Sosa to return today after 2 days on bench

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Sore thumb forces Gil to DL

Whiteside promoted

July 04, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Manager Lee Mazzilli kept Sammy Sosa on the bench for a second consecutive game yesterday, but the slumping outfielder will be back in the Orioles' lineup for today's series opener against the New York Yankees.

"It was just a couple of days," said Mazzilli, who met with Sosa for nearly 35 minutes before Saturday's game to discuss the outfielder's struggles. "He's going to be back and we expect him to go play and do what he does best."

It marked the first time Sosa, 36, has sat on consecutive days since he returned from the disabled list on May 24 after being out for about three weeks with an abscess and staph infection on the bottom of his left foot.

Sosa is in the middle of an 0-for-15 slump and is batting just .213 with four home runs and nine RBIs in his past 24 games.

Gil out, Whiteside in

With the left thumb he sprained on June 4 still bothering him, catcher Geronimo Gil was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday. In his place, the Orioles called up catcher Eli Whiteside from Triple-A Ottawa.

Whiteside, 25, the Orioles' sixth-round selection in the 2001 first-year player draft, was hitting .269 for Ottawa. In the majors for the first time, Whiteside arrived shortly before yesterday's game. He'll serve as the backup to Sal Fasano, until Javy Lopez returns from the disabled list. Lopez took live batting practice yesterday, but is still not ready for a rehabilitation assignment.

"[Gil's] hand is worse today than it was yesterday," said Mazzilli. "It's not improving. We just felt that the two weeks will be good rest for him. He really hasn't gotten better."

Around the horn

Rodrigo Lopez will start tomorrow on three days' rest for the first time in his Orioles career. ... Reliever Jason Grimsley, who is on a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie, will be activated at some point this week, Mazzilli said.. ... Mazzilli would like to give Rafael Palmeiro a day off, but he admitted that it's difficult with the first baseman's proximity to 3,000 hits. He may sit tomorrow with Randy Johnson, whom Palmeiro is 1-for-21 against, going for New York.

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