orioles were still awaiting the results. Segui, who has been on the disabled list since April 30, will miss another four to six weeks, at least.

This is the fourth time Segui has had surgery on his right knee, and he has said he will probably need both of his knees replaced when his playing career ends.

Segui, 37, was batting .298 in 13 games this season. He is in the final year of a four-year, $28 million deal and has played just 188 games over the course of that contract.

Marty Cordova, who tore the flexor tendon in his right elbow while rehabbing from Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery, is scheduled to have another operation tomorrow and probably won't play for the Orioles again.

Pitchers wait a day

Both teams kept their pitching rotations intact, so Daniel Cabrera will make his major league debut for the Orioles in the first game, opposite Jon Garland, and White Sox right-hander Felix Diaz will make his major league debut in the second game, opposite Erik Bedard.

Mazzilli said he had no intentions of skipping Cabrera, who allowed just 11 hits and posted 35 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings at Double-A Bowie before getting called up Tuesday.

"I've got good feelings about him, so I wanted to see him pitch," Mazzilli said.

Diaz was 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA for Triple-A Charlotte.

All in the family

Jerry Hairston's brother, Scott Hairston, is a highly rated prospect with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and when he made his major league debut last week, that made it five members of the Hairston family who have reached the big leagues.

Besides the two brothers, the list includes their grandfather Sam Hairston, father Jerry Hairston Sr. and uncle John Hairston.

Scott Hairston struck out against Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner in his lone at-bat before getting sent back to Triple-A Tucson, but Jerry Hairston said it's only a matter of time before his brother gets back.

"I'm telling you, he can hit," Jerry Hairston said.

Not looking back

Mazzilli wasn't dwelling on reliever Rick Bauer's shaky performance in Tuesday's 15-0 loss. Bauer was charged with seven earned runs in one-third of an inning, raising his ERA from 3.20 to 6.75. The final seven batters he faced reached base.

"I just tried to forget it," Mazzilli said. "I tried to forget everyone who was out there."

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