Contenders watching O's lefty relievers

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Angels, Padres, Astros eye a possible pickup

Notebook

July 01, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Orioles don't have a front-line trade target this year like a year ago when starting pitcher Sidney Ponson was approaching free agency, but other teams have had scouts studying their relievers closely in recent weeks.

The Anaheim Angels, San Diego Padres and Houston Astros have each had scouts at recent Orioles games, searching for bullpen help. All three want to add a left-handed reliever, and the Orioles have three of them in Buddy Groom, B.J. Ryan and John Parrish.

The Orioles have tried to get the Angels to deal pitcher Ramon Ortiz for Groom, but sources from both teams said it would take more than that to get Anaheim to part with Ortiz.

Anaheim relegated Ortiz to the bullpen again Sunday, and once again, the right-hander asked to be traded.

But Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times, "If [the club] finds something that will give us a piece we don't have, then I'm sure we'll consider it, but to give Ramon away just to trade him? No. We won't do that."

Mora returns to lineup

Melvin Mora was back in the starting lineup last night for the first time since he left Friday's game with continued pain in his left foot. With Mora, who went 2-for-4, at third base and first baseman Rafael Palmeiro getting a night off, manager Lee Mazzilli moved the hot-hitting David Newhan to first base.

Palmeiro has hit .157 (11-for-70) in his past 19 games. The Orioles are in the middle of a stretch that will see them play 17 games in 16 days.

"It's just a day off," Mazzilli said. "I told him before [Tuesday's] game I was giving him a day off regardless."

Mottola off on right foot

Chad Mottola jumped right into the starting lineup after arriving from Triple-A Ottawa yesterday. With Jay Gibbons back on the disabled list, Mazzilli used Mottola in right field, where he had been getting most of his time in the minors.

In his second at-bat, Mottola crushed a 419-foot home run off Royals starter Brian Anderson.

Mottola, 32, was actually a first-round selection (No. 5 overall) of the 1992 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. Derek Jeter went to the New York Yankees with the sixth pick in that draft.

But before last night, Mottola had only played 43 games in the big leagues and none since he played in five games for the Florida Marlins in 2001.

"It's not the way I envisioned my career going," he said.

Mottola has battled injuries the past two seasons - recurring back spasms in 2002 and a pulled oblique muscle last year - but finally feels healthy again this year. He hit .270 for Ottawa, and homered in his final three games before the promotion.

DuBose to have surgery

Eric DuBose was examined by Dr. James Andrews yesterday and will undergo arthroscopic surgery today to remove bone chips from his left elbow. DuBose could be out two months.

Red, white, blue

The Orioles expanded their Independence Day promotion for Monday's day-night doubleheader against Tampa Bay. Now all military personnel and veterans, along with their families, can purchase tickets for $5. Family members 14-and-under get in for $1. The games start at 1:35 and 7:05 p.m. For more information, call 1-888-848-2473.

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