With Sosa getting things going, he could stay at DH for a while

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Orioles set July 18 target for likely return of Bedard

Rays interested in Bauer

July 09, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec and Roch Kubatko | Jeff Zrebiec and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Manager Lee Mazzilli used Sammy Sosa as the Orioles' designated hitter last night, the fourth straight game Sosa has been in that spot rather than the outfield.

Sosa hasn't played in right field since June 30, and Mazzilli indicated before last night's game that he might continue to keep the 36-year-old in the lineup at designated hitter.

"I think that he feels he can be stronger [at DH]," Mazzilli said. "If that is what is going to take him over the top to get going, that's fine by me. We talked about that. I just think it's something that he feels as well. We had a conversation about it, and I think we were both in agreement."

Sosa was 1-for-3 in the Orioles' rain-shortened 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday and had his first RBI in 47 at-bats, a span of 23 games. That's his longest stretch without an RBI since early in the 1992 season.

Mazzilli sat Sosa down for two games last weekend, before returning him to the lineup Monday at New York as the Orioles' designed hitter. He entered yesterday with three hits in his past six at-bats after being in an 0-for-20 slump.

"I just look for bigger things from him in the second half," Mazzilli said. "I really do."

Bedard getting close

The Orioles are still targeting July 18 in Minnesota, the first time after the All-Star break when they'd need a fifth starter, as the return date for left-hander Erik Bedard.

Bedard, who pitched two innings in his first rehabilitation start Wednesday with Double-A Bowie, is scheduled to pitch again for the Baysox tomorrow.

"He's not really on a pitch count," Mazzilli said. "His arm strength is there. He's been throwing all the time. That's the good thing. You are not worried about his pitch count. We'd like to see him go five innings if he can."

Do Rays want Bauer?

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays reportedly have expressed interest in reliever Rick Bauer, whom the Orioles designated for assignment last Saturday.

By Monday, the Orioles either have to trade Bauer, give him his outright release or pass him through waivers. Asked if the club has discussed trading Bauer to the Devil Rays, Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie declined to comment.

Johnson selected

Pitcher James Johnson, the Orioles' fifth-round draft pick in 2001 out of Endicott (N.Y.) High School, was chosen this week to participate in the Futures Game that precedes the All-Star Game in Detroit.

Johnson is 7-4 with a 3.12 ERA, 41 walks and 106 strikeouts in 98 innings at Single-A Frederick. Rushed to Double-A Bowie for an emergency start, Johnson allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings before returning to the Keys.

"Last year he started coming on, and this year he's been outstanding," said David Stockstill, director of minor league operations.

Not angry with Newhan

Beattie said the organization was not angered by the comments made by David Newhan, who was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa on Thursday when B.J. Surhoff was activated from the disabled list. Before leaving, Newhan expressed some bitterness for how he was treated by the Orioles and indicated that he would not be against getting traded.

"It's just blowing smoke," Beattie said. "He's frustrated. Been there, done that."

Around the horn

Mazzilli said yesterday that Jason Grimsley will not rejoin the Orioles until after the All-Star break. ... Tim Byrdak's save Thursday was the first by an Orioles pitcher this season other than B.J. Ryan. That leaves the Minnesota Twins (25 saves, Joe Nathan) and the New York Yankees (19, Mariano Rivera) as the only teams in the majors with one pitcher accounting for all their saves. ... The 19th annual Orioles Food Drive began yesterday and will run through tomorrow at Camden Yards with Orioles wives, Oriole Advocates and WJZ-TV personalities collecting nonperishable food items for the Maryland Food Bank before the games.

Career HR leaders

With his home run last night, the Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro passed Reggie Jackson for ninth place on the majors' all-time list. (Through yesterday; x-active)

1. Hank Aaron 755

2. Babe Ruth 714

3. Barry Bonds-x 703

4. Willie Mays 660

5. Frank Robinson 586

6. Sammy Sosa-x 583 tie Mark McGwire 583

8. Harmon Killebrew 573

9. Rafael Palmeiro-x 564

10. Reggie Jackson 563

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