Ponson yet to get Canada permit


Orioles still hope pitcher can start Sunday vs. Jays

April 22, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Orioles right-hander Sidney Ponson was not expected to accompany his teammates on their flight to Toronto after last night's series finale against the Boston Red Sox, as he continued to await word on whether he'd be granted a minister's permit to enter Canada for the team's three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ponson has been unable to obtain a permit because of his January arrest in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for driving under the influence. He is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale at Rogers Centre, although manager Lee Mazzilli has a plan if Ponson can't get into Canada.

"Nobody tells me nothing else, so whatever you guys ask, I have no answer for it," said Ponson, who is 2-1 with a 10.43 ERA. "I was supposed to get an answer [yesterday] so I am waiting the same as they are waiting."

Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie said the club, with help from Barry Praver, Ponson's agent, has filled out all the necessary documents and is assuming the Aruba native will eventually be approved for a permit.

If that approval comes today from Canada's Department of Immigration, the Orioles could get the permit sent overnight to Baltimore, allowing Ponson to join his teammates for tomorrow's game. The Orioles also could have a member of the organization fly to Buffalo, N.Y., today to pick it up, and deliver it back to Ponson in Baltimore.

"It looks good, but I had to jump ahead of ourselves," Beattie said. "I am not anticipating anything at this point. We've got our fingers crossed. We want to keep Sidney on his [pitching] schedule as much as possible. Obviously, it would be best for the club if we did accomplish that."

Mazzilli said calling up a starter from the minor leagues is a possibility.

If Ponson is unavailable, he'd be a candidate to start Monday in the series opener against Boston at Fenway Park.

Selig: O's, Nats can co-exist

Commissioner Bud Selig, who addressed U.S. sports editors in New York yesterday, was asked about Orioles attendance and whether it has been affected by the Washington Nationals

"From a weekday or a night in April, I'm leery about making long-term judgments. I know about [Orioles owner Peter Angelos'] concerns. God knows, we heard them enough, and there is validity to them.

"Yes, there will be some short-term drop-off. Having said that, when everything shakes out, I think both are going to be very successful franchises. The market is big enough."

Reed not panicking

Steve Reed, whom the Orioles signed in January to a one-year contract to bolster their bullpen, has played 13 major league seasons for seven organizations, so he has been through rough times. That, however, does not make his struggles any easier.

The right-hander, who gave up three runs (and allowed an inherited runner to score) and four hits in one inning Wednesday, has seen his ERA jump to 13.50. In six innings, he has given up 12 hits, nine earned runs and four walks.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pressing a little bit," Reed said. "You want to do better. I am not one who wants to go out there and embarrass myself. I've been through times like this and it's not fun. But hopefully, we can make adjustments, I keep getting run out there and we get this thing worked out."

Sun staff writer Randy Harvey contributed to this article.

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