For Hairston, future might be in outfield

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

With Roberts playing well at second base, Flanagan calls move `a probability'

Notebook

May 14, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

CHICAGO - Jerry Hairston in the outfield? Apparently, that's not just a possibility. Yesterday, Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan called it "a probability."

To keep Hairston and Brian Roberts in the same lineup, the Orioles even considered putting Hairston in the outfield during yesterday's doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Flanagan said.

Instead, Roberts played second base in the first game, and Hairston played second base in the second game.

"Right now second base is Brian Roberts' job," Flanagan said. "Jerry recognizes that and is willing to do what is necessary to help the club. He can play left or center. But that doesn't mean he won't play second base."

In a meeting last weekend with Flanagan, manager Lee Mazzilli and executive vice president Jim Beattie, Hairston told them he was willing to try the outfield if they thought that would help.

Hairston was a shortstop early in his minor league career before switching to second base, and that's the only position he has played since he reached the big leagues in 1998. But he certainly has the speed and arm to play the outfield.

With Luis Matos struggling at a .207 clip, Hairston could spend time in center field or at designated hitter while the Orioles explore their trade options.

Segui out 6 to 8 weeks

David Segui will miss at least six to eight weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday, Orioles trainer Richie Bancells said. Segui will have to keep his weight off the knee for a month before he can begin his rehabilitation.

Segui, 37, has had four surgeries on that knee alone (two more on his right knee), and this time Dr. Steve Joyce cleaned out loose particles that were rubbing against the weight-bearing portion of the knee.

Flanagan winced when he realized all Segui had been dealing with this season, as he hit .298 in 13 games.

"Say one thing about him: He has an amazing threshold for pain," Flanagan said. "This obviously shows a tremendous desire to play; it really does."

Seeking cure for wildness

Orioles pitchers lead the majors with 163 walks after yesterday's doubleheader, and here's what's really scary: They have done that in just 31 games. The Arizona Diamondbacks have issued 150 walks and the Detroit Tigers have 143, but both of those teams have played 34 games.

The Orioles have endured five rainouts, and Flanagan thinks that's part of the problem.

"With the rainouts and off days, it's really unfair to make judgments on anybody," Flanagan said. "Our staff now is constantly battling being too strong. And right now, they're making it harder than it is."

Flanagan, who was the team's pitching coach in 1995 and 1998, had a motto for his pitchers when they were struggling with control.

"The wilder you are, the more strikes you have to throw," he said. "It sounds obvious, but when you have good control, you can take a shot at the corner, or bounce a curveball, knowing you can come back and make a good pitch. When you're wild, you can't do that."

Around the horn

Melvin Mora was briefly perched atop the American League in hitting after the first game yesterday, going 2-for-3 to raise his average to .373. But he went 1-for-5 in the second game and fell to .366. Texas Rangers shortstop Michael Young had three hits yesterday, raising his average to .371. ... Roberts stole his 16th base after leading off the first game with a single. Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford leads the American League with 17 stolen bases. ... How tiny is Rodrigo Lopez's ERA? With two scoreless innings yesterday, he lowered it from 0.36 to 0.33. That's one earned run in 27 1/3 innings.

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