In bad week, Julio loses appeal, too

Former closer sees AL uphold 4-game penalty

Delgado backs Tejada bid

Notebook

September 25, 2004|By Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec | Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Orioles reliever Jorge Julio has two losses this week that won't show up on his record.

Julio no longer is the team's closer after manager Lee Mazzilli moved him into a setup role and turned over the ninth inning to left-hander B.J. Ryan. And yesterday, Julio began serving a four-game suspension after losing his appeal.

Bob Watson, who handles disciplinary measures for the commissioner's office, upheld the suspension after reviewing tapes of the Sept. 7 game against the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards. Julio was ejected after giving up a home run to Michael Cuddyer and throwing a fastball near Augie Ojeda's head on the next pitch.

Julio's only victory came when Major League Baseball dropped his $1,000 fine, small consolation for a player who still insists that he wasn't trying to hit Ojeda.

"It's their decision," he said. "I take it."

Julio is allowed to work out with the club but must watch the games from the clubhouse.

"It will be hard," he said. "This is my first time."

Since he pitched in four straight games, Julio might have been rested last night anyway. "If there's a good time, I guess now is it," Mazzilli said. "But I don't know if there's ever a good time."

Tejada's MVP quest

Despite a .311 average, 31 home runs and a league-leading 138 RBIs, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada could finish behind Boston's Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the New York Yankees' Gary Sheffield and Anaheim's Vladimir Guerrero in balloting for Most Valuable Player.

But that wouldn't happen if Toronto first baseman Carlos Delgado had the final say.

Delgado, who was beaten out last year by Texas' Alex Rodriguez, told the Toronto Star that Tejada and Sheffield should be considered for the award.

"He leads baseball in RBIs," Delgado said of Tejada. "He's hitting .300 and playing shortstop every day. He's just, you know, a great player."

Tejada won the award with Oakland after the 2002 season, when he hit .308, with 34 homers, 131 RBIs and 108 runs.

When told of Delgado's comments, Tejada said, "I'm really happy with that. Delgado is a great player. I said he should have been the MVP last year so I appreciate that he said that. But I don't pay attention to [MVP talk]. I just worry about winning. When you do that, the better things are going to be."

Delgado is a free agent after this season and the Orioles could be a potential suitor. "I'd be real happy about that," Tejada said.

Groom on way out?

If Buddy Groom had it his way, he would return to the Orioles in 2005 for a sixth season. But he knows that it's unlikely.

The team holds a $3 million option on Groom's contract next season, but he turns 40 in July and his effectiveness has waned. His ERA is above 5.00 for the second straight year, and the team likely will exercise a $250,000 buyout.

If Groom stayed with the Orioles, he'd attain 10-5 status - 10 years in the majors, five with the same team - and could veto any trade.

"I don't anticipate the option being picked up. I don't anticipate coming back," said Groom, who is 4-1 with a 5.25 ERA. "But if I do, it would be great. If it doesn't happen, I am prepared for it."

Last but not least

When Larry Bigbie had seven RBIs against the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 17, it marked the first time a No. 9 hitter had driven in that many runs in a major league game since Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Robert Person did it on June 2, 2002.

According to David Smith, who runs the Web site retrosheet.org, only six No. 9 hitters have had seven RBIs in a game since 1969.

Sun staff writer Joe Christensen contributed to this article.

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