J. Lopez begins rehab, boosts Baysox

Orioles catcher 2-for-5 as DH in first game, drives in winning run

July 21, 2005|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

BOWIE - The start of Javy Lopez's minor league rehabilitation was a success for him and the Bowie Baysox last night at Prince George's Stadium.

The Orioles' starting catcher, who hadn't played since breaking a bone in his right hand May 24, batted cleanup as Bowie's designated hitter and delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly in the 12th inning for a 5-4 victory over the Norwich Navigators in a Double-A Eastern League game.

Overall, Lopez went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and, more importantly, said "the hand feels great" after the game.

"It felt really good to win the game. It makes my day," he added.

"My hand was hurting a little in batting practice, but once the game started, it was almost pain-free," said Lopez, who had trouble with off-speed and breaking pitches last night.

"I'm here to get my timing back. I haven't seen any pitches like that in a couple months."

Lopez, who says his hand is fine for throwing and that it's a matter of "getting my bat ready," actually went to the plate seven times. He got in five swings in the first inning, fouling off three pitches, and had a 1-2 count when the Baysox botched an attempted double steal for the last two outs.

He grounded a single to left on the first pitch he saw leading off the second inning and popped to short left in the fourth. His second hit, also a ground ball to left, drove in a run with the bases loaded in the Baysox's three-run sixth inning.

Lopez just missed a third hit that would have put Bowie ahead in the seventh inning.

After Bowie tied the game at 4 on an error, Lopez came up with the bases loaded and lined a 2-2 pitch into short left. Left fielder Fred Lewis dived straight ahead to rob Lopez and end the threat.

Lopez's assignment will continue this weekend against the Binghamton Mets.

The Baysox are off today, and Lopez is expected to catch tomorrow and Saturday and be the DH on Sunday before returning to Camden Yards on Monday, when the Orioles begin a series against the Texas Rangers.

Lopez was batting .278 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 42 games before his injury.

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