AL Player of Week is Roberts' reward

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Streaky hitter batted .531, had eight doubles, 12 runs

Notebook

August 17, 2004|By Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec | Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

With a motion of his hand, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts can duplicate the rhythm of his season. He hits the high notes, sweeping his palm upward, then becomes a baritone with a downward turn.

Unable to obtain the type of consistency he'd like, Roberts must cling to every peak and hope he stays there for a while.

Roberts returned to Camden Yards yesterday at the right level, having been named the American League's Player of the Week. He led the AL with a .531 average, 12 runs and eight doubles. He also tied for the lead with 25 total bases and had a .781 slugging percentage and .571 on-base percentage.

"It's an honor and I'll remember it," said Roberts, who was 17-for-32 last week, "but the most important thing is how our team's playing. If it had been somebody else, nobody would care at this point."

Said manager Lee Mazzilli: "He had a great week, defensive, offensively, all around."

The numbers aren't exactly hollow. Roberts has been a catalyst during the Orioles' second-half resurgence, and his two-run single in the eighth inning Sunday delivered the tying runs in a game the Orioles won, 11-7, in Toronto.

If only Roberts could stay this hot. But how many players do? He was hitting a season-high .333 on May 5 before a 10-for-73 slump over 19 games lowered his average to .255. After going 0-for-4 last night, he is batting .276.

"I was hot early and then I cooled off," Roberts said. "Then, for probably three weeks, I wasn't hot and I wasn't cold. I was kind of treading water. I think that's just the game. That's how it is."

On Sunday, Roberts became the first player since 2000 to have a double in seven consecutive games. He has 39 for the season, just three behind Cleveland's Ron Belliard for the league lead.

"I just saw that today when I was reading the paper. I hadn't really thought about it," Robert said of the streak, which ended last night.

"That's the kind of hitter I've always been, even in college and all the way up. I didn't hit home runs, but I hit the gaps a lot. And I can get doubles on some balls that other people can't, balls down the line or whatever."

But seven straight games?

"Sometimes you go through streaks you really can't explain," he said. "I'll probably never do that again in my career. How often are you going to do that? There are things that happen to you every year that probably won't happen again.

"I could go 0-for-5 and not have a chance, or I could go 4-for-5 and hit two triples and two singles. Numbers are part of the game, but as a player you try not to think about it too much."

Segui on DL for now

David Segui is expected to resurface at Camden Yards today after playing his second consecutive game at Single-A Frederick last night, but the Orioles will keep him on the disabled list while monitoring how his knee responds to the stress.

Segui was scheduled to start at first base last night. Because Saturday's game was rained out, the Orioles kept him at Frederick an extra day.

Ideally, the Orioles would like for Segui to make occasional starts at first for Rafael Palmeiro.

"Recovery time is going to be a key factor," Mazzilli said.

Huckaby a free agent

Catcher Ken Huckaby refused his outright assignment to Triple-A Ottawa and became a free agent.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Oakland Athletics

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: A's Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.17) vs. Orioles' Rodrigo Lopez (10-7, 3.75)

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