Gibbons gets closer to return


Out since June 28, he'll likely join O's next week

Tejada co-Player of Week

July 27, 2004|By Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec | Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

No longer bothered by pain in his left hip, Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons is moving closer to being activated from the disabled list.

Gibbons has been working with a physical therapist in California, but he's expected to join the team in New York during a four-game series against the Yankees that begins Thursday.

Under the guidance of the coaching staff, he'll be able to increase his baseball-related activities, such as taking fly balls in the outfield. He'll return to the 25-man roster once the team is convinced that his timing is back and he's ready to play.

Gibbons hasn't appeared in a game since June 28 because of a partial tear in a deep muscle that originates in his spine, runs through his pelvis and attaches to his femur. Because it wasn't a complete rupture off the bone, rest was recommended instead of a surgical procedure.

Either way, Gibbons was headed to the DL for the second time this season.

"His status right now is he kind of got over the hump last week, so to speak, in terms of not feeling any pain," trainer Richie Bancells said. "He says he feels real good, he feels stronger. He's running, he's hitting, he's doing all those things.

"I want to leave him there until the end of this week to do some more functional stuff. After he joins us in New York and continues doing baseball activities with the team, it's just a matter of time. Then it becomes when the baseball people feel like he's ready to go. It's not a training room matter anymore."

The Orioles haven't decided whether Gibbons will need to go on an injury rehab assignment.

"We have to see how he looks once he gets to New York," said Mike Flanagan, vice president of baseball operations. "Right now he can't simulate taking fly balls, but obviously he's make a lot of progress. The initial prognosis was much longer.

"We'll assess it in New York and see where he's at."

Gibbons is batting .223 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 53 games. He was 6-for-45 (.133) in 14 games before returning to the DL.

Tejada, Millar honored

Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada and Red Sox first baseman-outfielder Kevin Millar were named the American League co-Players of the Week yesterday.

This is the third time in his career that Tejada has received the honor. He batted .424 (14-for-33) with four homers and led AL hitters with 14 RBIs and 11 runs. He also had a .939 slugging percentage, a .472 on-base percentage, 31 total bases, three doubles and a triple.

Millar was 14-for-20 (.700) with six homers, nine runs scored, 11 RBIs, a .727 on-base percentage and a 1.600 slugging percentage in five games.

When informed that he was sharing the award, Millar said, "With Tejada? What am I doing in there? That's awesome. It's a nice honor, but I am not a good enough player to be in there."

Not fearing the ace

Few players look forward to facing Pedro Martinez, the three-time Cy Young Award winner who started for the Red Sox last night, but Jerry Hairston might be an exception.

Before last night, Hairston was 8-for-24 (.333) lifetime against Martinez.

"In this game, you have to learn that nothing should surprise you," he said. "It may be a coincidence. We all know Pedro is a great pitcher.

"You want to be patient but you can't sit back and let him dictate the pace. You've got to be aggressive as well. You've got to pick your spots with him because he's got four or five different pitches he can put you away with. But if you're overly patient you can be 0-2 in a heartbeat."

Catcher Javy Lopez also was hitting .333 against Martinez, going 10-for-30 with two homers.

Both players continued their roll, with Lopez getting two doubles off Martinez and Hairston also getting two hits off him before leaving with a tight leg muscle.

Hairston farewell?

With the non-waiver trade deadline this weekend, Hairston has considered the possibility that he might be engaged in his last homestand as an Oriole.

Hairston is one of the team's most marketable players and could be packaged in a deal for a starting pitcher. Brian Roberts, whose presence at second base forced Hairston to the outfield, also is a trade possibility.

"It's crossed my mind," Hairston said. "If it is, I've enjoyed my time playing here."

Surhoff returning

The Orioles optioned Darnell McDonald to Triple-A Ottawa after the game and will activate B.J. Surhoff from the disabled list today. Surhoff went on the disabled list June 19 with a strained left calf.

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