Once unsettled, Matthews feeling more settled in

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Former Oriole gets cozy with Texas, but he knows that work is never finished

August 07, 2004|By Joe Christensen and Roch Kubatko | Joe Christensen and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

After a career spent bouncing from team to team, Gary Matthews feels like he has found a home again with the Texas Rangers - sort of like he did with the Orioles at this time two years ago.

Matthews returned to Camden Yards last night for the first time since the Orioles cut him loose last season, and he came in riding a .280 average with the Rangers.

"I told him, a guy with your skills shouldn't be going around to other clubs trying to stick around," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "I told him there's a home for you here to be had. He's at that point now where he's never going to assume anything, and I love that about his game."

Matthews was one of the biggest surprises of the 2002 Orioles season, coming over in a trade with the New York Mets and batting .275. He was given the center-field job last year but hit .204 in 41 games.

The Orioles lost Matthews on waivers to the San Diego Padres. He finished the season well there, hitting .271, and signed with the Atlanta Braves, who released him at the end of spring training.

Finally, Matthews landed with the Rangers, who have used him at all three outfield positions over 59 games. He holds no ill feelings against the Orioles. "Not even close," he said.

"I made some lifelong friendships there, and I wish them nothing but the best. Even though I'd been in the league three years [before 2002], it was really like the beginning of my career."

Segui in limbo

The Orioles apparently have no immediate plans to send David Segui on another injury rehab assignment.

Segui remains with the club after his surgically repaired left knee swelled following a July 19 game at Double-A Bowie. He had three at-bats before the Orioles shut him down.

Asked if the team was close to assigning Segui to one of its affiliates, vice president Mike Flanagan said, "Not at the moment.

"We're still trying to work him through the running program."

Segui ran the first day the Orioles were in New York last week, but the knee didn't respond well to the pounding. "The next two days it felt [bad]," he said, "so I didn't run again."

After working out at Camden Yards on Monday, Segui said he noticed some improvement that continued later in the week.

"I figure, a couple good days in a row and I'll be good to go," he said.

"I feel for him because he's been busting his tail," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "The problem is, the knee blew up on him and got stiff. We'd like to get him to where he doesn't just play one day and then can't go."

Flanagan said the Orioles "haven't reached the stage yet" where they're considering other alternatives, such as activating Segui without a rehab assignment or shutting him down for good.

"There's still time," Flanagan said.

"It would be nice to just be activated," Segui said, "but I'm sure they'll want me to play a couple games."

Segui's four-year, $28 million contract expires after the season, and he hasn't decided whether to retire.

"I don't want to think about that right now. I just want to finish the season," he said. "It depends on how my body feels. I enjoy playing and I think I can be productive. It just depends on whether my knees will allow me to do it.

"I'm not going to keep playing if I'll be sitting on the DL and can't get on the field. That's something I'll decide over the winter."

Earning top marks

Double-A Bowie outfielder Val Majewski was named the organization's Player of the Month for July after batting .344 (17-for-96) with three homers, 21 RBIs and six stolen bases.

Majewski also played in the Futures Game, part of Major League Baseball's All-Star festivities, and the Eastern League All-Star Game. Before last night, he was hitting .303 with 14 homers and 73 RBIs.

Single-A Delmarva right-hander Jim Johnson was named the organization's Pitcher of the Month after going 3-2 with a 3.65 ERA in six starts. Johnson allowed one run in 13 2/3 innings in his past two starts.

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