Cabrera to throw on side, at Bowie


Trainer: Pitcher's back is feeling `much better'

Ponson's agent visits O's



August 28, 2005|By Childs Walker and Jeff Zrebiec | Childs Walker and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera will throw on the side today and pitch a rehabilitation start at Double-A Bowie on Wednesday as he attempts to come back from a back injury that has sidelined him since Aug. 17.

"It feels much better," Orioles trainer Richie Bancells said of Cabrera's back, adding that he would advise the 24-year-old right-hander to take two days off after throwing today.

Cabrera, 8-11 with a 5.00 ERA in 24 starts this season, strained his back while warming up for a start in Oakland. The Orioles placed him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 17.

In other injury news, right fielder Sammy Sosa was unavailable for a second consecutive game yesterday because of a lesion under his right big toenail.

"I think he was in a lot of pain last night and again this morning," said interim manager Sam Perlozzo.

Perlozzo said Sosa planned to meet with his doctor yesterday but said it was "still premature" to talk about putting the struggling slugger on the disabled list.

First baseman Rafael Palmeiro also had the day off yesterday, nursing a sore knee and avoiding Athletics left-hander Joe Kennedy.

"It's a lefty today, and we're still taking care of him," Perlozzo said of Palmeiro. "I think one of his knees is a little sore, so it's a perfect time to give him a day off."

Ponson's agent in town

While troubled pitcher Sidney Ponson was given an excused absence yesterday to be away from the team for the second straight day, his agent, Barry Praver, was at Camden Yards for the Orioles' 12-3 loss.

According to a team source, Praver was expected to meet yesterday with Orioles vice presidents Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan about the status of Ponson, who was arrested on drunken-driving charges early Thursday.

Praver did not return a call seeking comment and Beattie was unavailable to comment. Asked about Ponson before yesterday's game, Perlozzo confirmed that Ponson was given permission to be away from the team, but did not know any other details.

Kudos for Gomez

Perlozzo continued to juggle his lineup, batting Chris Gomez second in hopes of jump-starting the top of the order.

"I don't know if there's a natural formula for that," he said. "We just need ... if we could just get some hits early on, do some bunting or something early on in the game, get some guys in scoring position early in the game instead of possibly waiting for the big inning since that's not happening."

Perlozzo said he admires Gomez for producing professional at-bats despite playing sporadically. "Right now, I'd like to find the guy who's really hot and get him up there the most," he said.

Gomez went 1-for-5, with his average falling to .288.

Byrnes surprises old team

Perlozzo has dropped struggling left fielder Eric Byrnes to the No. 8 slot in recent games. Once a fixture in the second spot, Byrnes dropped a bunt for a hit Friday night against Oakland, the team that traded him to the Colorado Rockies in July.

"I'll do anything, whatever it takes," said Byrnes, who went 2-for-3 in the seventh slot yesterday, breaking an 8-for-50 slump.

"It was a good situation, because I never bunted when I was in Oakland, so I knew they wouldn't expect it," he said with a laugh.

Byrnes, acquired from Colorado in July, said he has no problem batting eighth. "I just don't like hitting 10th," he said.

September caution sign

Perlozzo said fans shouldn't expect to see a raft of prospects playing in September, when rosters expand.

"Quite honestly, we're going to be playing some teams that are in the pennant race," Perlozzo said. "I don't envision young kids taking over starting spots until the last week of the season.

" ... I don't know that you can throw a bunch of them out there at the same time and expect to compete at the major league level."

Among the club's top prospects are first baseman Walter Young, starter Hayden Penn and outfielder Nick Markakis.

But Perlozzo said he didn't know if such players would be in the team's regular lineup. "If it's just to look and give them a little experience, I don't think you go overboard with it," he said.

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