Roberts, Hairston second notion: It's good to have spot


With Matos out, both start with Hairston in center

Segui is near returning


August 15, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - The last thing Brian Roberts and Jerry Hairston wanted was to see Orioles center fielder Luis Matos go down with a season-ending injury last month.

But for the two players competing for the team's second base role, it helped resolve some things. Now, Roberts has his everyday job at second base, and Hairston has his everyday job in center field.

And the results have been a boon for the Orioles.

In his past 24 games, Roberts is batting .352 (32-for-91). He entered yesterday ranked second in the American League in doubles and added another yesterday, raising his total to 38.

Meanwhile, Hairston continues to flourish. Despite going 0-for-2 yesterday, he is batting .338 (25-for-74) over his past 22 games. After losing his job as the Orioles' starting second baseman, Hairston returned in May from his broken finger and bounced from designated hitter to left field to right field.

When Matos reinjured his right shin, requiring season-ending surgery, the Orioles moved Hairston to center field, and he's found a new home.

"Of all the three outfield positions, I like center field the best," Hairston said.

And with Hairston happy, Roberts has gotten more comfortable.

"I don't think it hurts," Roberts said. "I've heard him say a lot of good things about playing center. He's having fun, and when I know he's enjoying where he is, and not resenting what's going on, I think it does help things."

As Hairston said, "winning makes a lot of things easier," and the Orioles have been winning plenty of late, taking 10 of their past 12 games.

"It's been a lot of fun," Roberts said. "It's the most fun I've had since I've been here the past three or four years."

Segui close to return

David Segui could return from the disabled list tomorrow if all goes well this weekend in his rehabilitation assignment for Single-A Frederick, said Ed Kenney, the Orioles' director of baseball administration.

Segui, who is recovering from left knee surgery, had a home run for Frederick on Friday, and Kenney said the plan was to have him play last night and today in Frederick, with the hope of activating him for the start of tomorrow's series against the Oakland Athletics. Last night's Frederick game was postponed.

Stocked with five left-handed hitters, the Orioles have been looking for a right-handed bat off the bench, and the switch-hitting Segui would give them that.

For Gibbons, easy does it

Lee Mazzilli's original starting lineup yesterday had Jay Gibbons in right field and David Newhan as the designated hitter. But Mazzilli switched those two after batting practice, giving Gibbons another day to recover from his hip injury before navigating right field on the artificial turf at SkyDome.

Gibbons has yet to start in the field since he returned from the disabled list Tuesday.

Around the horn

Rafael Palmeiro moved into a tie for 33rd place on the all-time hits list with Zack Wheat, at 2,884, with a second-inning single to left. ... The July 27 rainout against the Boston Red Sox has been rescheduled for Oct. 2 at 1:05 p.m., as part of a day-night doubleheader at Camden Yards. The originally scheduled game that day has been moved from a 4:35 p.m. start to 7:05 p.m. Tickets for the July 27 game should be used for the 1:05 game. ... Orioles trainer Richie Bancells said Omar Daal continues to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left shoulder in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but Daal hasn't been cleared to throw, and the team doesn't expect him to pitch again before his contract expires at season's end.

Sun staff writer Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

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.