Hairston won't demand trade, but he wants to play 2nd base

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

`I'm a second baseman, and a pretty good one'

Orioles

July 04, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA - One day after initiating a closed-door meeting with manager Lee Mazzilli, Jerry Hairston returned to the Orioles' lineup as the left fielder. Once again, he had to accept the good with the bad.

Hairston continues to push for more playing time at second base, but he indicated that he wouldn't demand a trade.

"I want to be here," he said. "When things are tough, I'm not one of those guys who runs away. I want to be here when times are good.

"I've been through a lot here. I got drafted by the Orioles out of high school and out of college. I've always been an Oriole, and I want to stay one as long as I can. But at the same time, I just want him [Mazzilli] to understand that I'm a second baseman, and a pretty good one."

Hairston made his seventh start in left field last night. He has received nine starts at second, compared to 68 for Brian Roberts.

"It's tough playing left and playing right and DH-ing," said Hairston. "I don't want to hurt the team, I want to help them. I feel like I can hit and I can run, but my biggest asset is my defense. I've always been considered a Gold Glove candidate.

"It's a little bit frustrating, but at the same time, if I didn't feel that way, that wouldn't be good, either. Everybody wants to play. That's not being selfish. That's just the fact of this business. ...

"I've been the second baseman here for a while. I was the starter. It's a little puzzling, but we'll see what happens."

Asked if his insistence on not seeking a trade would soften if told that he'd remain in a utility role the rest of the season, Hairston said, "That would definitely change things."

His exclusion from Friday's lineup, despite a 19-for-50 stretch that raised his average to .313, led Hairston into Mazzilli's office.

"I just wanted him to know where I'm coming from. I never want to disrupt the team. I'm not one of those players," Hairston said.

"I'm a very patient person and, I feel like I've been very patient. In no way did I go in there and demand a trade. I just wanted him to hear from me how I'm feeling. He's told me in the past that if I had some feelings, to come in and talk to him. So he wasn't surprised. He probably thought I'd come in sooner.

"I know he's in a tough spot, but I'm in a tough spot. I'm not going to be viewed as a utility player because that's not what I am. I'm an established second baseman. I've proven that over and over and over again. And I have a sense that they feel that way, too."

A painful victory

The Orioles took a 16-inning win Friday, but they limped away with it.

Larry Bigbie sprained his right ankle after stepping in a hole near first base on a third-inning single. He isn't expected to play today.

Melvin Mora lasted until the ninth, when he strained his right hamstring while trying to beat out a ground ball. He's available only in an emergency, and the Orioles are contemplating putting him on the disabled list through the All-Star break.

Borkowski to get start

Needing a starter for Game 2 of tomorrow's doubleheader against Tampa Bay, the Orioles will give the assignment to Triple-A Ottawa pitcher Dave Borkowski.

The Orioles will purchase Borkowski's contract tomorrow. They must clear room for him on the 40-man roster.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.