Majewski is O's man in middle - for now

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Center fielder to get some at-bats

Lopez sits

Notebook

August 28, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Texas - After using four different center fielders in four games, the Orioles returned the position to rookie Val Majewski last night.

Manager Lee Mazzilli was reluctant to use Majewski in center after the Orioles purchased his contract from Double-A Bowie on Aug. 18, viewing him more as a corner outfielder. But with Luis Matos and Jerry Hairston lost for the season to injuries, the choices narrowed.

During the four-game series in Oakland that concluded Thursday night, Mazzilli gave consecutive starts to Karim Garcia, Darnell McDonald, Majewski and Tim Raines Jr. Majewski also received one at-bat as the center fielder Monday after Garcia was ejected in the seventh inning.

A surplus of left-handed hitters caused the Orioles to release Garcia after Wednesday's game. They also sent McDonald to Triple-A Ottawa, leaving Majewski and Raines as the primary options in center until Larry Bigbie returns from the disabled list.

"It's not really a platoon," Mazzilli said. "We want to give [Majewski] some at-bats."

Majewski, who went 0-for-2 last night and is 1-for-11 (.091) in his five Orioles games, spent most of his first two professional seasons in center with Single-A Aberdeen, Delmarva and Frederick. He played left, center and right almost equally at Bowie this year.

"Center isn't something I'm uncomfortable with," he said. "Wherever they put me in the lineup, I'll be happy to play there."

Mazzilli noted how Majewski took some "good routes" to the ball in Oakland.

Majewski was a first baseman until his junior year at Rutgers, when he switched to the outfield.

"I don't have a preference," he said.

Back pains Lopez again

Catcher Javy Lopez didn't start for the third time in four games because of lower back spasms.

Lopez, batting .320 with 19 homers, informed Mazzilli of his condition during the afternoon. Robert Machado took his place.

"He said he didn't think he could play tonight," Mazzilli said. "He's going to get treatment. You don't want to put him in a position to hurt himself. It's more of a day-to-day thing.

"Hopefully we don't miss him and the guys pick up the slack. But any time you lose a bat like Javy's, you're really losing something."

The Orioles will add at least one catcher when rosters expand.

Geronimo Gil, the starter on Opening Day last year, finally could be promoted from Triple-A Ottawa. Keith Osik, the backup on Opening Day this season, and Ken Huckaby are no longer in the organization. Osik is playing for Triple-A Durham in the Tampa Bay organization, and Huckaby returned to the Rangers' Triple-A Oklahoma affiliate.

Around the horn

The Rangers had lost nine straight to the Orioles before last night's win. ... Texas designated former Orioles pitcher Scott Erickson for assignment. Erickson informed the club that he'll report to Oklahoma, and start Tuesday's game, if he clears waivers. Erickson, who had been scheduled to pitch last night, went 1-3 with a 6.16 ERA in four appearances. ... Orioles right fielder Jay Gibbons prevented a run in the fifth inning by throwing out Eric Young, who tried to score on a fly ball by Mark Teixeira (Mount St. Joe). It was Gibbons' fifth outfield assist this season, and the team's 18th. ... Oakland is only the second AL team to sweep the Orioles in a season series. The Kansas City Royals went 12-0 against them in 1988.

Double-digit skids

The Orioles' 11-game losing streak marks the sixth time in the past seven years that the club has had a skid of at least 10 games. That's one more such skid than the franchise had in its first 44 seasons in Baltimore.

Before 1998

Games Dates

21 April 4-28, 1988

14 Aug. 11-25, 1954

11 July 27-Aug. 8, 1958

10 May 21-29, 1954

10 June 3-13, 1987

1998 to present

Games Dates

12 Sept. 18-29, 2002

11 Aug. 16-27, 2004

10 Aug. 23-Sept. 2, 1998

10 June 23-July 3, 1999

10 Sept. 1-19, 2001

10 Aug. 24-Sept. 3, 2002

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