Newhan recalled

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Surhoff goes on DL

Veteran has muscle strain

he'll be examined today

Notebook

June 23, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

TORONTO -- One inning into his first game at Triple-A Ottawa, David Newhan was told that Tim Raines Jr. would replace him in center field. No explanation was given, leaving Newhan to wonder if the Orioles were dealing with another injured player, impacting his status with the Lynx, or if he had been traded.

It wasn't until late Tuesday night that Newhan learned he would be joining the Orioles in Toronto today, as plans were being made to put B.J. Surhoff on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his left rib cage. The move became official yesterday.

Surhoff will return to Baltimore today to be examined by team orthopedist Dr. Charles Silberstein. The early diagnosis is a strain of the intercostal muscle, located between the rib bones.

"They're very tough to deal with," head trainer Richie Bancells said.

Because he hasn't played since pinch hitting Sunday, Surhoff is eligible to return July 5 while the team is completing a two-game series at Yankee Stadium. He's batting .288 with four homers and 19 RBIs this season, .318 with nine RBIs in his past 18 games.

"I was fine Sunday," Surhoff said, "and not as good Monday."

Newhan was batting .194 in 40 games before the Orioles optioned him after Saturday's game, a decision that hit the player and manager equally hard. Newhan's eyes were moist and red after receiving the news, and manager Lee Mazzilli cut short his post-game session with reporters, who were kept out of the clubhouse longer than usual.

Because he's replacing an injured player, Newhan was allowed to return to the majors before the required 10-day waiting period.

"They took me off the field. I got in a quick workout and watched the game and tried to figure out what happened," he said.

"I'm glad to be back, that's for sure. It's a good group to be around. I'm definitely happy to be coming back here."

Newhan took a flight from Ottawa, through Philadelphia, arriving yesterday morning. He wasn't in the starting lineup.

After spending a few days with his wife and son in Baltimore, Newhan reported to the Lynx on Tuesday and was prepared to stay. The Orioles wanted him to play regularly and regain his stroke, but he never got the chance.

"This is a much better deal. I'd much rather be a part of this up here," he said.

Mazzilli indicated that Newhan could play some third base while Melvin Mora nurses a strained right hamstring, but he's more likely to be used in the outfield.

"Obviously, it's not human nature to be happy about being sent down," Newhan said. "I'm just happy that events turned this way. I don't want to see any of my friends hurt, but I obviously want to be in the big leagues, too. Hopefully this gives me another chance to perform at a better level than what I've been doing."

The Orioles want to make sure that no bones are involved in Surhoff's injury. He was hurt while diving for a ball in Saturday night's game against the Colorado Rockies, but he felt good enough to pinch hit the next day.

"It got progressively worse, which is not unusual for these kinds of injuries," Bancells said. "When he tries to play with it and deal with it, they can get a little bit worse."

Surhoff indicated that the pain extends beyond baseball-related activities. He hadn't started six of the past eight games before going on the disabled list, though part of the reason involved the number of left-handed pitchers who faced the Orioles in the past week, and the returns of outfielder Larry Bigbie and Luis Matos to the active roster.

"We don't know exactly what it is until I see the doctor," Surhoff said. "Hopefully we'll know in the next 24 hours."

Surhoff said he wouldn't have gone on the disabled list yesterday if he had informed the team that he could play, but contingency plans were put in motion Tuesday night. Mora's hamstring injury complicated the matter, but he's listed as day-to-day.

Grimsley: no discomfort

Reliever Jason Grimsley didn't report discomfort after throwing on consecutive days, and he could go on an injury rehabilitation assignment this weekend after one more side session.

Grimsley underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery in October, but he could return to the active roster before the All-Star break, putting him way ahead of schedule.

Meanwhile, Erik Bedard continues to make progress while recovering from a sprained ligament in his left knee, but he's still not scheduled to throw off a mound.

Triple-A All-Stars

Triple-A Ottawa left-handed pitcher Tim Byrdak and second baseman Bernie Castro were chosen for the International League All-Star team that will play the Pacific Coast League representatives on July 13 in Sacramento, Calif.

Byrdak, 31, is 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA, 10 saves and 38 strikeouts in 33 innings. Castro, 25, ranks fifth in the league with a .328 batting average.

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