Bedard throws off mound for first time since May

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

No pain from throwing, lefty says

Byrdak joins O's

Notebook

July 03, 2005|By Kate Crandall and Jeff Zrebiec | Kate Crandall and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

For the first time since being placed on the disabled list May 26 because of a strained ligament in his left knee, Orioles starter Erik Bedard threw from the mound yesterday and said he was pain-free.

"I didn't really know how it was going to feel until I got on the mound," said Bedard, who acknowledged his knee still hurts, but not when pitching.

"It's reassuring. It feels better than I thought, so that's positive," he said.

Bedard threw 35 pitches and will throw 50 more tomorrow. He will likely go on a rehabilitation assignment late next week, manager Lee Mazzilli said.

How fast Bedard returns to the lineup will "depend on how he does when he's [on assignment] and how many outings he's allowed," Mazzilli said. "If he goes down and rehabs, he should be back after the break."

Since Bedard, who was 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA, left the rotation, Orioles pitchers had gone 14-20 with a 4.80 ERA before yesterday. By contrast, the pitching staff posted a 4.01 ERA through the first 45 games.

"It's kind of frustrating when you can't help them out," Bedard said. "We've been struggling a little bit."

Catcher Javy Lopez, out since May 25, may also go on rehab assignment next week.

The Orioles have also missed Lopez in the lineup, going 15-20, batting .266 and averaging 4.4 runs per game while Lopez has recovered from a broken right hand.

"Knowing that next week we're going to get two guys back that have been mainstays in this lineup" made Mazzilli feel optimistic, he said.

Byrdak up, Bauer out

In the five years since he was last called up to the major leagues, Tim Byrdak, 31, endured quite a journey.

Byrdak, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Ottawa yesterday, spent much of the past two seasons playing independent ball after undergoing ligament replacement and Tommy John surgeries in 2002 and 2001, respectively.

"[I was] playing independent ball and struggling financially and stuff like that," said Byrdak, a left-handed reliever. "Just to play and finally to get back up here is unusual."

Byrdak played for the Kansas City Royals over parts of three seasons from 1998 to 2000, earning one save while compiling a 0-4 record and 8.26 ERA.

Byrdak struck out two batters in his Orioles' debut yesterday, pitching a scoreless eighth inning to set up B.J. Ryan.

Though he went 3-2 with 11 saves and a 2.09 ERA in 38 2/3 innings for the Lynx, Byrdak said he was surprised to get the call - especially to a full-roster team with a winning record.

"At Kansas City ... we were a losing team," Byrdak said. "[Now] winning is expected and you've got to come in and get the job done - there's no ifs, ands or buts about it."

To open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Byrdak, the Orioles designated Rick Bauer for assignment. The Orioles have 10 days to trade Bauer, place him on waivers or give him his outright release.

Bauer, who started the season as the Orioles' long reliever, has gone 2-6 for Ottawa with a 4.80 ERA in 10 starts since being optioned on May 11.

In another move, the Orioles signed John Stephens to a minor league contract, returning the right-hander to the organization in which he started. Stephens, who is headed to Ottawa, was in the organization for nine seasons, making 11 starts for the Orioles in 2002.

Stars in waiting?

The American League All-Star team will be announced tonight, with the Orioles hoping to have two players in the starting lineup for the first time since 1998 (Cal Ripken and Roberto Alomar).

In the last numbers released by the league, Miguel Tejada and Brian Roberts led the fan voting at their positions.

"At this point, it's the last thing I am worried about," said Roberts, who would be playing in his first All-Star Game.

Ryan and third baseman Melvin Mora also are candidates to play in the game. The Orioles haven't had more than two players invited since Ripken, Harold Baines, Mike Mussina and B.J. Surhoff were All-Stars in 1999.

Palmeiro's quest for 3,000 hits

2992

Yesterday: 0-for-3 with a walk vs. the Indians

Today: 5:05 p.m., vs. Indians (Lee, 8-3)

Orioles today

Opponent: Cleveland Indians

Site, time: Camden Yards, 5:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Indians' Cliff Lee (8-3, 3.56) vs. Orioles' Sidney Ponson (7-5, 5.35)

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